Monday, August 15, 2011

The Trouble with Tom Friedman

I am hardly alone in having pointed out the mind-numbing writing of Tom Friedman. And that’s without even counting his abysmally bad prose style.

Today’s surprise comes to us from Gawker, of all places. No one ever accused Gawker of being a right-wing, anti-liberal website, yet today Hamilton Nolan offers a delicious take-down of yesterday’s Tom Friedman.

Actually, his remarks continue the critique that he offered last week.

Last week Nolan explained the utter pointlessness of a Friedman column: “We're treated to his latest venture into despondent centrist wet-dream fanfic, in which the Mustache of Understanding imagines a world where political parties don't have bases, but still manage to dig deep, treat each other politely, and deal with false problems in bad ways through their own sheer purity of will.”

This week Nolan is shocked to find that Friedman has not learned his lesson, but is still riding the same hobbyhorse: “Are you unfamiliar with Thomas Friedman's oeuvre? I can think of no way to sum it up better than ‘A Theory of Everything (Sort Of).’ That is, fundamentally, what Thomas Friedman strives to present to his audience of weary business travelers: ‘A Theory of Everything (Sort Of).’ Tom Friedman hopes to have the words ‘A Theory of Everything (Sort Of)’ on his tombstone, which will be made in China, cheaply.”

This is all good for a few laughs. Unfortunately, we also recall that when the current occupant of the White House is facing a difficult crisis he sometimes calls upon the very same Tom Friedman for advice.

There’s nothing funny about that.


Anonymous said...

It's not that he's Not bright or without talent. "Beirut to Jerusalem" was excellent.

Same w/David Brooks.

Manhattan & NY Times must create a real life Laputa from Gulliver's Travels. -- Rich

Robert Pearson said...

I didn't know the President actually calls Tom for advice, but wow, that explains a great deal. Apparently they actually take the advice at the White House, which accounts for the President's reliance on beating the same old platitudes senseless.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

I had read that BHO asks Friedman and Fareed Zakaria for advice... which does explain something.

I think that Rich is on to something very important... It certainly looks as though writing for the NYT has a decidedly negative effect on one's mind... because both of them have been going downhill.

I do not know whether they are stationed in NYC or Washington... anyone know?

Dennis said...

There comes a point when one has just enough education to be dangerous to themselves and to other sentient life forms. It does not surprise me that Obama and Friedman are "buds" because they both are glaring examples of not enough reality based education and haven't been conversant with the concept of wisdom in their whole life.
I always thought that AGW was the "Theory of Everything." Doesn't the Left almost always use it to explain earthquakes, lack of understanding of "Plate Tectonics", shrinking polar bear populations due to them drowning ,junk science predicated on made up data, et al. AGW has to be the reason that people are beginning to recognize both Friedman and Obama are not very competent at anything other than name calling, pejoratives, dissembling and out right lies.
With graduates like Obama, et al it is no wonder there is a growing distain for those who populate academe, especially the "elite" institutions. Those that they graduate seem totally unprepared to deal with the problems we/they face or provide constructive solutions. There is a cynically part of me that would like to see every PhD or teacher re-certified because what they produce does not seem up to the tasks at hand which does not reflect favorably on them.

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