The Echo Chamber in Thomas Friedman's Head

I'm not sure why the proprietors of The New York Times pay Thomas Friedman to write a column when @Horse_ebooks would surely do the job for free, but they do, and he has a new one. The article has all the imperial arrogance, technocratic certainty, and TED-talk-on-nitrous-oxide prose that we've come to expect from its author, plus what passes for a subtle namedrop in the Friedmanverse: "President Obama is assembling his new national security team, with Senator John Kerry possibly heading for the Pentagon and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice the perceived front-runner to become secretary of state. Kerry is an excellent choice for defense. I don't know Rice at all, so I have no opinion on her fitness for the job."

The column's conceit is that the next secretary of state should be Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, because...well, one of the arguments is this:

it would be very helpful to have a secretary of state who can start a negotiating session with Hamas leaders (if we ever talk with them) by asking: "Do you know how far behind your kids are?"

And there's also this:

As we are seeing in Egypt, suddenly creating a mass democracy without improving mass education is highly unstable.

And then there's this, which isn't technically an argument so much as it's a Brion Gysin–style cut-up of every other Thomas Friedman column:

In short, we're still indispensable, but the problems are much more intractable. Our allies are not what they used to be and neither are our enemies, who are less superpowers and more superempowered angry men and women. A lot of countries will need to go back to the blackboard, back to the basics of human capacity building, before they can partner with us on anything.

A picture emerges in which the world contains no real differences of informed opinion or conflicts between interests. There's just an elite that is educated enough to share Friedman's worldview, and a planet that needs more schooling. Give them a good K-12 and they won't be too "angry" to "partner" with us anymore.

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  • ||

    Pure moonbattery.

  • alittlesense||

    The really scary thing about Friedman's nonsense? The number of people who think it is brilliant commentary.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    It's a little better if you read it in Sir Humphrey's voice.

  • wareagle||

    that's the problem with the echo chamber. All you really need to know is his inability to determine if Rice is fit for her presumptive new job. If she is able to lie with a straight face, even to the fawning networks, that is either a critical skill or grounds for disqualification. But it does not make for inability to decide whether to support her.

  • RightNut||

    Friedman's gobbledygook never fails to amuse.

  • JD the elder||

    Seriously, that last quote is like Thomas Friedman Mad Libs.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Insufferable prick.

  • waaminn||

    Sometimes dude, you jsut gottta roll with the punches!

    www.Anon-Goes.tk

  • WTF||

    I don't know how Jesse can stomach reading that stupidity, much less analyze it.

  • Ted S.||

    I presume he gets paid to do it. Preferably paid in top hats, monocles, and children's labor to exploit.

  • Bee Tagger||

    "President Obama is assembling his new national security team, with Senator John Kerry possibly heading for the Pentagon and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice the perceived front-runner to become secretary of state. Kerry is an excellent choice for defense. I don't know Rice at all, so I have no opinion on her fitness for the job."

    If he doesn't know Mitt Romney personally, I have to conclude Friedman didn't vote a few weeks ago since he would have no way of comparing the two major party candidates' fitness levels for the job.

  • Mike M.||

    "Kerry is an excellent choice for defense."

    This opinion is as sure a sign of Friedman's mental illness as anything.

  • Almanian.||

    Friedman pushes Peak Retard to new heights with each column.

    Well done, Thomas!

  • Lord Humungus||

    Friedman sounds like any other nutball commentator on Yahoo/Youtube/Washington Post/etc, but yet he gets paid money for these nuggets of 'wisdom?'

  • JW||

    Don't be absurd. He's paid in 'harumphs.'

  • SugarFree||

    I need a gig like this. I write stuff twice as stupid for you idiots every day and don't get paid a cent.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    We just don't appreciate what we have in you, O Sugarless One.

  • Almanian.||

    Oh, I appreciate SF for what he is - a horrible monster loosed upon an unsuspecting world to advance the interests of Big Library and Big Pron and Big Gross on an unsuspecting but deserving populace.

    I am proud to call SugarFree my friend. Even though he doesn't know me, we've never met, probably never will, and he would probably kill me in my sleep if he had the chance.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    "he would probably kill me in my sleep if he had the chance"

    Does that describe what most of us would do each other, on this here board?

  • SugarFree||

    I feel the love, I just want the money too. Look at Friedman... that boy lives high on the hog, where the meat is sweet and tender. I know I'm not as stupid as he is, but I've never really worked at it, you know? Two, three years tops, and I'd be able to write barely coherent, contentless pap as well--hell, maybe better---than him. I just need a chance, coach. Let me on the field. Let me shine...

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    Maybe you can be a ghostwriter columnist for some public figure who doesn't have the time and dedication to reach truly staggering levels of stupid. Sort of the way Krugman's wife helps him out.

  • Killazontherun||

    I discovered yesterday that it does indeed payoff to beg for appreciation. I thought it would leave me feeling empty inside, but, no, not at all. It was like receiing the best golden shower I have ever basked in the warmth of ever.

  • SugarFree||

    I'm far, far too arrogant and self-satisfied to fish for compliments.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    I write stuff twice as stupid for you idiots every day and don't get paid a cent.

    Sorry, but even on your stupidest days you can't match Tom Friedman. Please give props to the master.

  • sarcasmic||

    What a maroon.

  • Almanian.||

    Bugs - more relevant than ever.

    "Rabbit - why for you bury me the cold, cold ground??"

    /Taz

  • LTC(ret) John||

    it would be very helpful to have a secretary of state who can start a negotiating session with Hamas leaders (if we ever talk with them) by asking: "Do you know how far behind your kids are?"

    *Hamas leader straps bomb to kid and sends him to Friedman*

    BOOM

    "There, he caught up... to you."

  • Almanian.||

    Teacher! Leave those kids alone!

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    It's as if Friedman doesn't realize that his mere existence, as a son of Abraham, doesn't fill a member of Hamas with deep irrational rage.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    If not delivering a deadly insult as the very first thing you say. Telling an Arab he has not provided for his children's well being will end in blood.

  • Invisible Finger||

    That's exactly what I thought. Starting negotiations by saying "You are so beneath me" isn't going to help matters at all. At best the other side is going to feel that the speaker is the only one who can sacrifice anything since he's so far ahead already.

    I hereby nominate Thomas Friedman for Secretary of State. Sounds like the perfect way to accelerate his irrelevance.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    It would also be telling if someone could ambush Friedman on the street and ask him if he knew the meaning of Boko Haram, off the top of his head.

  • SugarFree||

    Boko Haram

    Isn't that a song from The Lion King?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    It's Maliktu i-Assad, you Zionist infidel pig-dog!

  • SugarFree||

    I thought that was stewed eggplants and tomatoes with poached eggs.

  • Killazontherun||

    As we are seeing in Egypt, suddenly creating a mass democracy without improving mass education is highly unstable.

    The man gets high on Ex-Lax chewables.

  • Bill||

    You will be singing a different tune soon, Jesse.

    You see, you've been selected to volunteer for the very first
    Friedman-Obama reeducation camps. It's for your own good.

  • Killazontherun||

    There's just an elite that is educated enough to share Friedman's worldview, and a planet that needs more schooling. Give them a good K-12 and they won't be too "angry" to "partner" with us anymore.

    Given no leader has ever committed genocide against their native population after getting a first rate, elite education at the Sorbonne, why this Friedman logic makes perfect since.

    It's not only the future leaders that benefit from education. You see, education is the first barrier against the masses and their pitchforks. It subdues them with the knowledge that struggling against the cronyism and sycophancy of their betters is what ignorant hillbillies do. Once you have had some proper schoolin' the last thing you would want to do is embarrass yourself like that.

  • Spoonman.||

    I wonder if Thomas Friedman knows that he's an idiot skilled at making others feel smart, or if he thinks he's a genius.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "There's just an elite that is educated enough to share Friedman's worldview, and a planet [country] that needs more schooling."

    Now it's Friedman's view of domestic policy.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I write stuff twice as stupid for you idiots every day and don't get paid a cent.

    "Don't sell yourself short, Judge, You're a tremendous slouch."

  • ||

  • Hyperion||

    without improving mass education feminized progressive indoctrination ala western style

    Fixed it. Funny how I am able to intercept and decypher the simpleton thoughtwaves of these proglodytes.

    I am not sure that the Hamas crowd is going to take kindly to said indoctrination. They have their own indoctrination goin, and it has invisible sky god attached, which makes it more powerful kool-aid that the kool-aid that Friedman is peddling.

  • nicole||

    it would be very helpful to have a secretary of state who can start a negotiating session with Hamas leaders (if we ever talk with them) by asking: "Do you know how far behind your kids are?"

    Let's just all take a moment to remember that Arne Duncan's previous job was here in Chicago, home of the shitty, shitty CPS. So, great plan, Friedman.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Don't sell Duncan short. His experience in Chicago was the perfect training for dealing with third-world kleptocrat dictators.

  • OldMexican||

    it would be very helpful to have a secretary of state who can start a negotiating session with Hamas leaders (if we ever talk with them) by asking: "Do you know how far behind your kids are?"


    I think Friedman is looking at making his mark as a standup comedian in the same vein as Andy Kaufman.

    Either that or he's getting into some sort of neo-Dadaism.

  • ||

    I suspect they'd probably respond with something like "Do you know how impious YOUR kids are?"

    And they'd have plenty of evidence to back them up.

  • ||

    "Hahahaha, so what are your children going to do to our "behind" children if they don't catch up? Unfriend them?"

  • Rick Santorum||

    A lot of countries will need to go back to the blackboard, back to the basics of human capacity building, before they can partner with us on anything.

    HE'S NOT SAYING ANYTHING
    HE'S JUST SPOUTING PLATITUDES
    WHAT DOES "HUMAN CAPACITY BUILDING" MEAN

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