Flattening Friedman


The New York Press's Matt Taibbi, the man responsible for those lame pope jokes, earns back some goodwill with his review of Thomas Friedman's The World Is Flat. The book's thesis doesn't get much attention; Taibbi's too busy reeling from Friedman's mixed metaphors and misapplied cliches: "by the end–and I'm not joking here–we are meant to understand that the flat world is a giant ice-cream sundae that is more beef than sizzle, in which everyone can fit his hose into his fire hydrant, and in which most but not all of us are covered with a mostly good special sauce." After that description, I'm almost tempted to read the book.

[Via Public Humiliation.]

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  1. Excerpt:

    “In a Friedman book, the reader naturally seizes up in dread the instant a suggestive word like “Windows” is introduced; you wince, knowing what’s coming, the same way you do when Leslie Nielsen orders a Black Russian. And Friedman doesn’t disappoint. His description of the early 90s:

    The walls had fallen down and the Windows had opened, making the world much flatter than it had ever been?but the age of seamless global communication had not yet dawned.”


  2. In this spirit, I offer you Taibbi’s critique of William F. Buckley’s obituary of Hunter Thompson.

    Best line – “The only way Buckley could get a laugh out of a person under 70 is if he fell off his Hinckley into a school of barracuda.”

  3. On the other hand, I was happy to hear Friedman pimping his book on NPR last week: he was trashing the hell out of Lou Dobbs.

  4. Is Tom Friedman saying these things because of the influence of dark-skinned Mexicans invading our country? We’ll talk about that tonight.

  5. All this fuss over Friedman’s stale argument that globalization is generally good, but we need more worker retraining programs to make it work. Nothing new under the sun. Same old song and dance. Been there, done that. There he goes again.

  6. Something I just wrote in a poetry analysis (but acknowledged parenthetically):

    From this vantage point, [the poem] takes on a more sinister tone.

    Sometimes the KISS principle applies to mixing metaphors as well.

  7. Friedman said: I stomped off, went through security, bought a Cinnabon, and glumly sat at the back of the B line, waiting to be herded on board so that I could hunt for space in the overhead bins.

    Taibbi said: Forget the Cinnabon. Name me a herd animal that hunts. Name me one.

    I’ve heard that pigs will hunt snakes (scroll down to highlighted phrase) and other small animals, although maybe that’s just them running across small animals as they generally forage, and not purposeful hunting.

    However, about 35 to 20 million years ago, there was a family of roughly bison-sized piglike mammals (Entelodon, Dinohyus, Archaeotherium) that may have been active predators of relatively large animals that they ran down and killed, such as gazelle-size relatives of today’s camel. Illustrations here and here.

  8. Although at times I think Friedman has valid points to make, this reminded me of McSweeney’s hysterically funny Do It Yourself Tom Friedman Column.

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