Friedman: Six More Months Until Spam Kills Civilization

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Thomas Friedman pens the ideal Friedman lede:

The best part of this job is being able to step outside of your routine and occasionally look at the world through a completely different lens. The Peruvian Amazon rainforest is such a lens, and looking at the world through this dense jungle has given me new perspective on two issues—Middle East violence and the spread of the internet.

Excellent! "Perspective" on the Middle East and that tube thing Ted Stevens was talking about, all in the space of 700 words. What pithy lesson(s) might the virtuous jungle hold for we corrupt city dwellers? Apparently, they lack wifi down there:

All we do now is interrupt each other or ourselves with instant messages, e-mail, spam, and cell phone rings. Who can think or write or innovate under such conditions? One wonders whether the Age of Interruption will lead to the decline of civilization…

What struck me about our Peruvian rain forest guide, Gilbert, though, was that he carried no devices and did not suffer from continuous partial attention. Just the opposite. He heard every chirp, whistle, howl or crackle in the rain forest…

Gosh, Gilbert sure is exotic and primitive, what with his… hearing. If only there were some way for the rest of us to avoid cell phones and spam without braving the Amazon. Some sort of… off button.

You can pay for that column here.

Matt Welch attempted to capture the Friedman back in August.

NEXT: A New Trend In Environmentalist Protests?

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  1. Well, I’d gladly go to the Amazon if it would get me away from Thomas Friedman. Frankly, that’s my definition of civilization.

  2. What struck me about our Peruvian rain forest guide, Gilbert, though, was that he carried no devices and did not suffer from continuous partial attention. Just the opposite. He heard every chirp, whistle, howl or crackle in the rain forest…

    You mean he got you through the forest without consulting Mandelbaum?!

  3. Who can think or write or innovate under such conditions?

    Well, Friedman demonstrably cannot.

    One wonders whether the Age of Interruption will lead to the decline of civilization…

    Exhibit A being, Thomas Friedman? Well, perhaps not, but he’s sure no Virgil.

    Still, it’s nice he’s acquired a new perspective on Middle East violence. Perhaps he can leverage that into a Nobel Prize for peace, or literature, or something.

  4. Is there anything in that article not trite, cliched, and revelatory of a mind capable of thinking only in bumper-sticker bromides?

  5. The mustache of understanding strikes again.

  6. You see, there are 5 Interruptors in this Flat World of ours, and they can be unimpeachably broken down into 25 Annoyances each. So, with your 25 Annoyances and your 5 Interruptors, you can clearly see that civilization is at risk.

    There is irony, of course. Since The World is Flat, the very cell phones that are Official Flatteners (TM)for the Indians will lead to their demise …

  7. The jungle dwellers are more in tune with nature and lead purer, nobler lives than city dwellers? What fresh and innovative ideas Friedman has!

  8. The Friedman act makes him the worst Imus guest ever.

    It consists of the NYT editorial position plus one twist.

    What will it be? Who can bring himself to care?

  9. I went hiking last week, and the sound of the bloodthirsty bugs out to eat my very soul made me long for cell phone ringtones.

  10. You mean there is some guy in the rainforest who constantly receives information, processes it and acts accordingly?

    Wow. That would never happen where I work, not with all the constant exchanges of information…

  11. Jason Ligon-

    I think you just posted one of the sacred truths of Scientology. Watch out for a lawsuit.

    P.S. OT Level IIX lets you in on the Sixth Interruptor

  12. You mean there is some guy in the rainforest who constantly receives information, processes it and acts accordingly?

    Wow. That would never happen where I work, not with all the constant exchanges of information…

    Reminds me of the time a tree-hugger was bitching about litter and grafitti. I supported him using the examples of flint arrowheads and cave paintings. For some strange reason he didn’t appreciate my help.

  13. More swell times examining Le Friedman:

    Predicting Tom Friedman:
    mediabloodhound.typepad.com/weblog/2006/06/story_of_the_da_4.html

    Friedman’s Forever “End Game”
    mediabloodhound.typepad.com/weblog/2006/05/story_of_the_da_14.html

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