Nope, Doesn't Make Any More Sense When You Make an Animated Robot Say it


Rather than try to explain why I think Thomas L. Friedman's second paragraph in his column from today is one of the five worst metaphors in human history, I had robots recite it out loud:

Over at National Review, Jonah Goldberg has some more thoughts. Reason on Friedman here.

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  1. Seriously, why doesn’t he move to China?

    1. Confucius Peace Prize, 2011.

      1. Exactly. If people won’t give your leaders peace prizes due to your hopeless oppression of your own population, come up with an alternative prize!

  2. How many of the other four come from New York Times columnists?

  3. Why would they need the nanny if the father is out of work?

    Why do they need a nanny for junior high students?

    I really don’t get Friedman. Worst metaphor-maker ever. And the Education Establishment fellates him with every word that oozes out of their mouths (I’m sure other Establishments do also, this is just my own particular experience). He’s considered a writer worthy of aspiration for students. It makes my skin crawl.

    1. Violin tutoring when Dad’s out of work. The guy is doubly clueless to how most Americans live.

      1. Yeah, and skipping a trip to Disney is going to make up for the expense of grad school…and fleeing back to the halls of academia is a good strategy to improve your circumstances…

        1. Yeah, the first thing I thought about Dad going back for his Master’s: why?

          1. Yeah – a degree that takes the primary household earner out of the workforce for 2 years to build on his education in a field where he already can’t find work is exactly what that family needs.

        2. Yeah, I sure would like the name and address of a grad school that will give you a Master’s for the cost of a week long vacation in Disney world.
          O yeah, B*tt F*ck U

      2. So you’re not a middle class Korean living in Queens?

    2. I think the dad was boinking the nanny. We all speak the language of shag.

  4. What the fuck? If I wrote that badly I would be kicked out of grad school, and I’m in the sciences.

    1. If I wrote that poorly

      just sayin’

      1. You owe us a cliche’ bitch.

      2. “badly” is perfectly fine in that context.

        1. Yes, Tulpa. Clich? Bandit was probably thinking of the distinction in meaning between “feel bad” and “feel badly,” which does not apply here.

  5. His second paragraph may give you a case of the what-the-fucks but his fourth makes me want to rip off his wanna be fu manchu and glue his eyelids shut.

  6. Thomas Friedman, making easy my self-appointed task of pointing out the absurdist comedic brilliance that is the NYT op-ed page since… well… wait a minute. How long has this been going on?

    1. September 18th, 1851?

  7. My favorite part was that he started the thing off with more than ever.

    1. Friedman’s use of “more than ever” is an example of what a writing teacher called “throat-clearing.” It typically happens when you’re thinking as you’re writing. You’re just stalling for time as you assemble your actual point in your head, and you end up typing meaningless blather to fill out the page and keep your fingers moving so that you feel productive.

      My favorite part is when I remember that all of this had to make it past several college-educated humans, including at least one editor, before it made it to print.

      I could use some extra cash, so I’ll offer Friedman a service: for $300 per column, I’ll clean up all the mixed metaphors, poor analogies, cliches, throat-clearing, and other badges of bad writing that most community college students can learn to avoid after a basic writing course. I promise I won’t touch the center-left rah-rah globalization pimping or the ChiCom leg-humping. I’ll just make the writing suck less. Deal?

  8. A perfect example of why you should never read the editorial page of the NYT…such egregious bullshit and nonsense

  9. Don’t be a bunch of haters. Friedman is the shining example for imbeciles everywhere that one day, they too may be able to start the day without tieing their shoelaces together. He’d be a better example if he could actually pull that off.

  10. More than ever, Tom Friedman’s balls remind me of a cheese grater.

    1. C’mon, ever?

    2. I’ll volunteer to sharpen the grater for you.

  11. Is Friedman a good Nazi or a bad Nazi? I can’t tell for sure.

    1. Either way we should still let Brad Pit go after him with his hunting knife.

      1. I thought that was WWI.

    2. NEIN! Don’t give that putz to me!

      1. Schultz was just Luftwaffe, right? So I guess he wasn’t really a Nazi.

  12. On top of it all, they recently agreed to take in their troubled cousin, Kabul

    Is this guy supposed to represent Afghanistan or GM or the EU or what?

  13. More than ever,
    Who cares about when you decided to make a bad metaphor?

    America today reminds me of a working couple where the husband has just lost his job,
    Can he not get by on 159 weeks of unemployment? How was he fired? He’s half of America. The unemployment rate is 10%. At most he got a month furlough for the holidays.

    they have two kids in junior high school,
    Who are the kids? Mexico and Canada? Europe and Asia? All the little people that democracy provides the illusion of control to?

    a mortgage and they’re maxed out on their credit cards.
    Fixed? ARM? Balloon payment? Can you sell what was bought with the credit cards, or was it just give-aways to make people like you? or was it a Hummer you drove out in the desert and set on fire?

    On top of it all, they recently agreed to take in their troubled cousin, Kabul, who just can’t get his act together and keeps bouncing from relative to relative.
    Kick him the fuck out. He constantly smells of burnt garlic anyway.

    Meanwhile, their Indian nanny, who traded room and board for baby-sitting, just got accepted to M.I.T. on a full scholarship and will be leaving them in a few months.
    Who cares? The dad’s unemployed. He can watch the kids. Was he banging the nanny? It is a bad thing for your unpaid nanny to want to go to college to better herself?

    What to do?
    Stop borrowing money and live within their means? Move to China? Cut out the unnecessary expense of the NYT?

    1. More than ever,
      Who cares about when you decided to make a bad metaphor?

      It’s worse than that even.

      Really think about it for a minute. He’s apparently had this shaggy dog of a metaphor in his head for some time now. When he first came up with it, he thought it was only a vague approximation of reality (which makes you wonder why he didn’t come up with a different metaphor originally). But now, this metaphor has really come to life. Hence “more than ever”. It was only a little analogous at first, now it’s more analogous than ever.

      The only possible conclusion is that he has a whole portfolio of elaborate metaphors, and he just waits for his little ships to come in.

      Either that, or he’s a hack.

    2. What’s hilarious about this is that the only justification for using metaphors in persuasive writing is to reduce an unfamiliar and/or complex issue to terms familiar to the reader and easy for him to understand. Friedman does just the opposite: he takes a relatively simple and well-understood situation (the U.S. is deep in debt and the government doesn’t have the resources or will to modernize the industrial sector at the rate of other nations) and confuses the hell out of everyone.

  14. “And while taking care of their troubled cousin, Kabul, the husband was too tired to properly apply for jobs. He applied for one after another, but Lith Ping and Mao Dong and Sun Wang beat him every time! There’s no way he can compete, and he should just give in and do things exactly like them!”

    1. They’re eatin’ our lunch!

      They teach their kids java in the frikkin’ womb!

    2. Hey, why drag me into this?

  15. More than ever, Thomas Friedman reminds me of a gibbering, syphilitic drunk, shouting at passing strangers about how the CIA made him look at all those movies, with toothpicks holding his eyes open.

  16. He’s outdone himself, which is saying quite a bit.

  17. You know you’ve reached the pinnacle of douchiness when your the only one who understands your smug retarded analogies.

    Grats, Thomas L. Friedman: Master of the Douche.

    1. I prefer Most Vinegarry of Douches.

      1. Hey!

    2. lets make that you are, shall we.

    3. Douche has a cleansing effect.

      I think you do douche a disservice.

    4. Douche has a cleansing effect.

      I think you do douche a disservice.

  18. I didn’t think anybody could make Bill Plaschke’s food metaphors seem like quality writing, but once again I have misunderestimated Tom Friedman.

    1. recent Keith Law tweet:

      The Braves are exploring an extension for Dan Uggla. This is like acquiring some 30-year-old aceto balsamico and using it in a vinaigrette.

  19. Oh wait, I get it: Friedman is the nanny! Mom and Dad are Congress and Obama, and we’re the kids. The Friedman is tired of babysitting us, and is moving to China, where his genius (represented by the M.I.T. scholarship) will be appreciated. Kabul is teh immigrants.

  20. For fuck sake! For all we know, getting robots to parrot Friedman is the start of Skynet.

    1. Very tricky! Captain Kirk will only be able to use straightforward logic to cause this computer to self-destruct. Paradoxes, fallacies, and gibberish will only strengthen it. I wonder how many redshirts will die before he figures it out.

  21. im diving in to read it…wish me luck.

    1. wow…just, wow…i am now dumber for having read that.

      1. It is like looking at the Sun – you don’t look directly, but at a reflection.
        Usually it is good to read the origin document yourself, but in the case of this guy, let others burn the ocular fluid right out of their skulls.

  22. It’s not nice to make fun of retarded people. I’m disappointed in all of you. You all get 🙁 faces.

  23. The second paragraph is a head scratcher indeed, but dig the first…

    But given where we need to go, this deal is just another shot of morphine to a country that needs to do things that are big and hard and still only wants to do things that are easy and small.

    Now, more than ever, America reminds me of my strung out sister in law that turns tricks by the airport and none of us ever talk about when she’s conspicuously absent from family holiday events.

    1. things that are big and hard

      Friedman like things that are big and hard. Noted.

      1. While he himself is easy and small.

  24. Maybe Friedman isn’t really stupid. Maybe he is just playing a sick game seeing if there is anything he can write that is so stupid, even the NYT won’t publish it. So far, he hasn’t been able to, but I bet he keeps trying.

    1. No, Friedman is really stupid. Anyone who writes for a living should know that argument-by-analogy should rarely, if ever make it into your final work, but Friedman abuses them like I abuse my junk: serially.

      Analogies are useful as tools to flesh out ideas and to test hypotheses, and they can help to simplify complex topics for those without expertise in the field, but they’re no substitute for actual reasoning or explanation using precise language.

  25. In the final season, they bring in the Great Gazoo to try to save the series.

  26. Nice work, Pulitizer Prize winning Thomas Friedman. I just love a good analogy!

  27. Hilarious, but typical. Friedman is the master of the terrible metaphor, and he usually blends a few of them.

    Take this sentence, from this past February. I swear to God I am not making this shit up:

    “This hacking story is huge and brewing. If it explodes, at a time of rising tensions over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, fasten your seat belts.”

    How often does something that brews typically explode? And when it does, what the fuck does fastening your seat belt accomplish?

    My God, how does this man have a job as a writer?

    1. I’m like the Chuck Norris of the mixed martial metaphors, and I’m kicking around the bush and taking names and I’m all out of bubble gum.

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