Media

Thomas Friedman Parody of the Week

What if Thomas Friedman wrote a column about how much he hated Thomas Friedman?

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Staring contest.

Alex Pareene is doing his annual hack list at Salon, and the conceit this year is that he writes each entry in the hack's own voice. This means, among other things, that he has posted a Thomas Friedman parody.

This raises the issue: Does the world need another Thomas Friedman parody? At this point literally every single Thomas Friedman column is itself a self-parody, and if that doesn't exhaust your appetite there's a website that generates still more parodies automatically. It is possible that Friedman himself uses that site to create a column when he's feeling rushed, which would explain how this managed to make it into the paper.

But Pareene took an extra step by asking: You know how people love to complain about how awful Thomas Friedman is? What would their complaints sound like if they were written by Thomas Friedman? Here is what he came up with:

When I was in Singapore, I talked to hundreds of Asian college students, business people and diplomats, and while none of them said this to me, exactly, it's basically my thesis and so I'm going to put it in quotation marks as a sort of "distillation" of things I probably was told by people: "Is everything going all right over there in America? How could the people who gave us Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, IBM, H.P. and Google also have so many people, many of them in positions of authority, who take a clown like Thomas Friedman seriously? Most of his columns are just nonsensical buzzwords he's been repeating for literally 10 years and his foreign policy analysis is usually either incredibly facile or actively offensive to Arabs and Muslims. It's actually terrifying how influential he is. Like it legitimately makes me despair of anything improving anywhere in the world for anyone but the super-rich. Also there is probably some Times rule about not putting 'distilled' quotes in quotation marks, right?"

When I heard that—or rather when I didn't hear it but when I wrote it, just now—I thought "we're gonna need a bigger boat." And that boat better have Wi-Fi.

Friedman-bashing aficionados can read the rest here.

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  1. Oh, now I get it. It’s supposed to be funny. Ha ha!

  2. Why parody Friedman when you can just step back and let him parody himself? There’s no need to do any work yourself; he’ll do all the heavy lifting.

    1. Salon needs page clicks and something that makes their readers feel clever and superior.

      1. So just take a Friedman column, claim you wrote it as a parody, and voila, instant production of what Salon readers think they want!

      2. Listen, when you’re kicking Tom Friedman to feel superior, but looking up to Krugnuts still, you’re one step above whaleshit on the depth chart.

        1. And the best columnist they could hire is Joan Walsh. Other than that they publish a lot of shit from AlterNet.

  3. I’d rather read a parody of Alex Pareene.

    1. Very meta.

  4. The next 6 months will be important.

      1. Friedman-type line. I think.

  5. How could the people who gave us Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, IBM, H.P. and Google also have so many people, many of them in positions of authority, who take a clown like Thomas Friedman seriously?

    He likes to watch.

  6. One of my favorite things about JW’s articles is that he engages readers in the comments section. Even if their comments are disjointed and/or have nothing of substance to say.

    Realizing that I don’t know much about Friedman other than the fact that he’s a lazy, self-referential writer who’s likely drunk on Thunderbird by the time that Krugman rolls into the NYT bullpen at noon snorting fire and pinching secretary asses, I squandered ~90 seconds of my life browsing Tom’s wikipedia page.

    Friedman apparently once served as a caddy for Chichi Rodriguez, received his undergrad degree in Mediterranean Studies–which may or may not be unrelated to the Mediterranean Diet–from Brandeis, and has received two Pulitzer Prizes and a National Book Award from multiple boards of illiterate dignitaries who all have significant inheritances to go with their doctorates in critical theory, meaning that none of them can agree what the meaning of “is” is no matter how much expensive brandy they’ve consumed beforehand.

    Additionally, President SJW “sounded out” Friedman re: Middle East policy at the conclusion of his first term, which has reignited my desire to construct a cinder-block bomb shelter in my backyard.

    1. In Friedman’s defense, the first book about the Middle East read like something a sane person would write. Maybe not Pulitzer worthy, but not worthy to be singled out for the scorn his later material deserves.

      1. I’m impressed that you managed to read any book the man has written. I’ve worked my way through a couple of Krugman books, but I’ve never had the stomach to touch any long text of Friedman’s.

  7. Man, he’s really gone downhill since he did “Free to Choose”…

    1. I know right? A nobel prize in economics, and now this.

    2. You know Patri’s coming to kill you now, right?

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