Thursday, January 29, 2009

New Featured Quote

This is Friedman’s life: He flies around the world, eats pricey lunches with other rich people and draws conclusions about the future of humanity by looking out his hotel window and counting the Applebee’s signs.
From Matt Taibbi's takedown of Thomas L. Friedman's writing in the New York Press. Another wonderful excerpt from the NY Press article:
Friedman frequently uses a rhetorical technique that goes something like this: “I was in Dubai with the general counsel of BP last year, watching 500 Balinese textile workers get on a train, when suddenly I said to myself, ‘We need better headlights for our tri-plane.’” And off he goes.You the reader end up spending so much time wondering what Dubai, BP and all those Balinese workers have to do with the rest of the story that you don’t notice that tri-planes don’t have headlights.And by the time you get all that sorted out, your well-lit tri-plane is flying from chapter to chapter delivering a million geo-green pizzas to a million Noahs on a million Arks. And you give up. There’s so much shit flying around the book’s atmosphere that you don’t notice the only action is Friedman talking to himself.
As someone who read half of The World is Flat, I can vouch for the accuracy of Mr. Taibbi's characterisation.

Also read Taibbi's review of The World is Flat here.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Ashutosh said...

Although I agree with the general opinion about Friedman's silly lunches and inspirations, he can have some pretty good ideas. I like some of his folksy Op-Eds. Also, have you read "Hot, Flat and Crowded"? Some of what he says in there is very interesting. What I like about him is that when it comes to issues like the environment, he at least tries to tread the middle ground and tries to suggest policies that would both inspire capitalist innovation as well as reduce environmental impact.

11:25 AM  
Blogger Kunal said...

Pretty good ideas? All he seems to do is follow current conventional wisdom, which he then backs up with his silly lunches and inspiration.

When the global economy was booming, he was in favour of globalisation. When the punditocracy and Congress (if not the people) were in favour of the Iraq War, so was he. When opinion crystalised against the war, he too discovered that he was in favour of a withdrawal. When the ethanol lovefest was still strong, he was in favour of ethanol. When public opinion supports action on climate change, why so does Thomas L. Friedman. Nothing he says is new, and he only gets to his safe and popular conclusions through torture of logic and the scientific method, not to mention his horrendous crimes against the English language.

8:00 PM  
Blogger Ashutosh said...

Look, I am no big fan of Thomas Friedman, but seriously, if you haven't, I would definitely encourage you to take a look at "Hot, Flat, and Crowded". It's much better than his previous book which I, just like you, put down after I was halfway through. If not anything else, let's hail him for constantly suggesting that our diplomas be stapled with green cards!

12:22 PM  
Blogger Gautam said...

I thought for a moment that you were talking about Milton :-), clearly I'm spending to much time with my socialist professors!

1:09 PM  

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