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How Thomas Friedman Makes Us Stupid

Last Sunday, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman made a bold declaration, further solidifying his reputation as the edgiest and most provocative writer on global affairs today, the same man who brought us The World is Flat. His latest pearl … Read More

By / October 4, 2007

Last Sunday, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman made a bold declaration, further solidifying his reputation as the edgiest and most provocative writer on global affairs today, the same man who brought us The World is Flat. His latest pearl of wisdom: "9/11 has made us stupid." Why is this the case? First up:

You may think Guantánamo Bay is a prison camp in Cuba for Al Qaeda terrorists. A lot of the world thinks it’s a place we send visitors who don’t give the right answers at immigration. I will not vote for any candidate who is not committed to dismantling Guantánamo Bay and replacing it with a free field hospital for poor Cubans."

This is no doubt true, and it doesn't take a major newspaper columnist the majority of whose reporting is done in the First Class Lounges of Shanghai, Qatar and London airports to tell us. And never mind his total lack of actually engaging the fact that Guantanamo Bay actually is a prison camp for Al Qaeda terrorists and not the gulag imagined by Guardian editorial writers. Moving on.

The Moustache of Understanding next drops some heavy, heavy knowledge:

Look at our infrastructure. It’s not just the bridge that fell in my hometown, Minneapolis. Fly from Zurich’s ultramodern airport to La Guardia’s dump. It is like flying from the Jetsons to the Flintstones. I still can’t get uninterrupted cellphone service between my home in Bethesda and my office in D.C. But I recently bought a pocket cellphone at the Beijing airport and immediately called my wife in Bethesda — crystal clear.

Well, it can't be a Thomas L. Friedman column without a chintzy analogy like "flying from the Jetsons to the Flintstones." And goddamnit if the 'stache of sagacity can't hear the missus on his Nokia while sitting in his chaffeur-driven Town Car to the "office" he allegedly works in. It's all the Bush administration's fault anyway, or not-so-thinly-veiled "9/11 candidate" Rudy Giuliani's. Next we get this:

"If Disney World can remain an open, welcoming place, with increased but invisible security, why can’t America?"

Maybe it's because Disney World has Captain Hook to protect it (and High School Musical's Zac Efron is dreamy enough to subdue any of the repressed homosexuals who compose about half of Al Qaeda's ranks).

I don't know what's a bigger disgrace to the practice of American opinion journalism: Maureen Dowd’s continuing presence on the New York Times op-ed page or Tom Friedman’s. Friedman's latest missive confirms his status not as a peerless interpreter of world events, but as the the wise man of Walt Disney, the Bard of Hanna-Barbara.

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