Fragments — 11 (Tom Friedman edition)

Not that I am being lazy, but I think that you should read The Datsun and the Shoe Tree, a “Florid Affairs” column by Thomas L Freetrademan.

I was changing planes at the new airport in Jakarta the other day, on the way to Stockholm from Vladivostok. Three young Bangladeshi boys sat in the passenger lounge, watching The Power Rangers on satellite TV. Their mother–garbed in the traditional sari–talked to her cousin, a migrant worker who sold German-designed Walkman knockoffs in Hong Kong, on a shiny new Samsung cell phone. Sitting to one side of them was a young Chinese émigré on his way to Toronto to work for a software company, and on the other a business-suited Rastafarian making a connection to Bratislava. Meanwhile, a couple of Tuareg tribesmen sat cross-legged in front of the ticket counter, cooking yams over a flaming mound of ticket stubs.

What’s my point? I don’t actually have one–but opening my columns with strings of clichéd cultural juxtapositions really cuts down my workload. . .

Brilliant stuff from Freetrademan. He concludes with

Anyway, the world out there is changing fast. We have to change with it–whether we are ready or not. But imagine the world as it could be if we finally tore down those walls. We could have a computer in every home, an Internet connection in every classroom, a Big Mac in every stomach, tortured metaphors in every paragraph–and a brilliant, free-trading, celebrity foreign affairs columnist in every newspaper.

Reading the commentaries on Tom Friedman is definitely more entertaining and edifying than reading Tom himself.

Author: Atanu Dey


7 thoughts on “Fragments — 11 (Tom Friedman edition)”

  1. I haven’t read Tom’s book but I have seen at quite a few friend’s desks and of course the local Costco’s, Border’s and B&Ns are glutted with it. I came across this review of his book especially the metaphor flat from UCLA Anderson prof Edward Leamer. He seemed pretty harsh on him 🙂 But it does have a wealth of info in general. Read it at your leisure

    Award-winning journalist and author, Thomas L. Friedman discusses the changing forces of global competition in his best-seller, The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century.

    Award-winning professor and director of the UCLA Anderson Forecast, Edward Leamer reviews the book and dissects the title’s metaphor in the Journal of Economic Literature book review, “A Flat World, A Level Playing Field, a Small World After All, or None of the Above?”

    Review Link


  2. Freetrademan? Ha ha. I’m not that informed to make critical judgements on the World is Flat book, but I sorta feel he does not provide the complete picture all the time. I come away feeling that he left something out of his arguments.

    But, sure, he is well read and a pretty influential writer.


  3. Heh! that was precious. In the interest of global free trade enabled by the internet, I’d like to share the laughter spoils with your readers by linking, again, to that hilarious review of Flatman.

    I haven’t read the book and have no plans to do so; but looks like this book has hit the satirists’ sweet spot(pankaj, thx for that link). I am now wondering how many more such takes are there on this book and in general Flatmanry? I’d like to read all of them 🙂

    Atanu’s response: Suhail, you will find the category “Friedman” has lots of stuff, including the “Flatman” review you link above. I had posted it in “The World is Mad (Followup)” some time ago.


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