Tom Friedman on the List

Readers of this blog know for a while that good ol’ Tommy is one of my favorites. So when I stumbled upon a list of “50 Most Loathsome People in America, 2005” and found him listed at number 7 squeezed between number 6 (Michael Jackson) and number 8 (Judith Miller), I was thrilled. He’s in good company — Pat Robertson, Dick Cheney, and George W Bush come in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, respectively in the list.

Here’s the entry, for the record:

Charge: The worst of all creatures in the political opinion jungle: a cretin who thinks he’s a genius. Friedman’s intolerable knack for converting irreducibly complex geopolitical/socioeconomic situations into simplistic, tin-eared insta-clichés makes him one of the most dangerous people on the planet, arming people even stupider than him with the illusion of knowledge in the form of a crude vocabulary of badly mixed metaphors and ill-conceived flashcard images, thereby having a negative net effect on the nation’s intellect. India and China are “like a bottle of champagne” which someone has been “shaking for 40 years;” the modern economy dictates that “you need to be at a certain level to be able to claim your share of a global pie that is both expanding and becoming more complex;” and the threat of terrorism is a “bubble” that threatens to “undermine” open society. Friedman’s disorienting literary ineptitude is nearly enough to distract us from the indisputable fact that he has no fucking idea what he’s talking about. For this dolt-friendly parlor trick and a slavish devotion to globalization and technology as abstract, almost mystical tenets, Friedman has achieved iconic status. Exhibits the easy smile and benevolent smugness of an unjustly celebrated man who has never thought very deeply or rigorously about anything at all.

Exhibit A: Despite his constant exaltation of the internet as some kind of global cure-all, Friedman had to actually fly to London to discover that European newspapers were having misgivings about Guantanamo Bay.

Sentence: Column outsourced to Bangalore, where there is some difficulty in finding a peasant ignorant and ineloquent enough to please his audience. Compelled at gunpoint to write a 500-page retraction of his recent best-seller, called “No, Actually the World is Round.”

Author: Atanu Dey


5 thoughts on “Tom Friedman on the List”

  1. I doubt it TF would care.

    I am curious why Atanu does ?
    I am not a fan of Friedman but he provides a service for those who arent news junkies.
    And do notice the labels ignorant peasant applied to outsource worker from bangalore.
    Another Tom comes to mind here Uncle Tom.

    And for the record Tom Friedman has criticized US prison at Guantanamo quite harshly nearly 3 years ago. He said on TV that he thought it should be burned down and any one that cant be charged let go.


  2. Hey Atanu, iam not sure if you missed the trend recently in the blog — Freidman, CVR rao, Nehruvian socialism, Likening indian attitude to crabs pulling down each other, Islam, poor teenage orkut girl, SSRS, Malaysian repression, sudan, Mother Teresa, National rural corruption scheme, taliban, monotheistic religions..

    Hmm.. its heavily skewed negative. Iam sincerely asking because i think you have lot positive to contribute.


  3. You know I liked this one best.

    “4. You

    Charges: Silently enabling and contributing to the irreversible destruction of your planet. Absolving yourself of your responsibility to do anything about it that your immediate neighbors don’t. Assuming that it’s normal behavior to spend several hours each day totally inert and staring into a cathode ray tube. Substituting antidepressants for physical motion. Caring more about the personal relationships of people you will never meet than your own. Shrugging your shoulders at the knowledge that your government is populated by criminal liars intent on fooling you into impoverished, helpless submission. Cheering this process on.

    Exhibit A: You don’t even know who your congressman is.

    Sentence: Deathbed realization that your entire life was an unending series of stupid mistakes and wasted opportunities, a priceless gift of potential extravagantly squandered, for which you deserve nothing but scorn or, at best, indifference, and a cold, meaningless demise.”

    I still think what we discussed that day in Feb 2005 – we get what we deserve.


  4. Dear Lord!

    Notsure, do learn to note irony and sarcasm. The writer means it as a compliment that it would be difficult to find someone in Bangalore who is so clueless and ineloquent to substitute for Tommy.


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