Unrelated! I assure you!

While its a bummer to share a last name with such an incompetent hack, I'm happy that Thomas Friedman has written The World Is Flat. See, I don't have to read it, but I have read multiple hilarious fiskings, reviews which twist his tortured prose into a spectacle for our amusement. This one is particularly good. Here is a sample in which I've gone and bolded the Thomases to make sure your brain does not accidentally confuse Friedmans and associate my lovely edifices with his crumbling slums:

Thomas Friedman in possession of 500 pages of ruminations on the metaphorical theme of flatness would be a very dangerous thing indeed. It would be like letting a chimpanzee loose in the NORAD control room; even the best-case scenario is an image that could keep you awake well into your 50s...

Thomas Friedman does not get these things right even by accident. It's not that he occasionally screws up and fails to make his metaphors and images agree. It's that he always screws it up. He has an anti-ear, and it's absolutely infallible; he is a Joyce or a Flaubert in reverse, incapable of rendering even the smallest details without genius. The difference between [Thomas] Friedman and an ordinary bad writer is that an ordinary bad writer will, say, call some businessman a shark and have him say some tired, uninspired piece of dialogue: [Thomas] Friedman will have him spout it. And that's guaranteed, every single time. He never misses...

Predictably, [Thomas] Friedman spends the rest of his huge book piling one insane image on top of the other, so that by the end—and I'm not joking here—we are meant to understand that the flat world is a giant ice-cream sundae that is more beef than sizzle, in which everyone can fit his hose into his fire hydrant, and in which most but not all of us are covered with a mostly good special sauce.

'Tis a wonderful culture we have, that can turn even [Thomas] Friedman into benefit by turning him to humour.

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I've always thought that

I've always thought that Friedman was the greatest living writer of the obvious and the facile. There is no already discovered insight (by someone else) that Friedman can't spout! :twisted:

Why do you spose

Why do you spose libertarians get so irritable when a card-carrying modern liberal starts selling some of our best ideas to people who voted for a trade restrictionist like John Edwards just a few months ago?
...
So why are libertarians so often more ready to jealously guard the gates of our intellectual neighborhood :furious: than they are to welcome an influential comrade-in-arms who just happens to have the credentials to persuade those in the councils of power :gossip: ?...
Do we enjoy being some kind of intellectual vanguard so much that we actually don’t want to see our ideas embraced by the New York Times?

While I suppose your thesis is plausible (given the irascible nature of some libertarians) I can assure you that it is entirely false in this case. I am delighted when anyone starts selling an idea I approve of, regardless of their politics, level of influence, or place of publication.

But having attempted to read some of T. Friedman's tortuous prose in the past, I entirely agree with the mocking reviews as regards his general style. I think he is a bad writer, who uses many words, often wrongly, in an attempt to say not much, and the not much may or may not be true. The fact that his babbling muse happens to have seized upon an idea which I agree with does not change that in the slightest. From past experience, I hold great confidence that were I to examine the structure on which he bases his views, I would find a ramshackle affair, tottering on the edge of collapse, unable to withstand even a few gusts of logical analysis.

It's great that you found a receptive audience, but when there are so many eloquent defenders of free trade, I am unlikely to be very appreciative of such a tongue-twisted ally.

Gosh, I kind of like the

Gosh, I kind of like the book.

I was giving a talk on globalization entitled: "How Globalization Leaves Out 3 Billion People" at the local Unitarian church, and I was finding it surprisingly easy to sell free market ideas to a room full of liberals. In a world where liberals regard WalMart as a bastion of evil, and where most of them recently voted for John Edwards (whose whole campaign was about those darn job-stealing foreigners), I was able to able to suggest that they shop more at the mega stores and actually try to buy stuff from poor countries.... and I not only walked out of the room in an upright position, but the room was strongly supportive. True, there were concerns that the environment'll lose when every Chinese and Indian has access to a car, and that we should also remember the poor in our own midst....

But literally the whole room embraced the 4 goals:
1) personally buying more from the poor nations,
2) opposing US tariffs against these nations,
3) spreading de Soto's ideas of title and licensure, and
4) remembering that a Chinese quintupling can happen in other poor countries too.

I was amazed.

Turns out many of them were already conversant with much of my thesis, as they'd already been discussing Friedman's (Tom, that is) upcoming visit to Denver, and his thesis that the world is becoming flat (becoming a more even playing field). And what's not to like about that?

Why do you spose libertarians get so irritable when a card-carrying modern liberal starts selling some of our best ideas to people who voted for a trade restrictionist like John Edwards just a few months ago?

Mr. Friedman (Patri) links to what he calls a "particularly good fisking" of Mr. Friedman (Tom) but if you follow the link you get some anti-trade liberal who instead of fisking, just does a big whine and childish tantrum. Read it yourself....I actually liked it, but only because I like to see the advocates of intrusive government reduced to pathetic entreaties. If you want a real reaview of the book, go to Amazon and see what Publisher's Weekly said about it.

So why are libertarians so often more ready to jealously guard the gates of our intellectual neighborhood :furious: than they are to welcome an influential comrade-in-arms who just happens to have the credentials to persuade those in the councils of power :gossip: ? If Mr. Friedman (Tom) came to libertarianism and then won all those Pulitzers we'd sure celebrate.. (but of course, unless you are Dave Berry, that is impossible). Shouldn't we be havig a fricking party when someone so influential does such good work with our ideas?

Do we enjoy being some kind of intellectual vanguard so much that we actually don't want to see our ideas embraced by the New York Times?

I sort of get the idea that

I sort of get the idea that Thomas Friedman thinks he is on the cutting edge of the things he is discovering about free trade and globalization, and so he descends into his "prophetic style" of "revelations over the mundane." Too bad we're all like: "been there, done that."