Friedmanese

by Larry Tate on January 11, 2009

In perhaps the funniest essay I’ve ever read, Matt Taibbi once ridiculed New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman’s “literary incompetence” and genius for absurd, nonsensical metaphors:

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 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: Friedman will have him spout it. And that’s guaranteed, every single time. He never misses.

Today, in an Op-Ed entitled “Tax Cuts For Teachers,” Friedman hit yet another bullseye:

Over the next couple of years, two very big countries, America and China, will give birth to something very important. They’re each going to give birth to close to $1 trillion worth of economic stimulus — in the form of tax cuts, infrastructure, highways, mass transit and new energy systems. But a lot is riding on these two babies. If China and America each give birth to a pig — a big, energy-devouring, climate-spoiling stimulus hog — our kids are done for. It will be the burden of their lifetimes. If they each give birth to a gazelle — a lean, energy-efficient and innovation-friendly stimulus — it will be the opportunity of their lifetimes.

So here’s hoping that our new administration and Congress will be guided in shaping the stimulus by reading John Maynard Keynes in one hand — to get as much money injected as quickly as possible — and by reading “Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future” with the other.

WTF?

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