Adam Ash

Your daily entertainment scout. Whatever is happening out there, you'll find the best writing about it in here.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Friedman's The World Is Flat knocked flat

I don't know why, but I like it when a Brit reviewer kicks the stuffing out of the latest American piffle. You won't find an American reviewer dropping turds on Thomas Friedman like this. After all, Friedman is a COLUMNIST for the NY TIMES, which means he must automatically be a Major Exhibit in the Pundit Hall of Fame.

Sample quote from the review: "In her introduction to Graham Greene's The Quiet American, Zadie Smith says of Alden Pyle, the American of the title: 'His worldly innocence is a kind of fundamentalism.' She goes on: 'Reading the novel again reinforced my fear of all the Pyles around the world. They do not mean to hurt us, but they do.' Greene has Pyle travelling with books such as The Role of the West and The Challenge to Democracy. A modern-day Greene could substitute the works of the real-life Thomas Friedman - a contemporary quiet American. Like Pyle, Friedman is 'impregnably armed by his good intentions and his ignorance'. In The World Is Flat, Friedman has produced an epyllion to the glories of globalisation with only three flaws: the writing style is prolix, the author is monumentally self-obsessed, and its content has the depth of a puddle."

And that's just for openers. If you love snark (and who doesn't?), check what remains of Friedman's chewed-up and spat-out bones here.


At 5/21/2005 2:27 PM, Blogger Tracy Q said...

Ever since Friedman made that bizarro comment about the ubiquity of MacDonalds' -- he sees that as a force for GOOD??? -- I've been skeptical. I'm sorry but I'm a food snob: if global is good, it's because even the blandest, whitest New Yorker can experience all this wonderful street food in Chinatown. Or a roast guinea pig from an Ecaduorian food stand in Queens. Or curried goat cooked by a Guyanese in Harlem. And so forth!

I cringe every time I see a MacDonalds' outside this country. I never want to be associated with inedible food. MacDonalds' should be permitted to operate only in the US!

But maybe that's why two terms -- globalism and globalization -- have sprung up to describe the way we live. Those who favor a MacDonalds in every port are the Izers. Those of us who appreciate real food from all over the world are embracing the superior pleasures of the Ism. Friedman's fondness for the golden arches has me worried.

That said, he doesn't write a food column. But still... wouldn't it be nice if American theories about the world were informed by a love of good food? Not necessarily haut cuisine. But tastebuds that haven't been deadened by fast food, fakery and fear itself.

At 5/21/2005 2:33 PM, Blogger Tracy Q said...

Your link to the review doesn't work for me! Can you tell us who wrote this masterpiece of snark?

At 5/21/2005 2:49 PM, Blogger Adam said...

Link corrected. The critic's name is Richard Adams.

At 5/22/2005 5:07 PM, Blogger Tracy Q said...

Oh yes. I see. And Wolcott is also onto this one:

"[Alden] Pyle, however, didn't turn out tracts. He only read them. Thomas Friedman writes them and then autointoxicates himself with his own amazing insights."

The Quiet American Who Won't Shut Up

Let us know what you think...

At 5/23/2005 4:52 PM, Blogger Tracy Q said...

Here's a more thoughtful alternative to Friedman. Wish they'd give this guy a regular column at the Times! It's Patrick Graham writing about Sunni issues.

If Friedman's the "quiet American who won't shut up," I'd call Patrick Graham the virile Canadian we need to hear more from. I can't imagine Friedman living undercover with the resistance ... can you?


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