Matt Taibbi Rips Thomas Friedman a New One

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Ben Cohen
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By Ben

The title of this post is extreme - and for good reason. Matt Taibbi's review of Thomas Friedman's new book 'Hot, Flat and Crowded' is absolutely devastating. It's so funny, I laughed out loud on several occasions and had to read it twice. Here's an excerpt:

Just when you begin to lose faith in America’s ability to


fall for absolutely anything—just when you begin to think we Americans


as a race might finally outgrow the lovable credulousness that leads us


to fork over our credit card numbers to every half-baked TV pitchman


hawking a magic dick-enlarging pill, or a way to make millions on the


Internet while sitting at home and pounding doughnuts— along comes


Thomas Friedman, porn-stached resident of a positively obscene 114,000


square foot suburban Maryland mega-monstro-mansion and husband to the


heir of one of the largest shopping-mall chains in the world,


reinventing himself as an oracle of anti-consumerist conservationism.




The column just gets funnier as Taibbi deconstructs Friedman's image as a national talking head, reducing him to a cartoon character, devoid of any real substance:

Like

The World is Flat,

a book borne of Friedman’s stirring experience of seeing IBM sign in the distance while golfing in Bangalore,

Hot,Flat and Crowded

is


a book whose great insights come when Friedman golfs (on global warming


allowing him more winter golf days:“I will still take advantage of


it—but I no longer think of it as something I got for free”), looks at


Burger King signs (upon seeing a “nightmarish neon blur” of KFC, BK and


McDonald’s signs in Texas, he realizes: “We’re on a fool’s errand”),


and reads bumper stickers (the “Osama Loves your SUV” sticker he read


turns into the thesis of his “Fill ‘er up with Dictators” chapter).


This is Friedman’s life: He flies around the world, eats pricey lunches


with other rich people and draws conclusions about the future of


humanity by looking out his hotel window and counting the Applebee’s


signs.

I'd like to see a response from Friedman, but I doubt he'd want to go head to head with Taibbi - a task that few people have done with good results.