Matt Taibbi Rips Thomas Friedman a New One

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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:


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


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


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.