Sunday, December 20, 2009

Today's Safe Word: Tom Friedman's Eternal Childhood

or, Meet Mongo, the Metaphor Mixing Mustache!

I've never been to the New York Times newsroom, but I imagine they have a playpen devoted to several of their editorial columnists. David Brooks cuts phrases out from sociological journals and pastes them to AP photos of politicians; Maureen Dowd plays with dolls who come up with nicknames for her office mates while she updates her Twoddler; and Tom Friedman, little Tommy Friedman, enjoins his G.I. Joes in battle against black Barbies he's dubbed "Ahmed the Arab" while he presses the "Sale" button on his toy cash register.

For Tom Friedman, you see, is still an infant. He hasn't yet acquired basic language skills; he thinks everything is a race; he has no basic concept of time (he sees the future in terms of the Friedman Unit);and he knows that violence solves everything. Ironically, that last faith of Friedman's is his most infantile. Why ironic? Because he thinks "we infantilize" Arabs and Muslims. He is not wrong about that; but as plenty of people have pointed out, the western world has no greater infantilizer of the Arab world than Tom Friedman. To quote Tom Friedman:
Chris, as a country, we're like two out-of-work parents who just adopted a special-needs baby. 
         12/3, on Hardball

I feel like we're like an unemployed couple who just went out and decided to adopt a special needs baby. You know, I mean, that's really kind of what we're doing. And that's like, whoa, you know. That terrifies me.
        12/6, on Fareed Zakaria's GPS

[W]e are not just adding more troops in Afghanistan. We are transforming our mission -- from baby-sitting to adoption. [Emphasis his.] We are going from a limited mission focused on baby-sitting Afghanistan -- no matter how awful its government -- in order to prevent an Al Qaeda return to adopting Afghanistan as our state-building project.
         9/5, in his New York Times column

What worries me, Charlie, is we are really going -- as I have written before, from really babysitting to adoption. Adoption of a special needs child.
        11/20, on Charlie Rose

(All credit for tracking these down goes to Liliana Segura, who I can only assume is currently convalescing somewhere that's not hot, flat, and crowded.) 

Plenty of people have pointed out what an awful irony Friedman's continued infantilizing of Muslims and Arabs is. And others have ripped to shreds the infantile logic of the column in which Friedman called for a civil war between Arabs and Muslims--because, as we all know, all Arabs and Muslims live in a single, unified country

Since that groundwork has been done, I'd just like to point out that Friedman's reliance on the "special-needs baby" metaphor represents his warped view of humanity. You see, for Friedman, special-needs babies, Afghanis, Arabs, and Muslims, are not fully human. They are less than Friedman who, in his continued infant stage, hasn't yet developed a concept of humanity beyond his mustache. 

Obviously, Tom Friedman is Healy, Matt Dillon's character from There's Something About Mary. "Those goofy bastards are just about the best thing I have in this crazy old world."

It is not our world; it's Tom Friedman's Eternal Childhood. We're just living in it.

Tom Friedman is also well-known for his justification of the Iraq War, which was predicated on his "Suck. On. This." theory. If you'd like to feel real rage, watch the vid below.

No comments: