Oh, my dear Thomas Friedman. You and I go back a few years. I was made to read you twice, once in an attempt to classify your “globalization is the new Cold War” foreign policy views, once to prepare for a flat-chested world.
I found neither go-round satisfying (was it good for you?). It’s not that you’re not a bright guy. In fact, I thoroughly admire you for the several years you’ve spent as a foreign correspondent, from Beirut to Jerusalem. And yes, if “wealth of experience” was something measurable in dollars, you would be a globalizillionaire.
But I must say: Your personal anecdotes are suffocating. You are like an international studies undergraduate in a university classroom:
“When i visited Dubai …”
“A funny thing happened in Kuala Lumpur …”
“The Chinese are super high-context …”
And that’s not my only beef with you, Mr. Friedman. There’s something about your phraseology that speaks of true pomposity. Your formula, were it on the side of a shampoo bottle, would be “analogize, capitalize, repeat.” Let’s take your reference to terrorists in your 1999 book, “The Lexus and the Olive Tree,” shall we? For you, they can’t simply be terrorists. Nay, they become pawns in your categorization scheme — “Super-Empowered Angry Men” tricked by the elusive joys of globalization.
Forget the fact that the “Golden Straitjacket” analogy reminds me of golden showers, and let’s focus on the fact that it just doesn’t work. Oh, and I forgot. It’s pompous to capitalize things. It is too reminiscent of the Bible, and I can’t. deal.
This does nothing to diminish my respect for you as an important voice out there, dissecting global affairs and telling us how all the pieces fit together. I’m glad you’re there, writing your own version of what’s what. I just wish you wrote it humbler.