Saturday, March 21, 2009

High Mannerism in the Work of Friedman

For someone who frequently extols the virtues of innovation, Thomas Friedman's columns often take a staggeringly unoriginal form. Today's column, about the recession, is a prime example of what might be called the mustachioed marvel's High Mannerist period.

What follows is the outline of many a Friedman column in recent years. Seriously, you could probably program a computer to write these things.


"Are we all crazy?"
By Thomas L. Friedman

The other day, I was talking with my friend from (name of a somewhat exotic Third World country), and he told me something striking: "(Quote that expresses bafflement at some aspect of American politics or society.)"

Really, folks — have we completely lost our minds? Our politicians are all acting like children. Can you believe how stupid they are?

I fear for future generations. Folks, we need to get this country back on track. And we can easily do that if we heed my advice and (painfully obvious policy proposal, almost certainly involving renewable energy, training more scientists or a return to America's classic values, vaguely defined). If we don't do it soon, it might be too late.

"(Quote that basically restates everything Friedman just talked about)," said (some quasi-public figure and good friend of Friedman's, likely to be Johns Hopkins international affairs scholar Michael Mandelbaum or entrepreneur Dov Seidman). "(Quote that once again basically restates everything Friedman said above, only in slightly different way.)"

But I'm optimistic here. Because after all, this is America, the country that (brief, inspirational recap of America's past accomplishments).


And there you have it. Just master this simple outline, and you can try writing your very own Friedman columns at home!