Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mixed Metaphor #45,812

Is it possible that Thomas Friedman mistakes Matt Taibbi's blistering criticism for praise? Not one week after Taibbi's smackdown of the mustachioed marvel for his reliance on nonsensical mixed metaphors, Friedman gives us the following gem in his latest column:
We’re getting perilously close to closing the window on a two-state solution, because the two chief window-closers — Hamas in Gaza and the fanatical Jewish settlers in the West Bank — have been in the driver’s seats. Hamas is busy making a two-state solution inconceivable, while the settlers have steadily worked to make it impossible.
So, the window is a car window? And not just any car window — but a window in a car with two driver's seats? And these two driver's seats are being occupied by sworn enemies, presumably working at cross purposes? How does that work? OK, so Hamas and the Jewish settlers are driving along, slowly rolling up the window. But won't this just leave them trapped in the car together? Why does either one of them want that? Or maybe there are two separate cars, and Hamas and the settlers drive them to where the window is, and then close it together?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Taibbi does it again

When it comes to poking fun at Thomas Friedman, we here at Mustache of Understanding remain mere amateurs when compared to Matt Taibbi, whose 2005 takedown of Friedman in the New York Press remains by far the finest work in the genre. And now he's done it again. Taibbi's earlier piece, "Flathead," came on the heels of the publication of Friedman's last book, The Word Is Flat. His latest anti-Friedman rant, "Flat N All That," takes on the mustachioed marvel's newest collection of mixed metaphors, non sequiturs and self-aggrandizing anecdotes, Hot, Flat and Crowded. I'm tempted to provide you with all my favorite lines, but I'd highly encourage you to read it all for yourself. It's just that brilliant. (You can find it here.)

Well, OK, one quick teaser:
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.

All right — one more, because I just can't help myself:
How about Friedman’s analysis of America’s foreign policy outlook last May: "The first rule of holes is when you’re in one, stop digging. When you’re in three, bring a lot of shovels.” First of all, how can any single person be in three holes at once? Secondly, what the fuck is he talking about? If you’re supposed to stop digging when you’re in one hole, why should you dig more in three? How does that even begin to make sense? It’s stuff like this that makes me wonder if the editors over at the New York Times editorial page spend their afternoons dropping acid or drinking rubbing alcohol. Sending a line like that into print is the journalism equivalent of a security guard at a nuke plant waving a pair of mullahs in explosive vests through the front gate. It should never, ever happen.

Get your mustache on

By David Rees.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Jihad Is Flat

Score 10 points for Friedman in the "slipping my pet concept into the discussion of everything" category. From his latest missive:

"Hezbollah’s unprovoked attack from Lebanon into Israel in 2006 both undermined the argument that withdrawal led to security and presented Israel with a much more vexing military strategy aimed at neutralizing Israel’s military superiority. Hezbollah created a very “flat” military network, built on small teams of guerrillas and mobile missile-batteries, deeply embedded in the local towns and villages."

Dell call centers in India. China's entry into the WTO. Hezbollah military strategy. Don't you fools see?! It's all connected! To the Flat Cave, Robin!

Monday, January 12, 2009

"When metaphors attack"

From Ezra Klein:

There are days when Thomas Friedman seems to be writing his columns just to screw with Matt Taibbi's head. To wit:

Over the next couple of years, two very big countries, America and China, will give birth to something very important. They’re each going to give birth to close to $1 trillion worth of economic stimulus — in the form of tax cuts, infrastructure, highways, mass transit and new energy systems. But a lot is riding on these two babies. If China and America each give birth to a pig — a big, energy-devouring, climate-spoiling stimulus hog — our kids are done for. It will be the burden of their lifetimes. If they each give birth to a gazelle — a lean, energy-efficient and innovation-friendly stimulus — it will be the opportunity of their lifetimes.