Friday, April 25, 2008

Bashing Thomas Friedman

I've never read one of Thomas Friedman's books.

I read his columns occasionally, but as he's usually on leave from the Times - so he can write a new book! - I pretty much forget about him most of the time.

Freidman's famous in the leftosphere, of course, for the "
Friedman Unit," which is the six-month marker for extending the deadline for determining progress in Iraq. Friedman's also one of the biggest media champions of globalization, a fact I imagine helps explains why he was subject to a cream pie attack as he prepared to give a public lecture at Brown Univeristy last week:

Now, via Daniel Drezner, apparently Matthew Yglesias thought the attack on Friedman was funny:

Look, I like ripping into Thomas Friedman as much as the next blogger -- but I can't agree with Matt Yglesias that [this] is "funny..."
Friedman's the foil in the introduction to Heads in the Sand, Yglesias' new book in which he attacks the Iraq war as an unmitigated disaster.

Here's Yglesias, on the pie toss, bashing Friedman and plugging his book at the same time:

That's funny, but for a more intellectually rigorous Friedman takedown, I'd suggest the preface to Heads in the Sand, which attempts to elucidate the "Friedman Units" concept for a wider audience as well as explore the larger significance of Friedmanesque behavior.
Drezner doesn't like this, but he links to those who do, and quotes Jonathan Chait as well:

I don't think I'm particularly sensitive, but I find the notion of physically humiliating somebody who's trying to explain their ideas in a civic forum to be absolutely horrifying.
I doubt that description of the cruel depravity against Friedman can be topped.

I'm currently reading Heads in the Sand, and I'm trying to give Yglesias a fair shake, although I did write about his views previously, in "
The Radical Foreign Policy of Matthew Yglesias."

In that entry I posted
a picture of Yglesias wearing an arab kafiya, and I cite this comment from another blogger:

Terrorist chic is merely the latest retarded hipster trend to confirm the brutally obvious: spoiled liberal Ivy kids are not ready to talk to adults yet.
Applauding cruelly humiliating attacks on foreign policy journalists at a public speaking forum is not so grown up either.