Thomas Friedman is a New York Times columnist whose commentary is distinguished by the frequency with which it bears no resemblance to any kind of external reality.
There's the infamous Friedman Unit, or the F.U., a phrase coined to make light of Friedman's bi-annual contention that "the next six months is critical" to the American war effort in Iraq. And there's his insistence that a policy of placing stiff tariffs on fossil fuels and improving the quality of high-end train service between New York City and Washington, DC enjoys overwhelming support in the nation's heartland but is being squashed by the power of Democratic special interests, when in fact, the opposite is true.
So it was a shocking to see Friedman put himself on Jeopardy!, where unlike the op-ed pages of the Times, being wrong has a price…
By the end of the show, he had amassed a pitiful $1,000 placing him third behind CNN's Anderson Cooper and NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell…
With the category "21st Century Lingo," the answer was, "In 2011, BusinessWeek said European government bonds were this 'poisonous' kind of debt."
Friedman responded, "Sub-prime." I guess he missed the clue in quotation marks "poisonous."
The correct response of course was "toxic."
If only there was a call-a-friend option on Jeopardy!, Friedman could call up the cab drivers and seatmates on international flights who populate his columns and get the answers he needed. As it is, we're left to wonder if a game show humiliation will make Friedman a more careful political analyst.
The next six months will be critical.
Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Tags: Anderson Cooper, New York Times, Thomas Friedman
Do you remember those fake copies of The New York Times — in which it was reported that the war in Iraq was over and Tom Friedman promised to quit publishing his opinions because his opinions are always so bad — that were floating around last year? Or when a supposed representative for Dow Chemical went onto BBC to announce their responsibility for the 1984 Bhopal disaster which killed nearly 4,000 people in Madhya Pradesh, India? Or when an apparent representative of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development appeared before a post-Katrina a housing summit in New Orleans to announce that the department had changed its mind about tearing down undamaged low-income housing to make way for more profitable houses?
If you're familiar with any of that, then you're already familiar with The Yes Men, a couple of guys who have succeeded in elevated the common "prank" to a serious newsworthy sociopolitical activism.
The DVD of The Yes Men Fix the World, a documentary chronicling their story, comes out (appropriately enough) on April 1st…
And here's an exclusive deleted scene that has been made available to us…
Wow, that looks awful, doesn't it. April Fools! Just kidding! It looks great! I mean, two guys getting dressed and having a shave? I could probably watch a full-length documentary about dressing and shaving. All the pranks and stuff are really just filler, as I see it. How did that footage ever end up on the cutting room floor, anyway? I hope that editor was prank-fired.
Anyway, I've always been a fan of The Yes Men, but up till now I've only gotten to enjoy them in little bursts on YouTube. So, I'm psyched to now have a nice solid block of material to watch.
Tags: India, Iraq, New York Times, Thomas Friedman
Change truly has come to the nation. Change of all kinds. Even some words are changing their meanings. Like, for example, "liberal."
Balloon Juice points us to this…
Forbes.com has its list of the “The 25 Most Influential Liberals In The U.S. Media“. Here’s some of the people on the list: Maureen Dowd, Tom Friedman, Chris Hitchens, Andrew Sullivan, Fareed Zakaria, Fred Hiatt.
Come on! Where's Christopher Buckley? He said something nice about Barack Obama once. What about Joe Scarborough? He's on MSNBC; that must qualify him as a liberal, right?
Wait a minute! Scott McClellan's not on the list? He wrote a book that was critical of his time spent in Bush's administration. If that doesn't make you a liberal, what does?
And, really, couldn't we get Sean Hannity on that list? He supports the Emancipation Proclamation. Doesn't that qualify him for consideration?
Tags: Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Buckley, Christopher Hitchens, Fareed Zakaria, Joe Scarborough, Maureen Dowd, Scott McClellan, Sean Hannity, Thomas Friedman
* I have no idea what The Hillary Spider is all about or what it wants. All I do know is that it's going to be controlling our foreign policy for the next four-to-eight years, so we'd better be nice to it.
* I wonder if the brand new presidential limo can shoot oil slicks. (Was that lazy? That was lazy wasn't it? I think it was lazy. Sorry for being lazy.)
* CNN thinks Sarah Palin might just maybe have her eye on the presidency in 2012. That would be the first I've heard of such a preposterous idea. (You just keep thinking, CNN. That's what you're good at.)
* Who cares if Gov. Janet Napolitano hasn't quite pinned down how to keep her Arizona's homeland secure. The Unites States is way smaller than Arizona, so that should be cake. (It is, isn't it?)
* Megan Carpentier educates us all on "How not to write about sexism and Hillary Clinton." It's harder than you'd think. (Is it sexist to link to a picture of Hillary Clinton as a spider? Or would that just be speciesist? I'm okay with being speciesist.)
* Criticism of a Thomas Friedman column? That's unpossible!
* Good news! Dick Cheney is only five days away from the end of his second term, and he still hasn't made any mistakes! What a guy!
* Fucking goats! Why are they always starting fires all the time?
Tags: Arizona, CNN, Dick Cheney, Gaza, Hillary Clinton, Homeland Security, International Affairs, Israel, Janet Napolitano, New York Times, Obama Administration, Pork Barrel, Sarah Palin, Thomas Friedman
If you haven't seen the July 4th, 2009 issue of the New York Times yet, it's already online (seven months early). And the good news is everything is gonna turn out great!
We will safely pull all our troops out of Iraq, the Patriot Act will be repealed, the economy will get all fixed up, and national health insurance will be signed into law. All in just a few short months. Couldn't get better, right?
Wrong. Because it does get better. NYT Thomas Friedman will agree to stop writing columns in which he claims — against all evidence — to have expert knowledge…
The sudden outbreak of peace in Iraq has made me realize, among other things, one incontestable fact: I have no business holding a pen, at least with intent to write…
[T]o have been so completely and fundamentally wrong about so huge a disaster as what we have done to Iraq — and ourselves — is outrageous enough to prove that people like me have no business posing as wise men, and, more importantly, that The New York Times has no business continuing to provide me with a national platform.
In any case, I have made a decision: as of today, I will no longer write in this or any other newspaper… As of today, I’m putting down my pen, to take up a screwdriver. I am going to retrain as an engineer and spend the rest of my life working to build non-carbon-based energy technologies. And I'm going to spend a lot of time washing my hands.
The very special issue of NYT got a little bit of — okay, all of its — help from "anti-corporate activist-pranksters" The Yes Men and bunch of other activist groups.
The Yes Men's two most prominent members, Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno, discuss their NYT project below…
Tags: Economy, Health Care, Iraq, New York Times, Patriot Act, Thomas Friedman