Thursday, September 15, 2005

Friedman and His Ego

Friedman and His Ego
by Bettina Friedman

There is something troublingly self-indulgent and slothful about my husband Thomas Friedman today -- something that Katrina highlighted and that people who know Thomas Friedman really took note of. It irritated them -- like watching a rabid dog in its final hours, foaming at the mouth and unsure of its surroundings.
That is certainly the sense I got after observing Thomas Friedman flouncing around the living room, then the hall, the outside sidewalk, in his shorty robe always, spouting off anything he "thought" or "believed" in the moment when he "thought" or "believed" of/in it.
He may go loonier than a "vegan at McDonalds" or a "beggar at Bergdoffs" but there was something truly appalling at his latest screechings.
"Has he truly lost it?" wondered Mrs. K, Nicky's wife.
I didn't know what to tell her.
I think Thomas Friedman went nuts somewhere around the time he was on his book tour. And I'm guessing he was barreling down Crack Up Highway like a trucker hopped up on No Doz. (It really does get harder and harder not to speak like him the more you're around him.)
Mrs. K, who knows the world around us, was appalled that he was singing the praises of Singapore.
If you're not familiar with the country's human rights policies, you can check out Amnesty International's report.
"Has he even been to Singapore?" Mrs. K asked me.
"Not that I know of. And we both know he rarely leaves our NYC apartment unless the dress policy is casual enough to allow for shorty robes."
"I just don't get him," Mrs. K offered.
Trust me, the crack pot of the op-ed pages is not simply any local loco. Indeed, he's so wack, he's taken to baying at the moon this week. Even when I corrected him with, "Thomas Friedman, that is not the moon, that is a street lamp."
From Thomas Friedman's early years, Nicky K tells me, he was a bit "caffinated" but otherwise able to make a few sensible points. These days, Nicky K swears, he's channeling former Reagan speech writer Peggy Noons "on a really, really bad day."
Which may be why he's no longer interested in his once favorite sex game, role play where he played William Safire and I, as Peggy Noonan, would have to change his adult diaper.
But Thomas Friedman isn't interested in sex at all these days.
Perhaps it was the affair that went bad with Patti Limmerick Nelson? Following the events and oddities of our Fourth of July picnic, I confronted Limmerick and like many an aging, failed intellect, when confronted with the choice between her lover and her cats, she elected to stay with the cats.
Thomas Friedman and his ego have not recovered from that moment. Not even the "vacation" helped with its trip to Coney Island and its searches of most of Manhattan for the perfect replacement shorty robe.
To this day, when someone refers to him, as he insists upon being referred to as, as "The great Thomas Friedman," he will cock an eyebrow, his spine will stiffen and he will await the punchline. He has grasped, to some degree, that these days, he is the punchline.
Even with his ego shattered, or possibly especially with his ego shattered, Thomas Friedman continues to pontificate in a sort of psuedo-Dennis Miller manner, taking on all the ghosts of decades past. Like something out of his obviously split mind, Thomas Friedman has taken to playing two roles from Dickens' A Christmas Carol: both Ebenezer Scrooge (consumed with money and "free trade") and the ghost of Christmas Past. While Christmas comes but once a year, the weak minded op-edists are always with us.
"In the areas of grooming, mental fitness, critical thought and breeziness, Thomas Freidman fails repeatedly," said Tang-Se Smith of the Columbia Journalism Department. "His mental breakdown proves the long held hypothesis that op-eds require little to no thought."
Did Tang-Se actually say that?
Does Tang-Se actually exist?
I made it up. Just as so many fictional characters pop up in my husband's Thomas Friedman's writings. That's possibly unfair. They do exist -- in his mind.
When an evicition from a local produce market resulted in no more prunes for Thomas Friedman, his brain appeared to stop up on a level equal to his bowels. Reading his latest column, it was obvious that what his body cannot expell below, his mouth will spew above.
The regularity that fiber could provide to his bowels and, along with water, to his mental well being are concepts Thomas Friedman is no longer interested in.
As I type this, the street lamps are coming on and Thomas Friedman is downstairs, on the sidewalk, in his shorty robe, yet again attracting nervous stares, as he bays at the street lamp he has once again mistaken for the moon.
Though certain papers let the nitwits design their own columns, and certain book publishers blot the landscape by reprinting their slight notions in sketched out forum, we can say no. We do not have to read the ravings of an obviously deranged mind.
Speaking of deranged minds, Tang-Su, my mythical professor at Columbia, would say to Thomas Friedman, "We were shocked at what we read. Abuses in Singapore are ignored as you push it as your dream locale."
Tang-Su continues, "Today's op-ed writer differs in one crucial aspect from yesterday's op-ed writer. There were standards then. Erma Bombeck was intentionally funny and others didn't attempt to flaunt their ignorance by writing of things they obviously knew little of."
Thomas Friedman believes he can write on anything. He calls himself a "multi-field expert."
The reality is he is one of a long line of Know Nothings who has yet to grasp how small his actual knowledge base is.
To say that in a way that my husband Thomas Friedman could understand, I will close with this,
"The 'thoughts' you offer are like the dipping sticks one gets from Pizza Hut. They're tasty but they do not, in an of themselves, make for a meal. Your columns, like your mind, suffer from inadequate nutrition."