Tuesday, March 14, 2006

First Among Fools

What's it like to be married to the most hated man in the nation?

That's a question I get a lot.

Not from everyone. For instance, Gail Collins seems over her crush on young Mr. Davy Brooks.

"Oh, Betinna," Gail whispered over the phone, all nervous giggles, "he's such a manly man. You're so lucky to be married to Thomas Friedman."

Well we've known she was out of touch with reality for some time. But the thing that had delighted Gail so, what had turned her from a Friedman-hayta' into a wanna-be-playa' was
"Mr. Nasty, Brutish and Short-Tempered."

I came up with that title.

Thomas Friedman loved it, "Oh Betinna, it's perfect. It describes them perfectly."

Yeah, "them."

The layout of the op-ed page is such that columnist's name (regular ones) appears and then a line below it with the title of the column below that in larger font. So it's like this:


Mr. Nasty, Brutish and Short-Tempered

I thought it read perfectly. "Thomas L. Friedman . . . Mr. Nasty, Brutish and Short-Tempered." I'd call it "autobiographical" but he didn't come up with it.

What did he come up with? What triggered the lower the belly desire in Gail?

Thomas Friedman making an ass out of himself.

He really thinks he's loved. And I was egging him on.

"Everyone loves you!"

So he opens with his attempt at silly. A little bit about how he has a job for Dick Cheney but no giggles because he's serious and not about to tell a shooting joke.

Shooting joke? He's writing about Iraq. Does he realize how insensitive he comes off?

Of course not. That would require awareness of others and he only has eyes for Thomas Friedman.

So his big plan is to "get tough" by putting the conficting factions in Iraq (which means officials, he does work for the paper of misrecord, after all) into the same room and locking them in there.
What a brave he-man he is! He's nearly as tough as the dad on Growing Pains.

He also tosses out "Darth Vader" for Cheney, not realizing that joke was funny about three years ago and has since been done to death. But what can never be done to death is a fifty-two year-old using the slang "dude."

He does that.

"Betinna, I think it needs a 'dude,'" he said showing me his work in progress before it appeared in Friday's paper.

"Let me look," I said with false sincerity.

That's how this sentence popped into print: "We need a really bad dude to make it work."

He asked me if I understood that "I'm using 'bad' in the colored sense of the word?"

"Oh, yes!" I agreed. "You'll have everyone on board with this column, Thomas Friedman. My people like nothing then to hear our slang in print."


While Dick Cheney gets to be "tough," Thomas Friedman reduces the people of America to the role of either "mid-wife" or "baby sitter." I'm not sure if that's a sleight against women, one against the people of America, or against mid-wives and baby sitters. It's hard to tell because few can offend so many in a single sentence.

What I said when I read it was, "Genius! Pure genius!"

Corn, pure corn.

"Mr. Cheney, this is your Kodak moment" Thomas Friedman typed away. Not grasping that your average technically aware person is familiar with the fact that digital cameras are replacing traditional ones and then some.

I found it interesting that he is back in love with Cheney. He doesn't think Bully Boy can pull off "Read my lips" -- let alone "mid-wife" democracy in Iraq. I seem to remember Bully Boy's father saying "Read my lips." Guess Junior's not up for it?

His praise of the Kurds and Richard Holbrooke only demonstrated how uninformed he is.

Well he does work for the paper of record. And it's always one embarrassment after another for the New York Times. Never say Thomas Friedman doesn't do his part. Of course, these days it gets harder and harder for Captain Freidman to stand out on the ship of fools.

Fortunately, Friday's column, where he reduced the fate of a country to a time-out, made him first among fools.