Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Thomas Friedman's Trash Dump Psuedo Politics

Next month, I start college and I'm excited but nervous. My husband, Thomas Friedman, says I'm not focusing on him enough. I replied, "Unless you're going down to the drug store and buying the Depends, we ain't playing William Safire and Peggy Noonan."

It's his sex game, let him be the one standing in line with the Depends. I'm tired of the weird looks I get. It's not really even a "sex game" -- or at least not one for two. Thomas Friedman gets off on it but diapering "Willie" does nothing for me.

He kept whining and whining, so finally last week, I said, "Show me one of your columns."

See, I used to read that garbage all the time. But now I'm focused on preparing for college and really don't have the time to read junk/trash. I know he fancies himself a modern day Montesquieu but, let's be honest, there are more philosophical truths in the writings of Erma Bombeck. I made the mistake of saying that out loud and started in with a diatribe about how his "The World Is Flat" is the natural successor to "The Spirit of the Laws."

I interrupted and asked, "You want me to read this or not?"

He shut up. "Gas Pump Geopolitics" was the title.


No sooner did I finish then he asked, "Well, did you get it?"

"Yes, Rose," I replied. " 'Never let go.' They let you run this crap?"

Jerking the column from my hands, Thomas Friedman huffed, "It is not crap. 'Titanic' was a wonderful movie. And what do you mean, 'Yes, Rose'?"

Kate Winslet he's not. Except maybe in his mind.

But who am I to gripe? If I'd just smiled and said "Wonderful" I could have day dreamed for half an hour while he went on about just how wonderful his writing was. Instead, he was thrusting another column at me.

This one was called "Go West, Old Men." Right away, I had mixed feelings. It would be fun to live on the west coast but I am about to start college. Then I read past the title and saw that Thomas Friedman wasn't speaking about himself. I know! I was surprised to. With his sassy highlights and that ridiculous black turtleneck he insists upon wearing in public, he's a dead ringer for Bea Arthur. But make a joke about "The Golden Girls" and watch him blow his top.

"Black is slimming, Betinna," he whines.

White boy's lecturing me about Black?

"And it's very Bo-ho, I'm like Marilyn Monroe at the Actors' Studio or Audrey Hepburn in 'Funny Face!' "

I guess he's been brushing up on his 'motivation.' That would explain the added 'drama' in the column. Such as this statement:

It was surely no accident that President Hu made his first stop in the U.S. in Washington State -- not Washington, D.C. -- to dine with Bill Gates, who gave him the "state dinner" that the Bush White House refused to extend.

"It was surely no accident"? Doesn't saying "It was no accident" make the same point? He's like a starlet determined never to roll on a bed half-naked again. I suspect it won't be long before he's wearing his glasses in public to look like an intellectual. In his final paragraph, he asks, "Why waste the gas?" That's a question I can get behind and wish he'd ask it of himself each time he thinks he needs to write another column.

I had a party planned. Really more of a gathering. And seeing that it was almost time for that to begin, I pretended to like the column to avoid him pulling out his notebook full of laminated "Best Of Thomas Friedman" columns. (If you guessed the notebook contains every column he's ever written, you'd be guessing right. Well, every writer needs at least one fan, right?)

"You really think it was wonderful?" he asked. "Which parts? I think I was most 'on' in the third paragraph. 'On' throughout, but I'm really impressed with that third paragraph. That's not to take anything away from paragraphs four or five, which are also quite impressive . . ."

"Uh-huh," I added every few seconds to make him think I was listening and, most important, agreeing as I set out trays of snacks.

I caught something about "sense-memory," on the third trip from the kitchen and figured A&E must have aired a bio on Marilyn this month.

The doorbell rang and pretty soon, there was Wally, Rebecca, Jess, Ty, Cedric, Elaine, Mike & Nina, Kat, Ava and C.I. Trina came in with some wonderful dishes.

So we spent the evening listening to music and discussing a number of topics. Primarily what to do about a certain situation in a certain nation.

Most of the evening, Thomas Friedman spent with his back turned to everyone.

Wally pointed to Thomas Friedman and asked me if he was having trouble with his bowel movements?

No, I explained that Thomas Friedman was merely trying to flex his buttucks because he's convinced Wally thinks he's attractive. All the straining and grunting came from the fact that the butt is pure flab.

"Ignore him," I advised, "life's so much nicer when you do."

Which is pretty much what we did even when he asked Wally if he wanted to feel his "quads." Bored, he offered to let people do canned cheese shots off his body.

"Any takers? No? Wally? No? Oh. Okay."

As soon as everyone left, he trashed them all. Ava and C.I. were nothing but TV critics, he said haughtily. Elaine was a bad influence me, he declared.

As I rinsed off the trays, I told him it was too bad he felt that way because I'd be joining them all for the big march Saturday, April 29th.

"So! So!" he screamed. "You're all so boring! Even Wally thought so. You all intimidate that poor farm boy. He wanted to feel my quads but the way you all rolled your eyes, he decided not to."

"Yeah, that's it," I said turning off the faucet.

Walking past him, I headed for the bedroom.

I woke up a few hours later and he wasn't in bed. Thinking he might be brooding and do something foolish, like last week when he attempted suicide by injesting a box full of laxitives (which, if you think about it, really was an "inner" suicide for him), I grabbed my robe, non-shorty robe, and walked through the apartment.

He was at the computer. I started to head back to the bedroom when I realized that wasn't a fake nude of Zach or Slater or any of the "Saved By the Bell" boys he usually looks at, it was text. Reading over his shoulder, I saw: "Here's The Plan The World Needs."

"Thomas Friedman, you are not stealing their idea!" I snapped causing him to lurch in his chair, fall and hit the ground with a mighty thud.

He was about to argue when he must have seen how serious I was. Since he has only two speeds and argue was eliminated, he fell back on whine.

"Please, please," he cried sounding like an adenoidal teenager. "It would really chafe Nicky's K rear if I got this into print! You have no idea how prissy he's been since he won the Pulitzer! John Tierney told me he's insisted that the paper furnish him with a padded toilet seat and his own stall. They're calling it 'Nicky's Throne!' "

He begged. He pleaded. He said if he'd stolen "Should This Marriage Be Saved?" two years ago, he would be considered "the prophet of the paper!"

"As opposed to?" I asked.

"The blonde bombshell that I am," he replied full of defiance.

"Well, you can't be a blonde bombshell and smart," I said turning off the computer and walking out of the room.

"Jayne Mansfield was!" he hollered rushing after me. "She had a genius I.Q.!"

So far, he's avoided the topic. But he refuses to let me see his column for tomorrow so I am suspicious. Trash Dump Psuedo Politics is all that Thomas Friedman has to offer and even that's no longer cutting it. I'm concerned that all the attention Kaavya Viswanathan has recently received may be giving Thomas Friedman the wrong ideas.