Dohiyi Mir
    In Which NTodd Says His Peace

Monday, August 11, 2003
Go to the new DM blog.


Friedman Is Annoying


I have a love-hate relationship with Thomas Friedman. I don't always agree with what he says, but I find him to be fairly smart and engaging, and particularly like watching him give a speech, such as he did at St. Mike's college in Winooski last summer. My problem is that I'm not entirely sure the auditorium where I saw him speak was large enough for his self-referential ego. His column today is a very interesting piece on Liberal Voices of Islam and I recommend you read it, but I had difficulty getting past the second graf:

I was invited to interview a rising progressive Iraqi Shiite cleric, Sayyid Iyad Jamaleddine, at his home on the banks of the Tigris. It was the most exciting conversation I've had on three trips to postwar Iraq.

More, "hey, get a load of me!" It reminded me of a funny parody TAP ran a few years ago, entitled The Datsun and the Shoe Tree*. I just love the opening grafs:

I was changing planes at the new airport in Jakarta the other day, on the way to Stockholm from Vladivostok. Three young Bangladeshi boys sat in the passenger lounge, watching The Power Rangers on satellite TV. Their mother--garbed in the traditional sari--talked to her cousin, a migrant worker who sold German-designed Walkman knockoffs in Hong Kong, on a shiny new Samsung cell phone. Sitting to one side of them was a young Chinese emigre on his way to Toronto to work for a software company, and on the other a business-suited Rastafarian making a connection to Bratislava. Meanwhile, a couple of Tuareg tribesmen sat cross-legged in front of the ticket counter, cooking yams over a flaming mound of ticket stubs.

What's my point? I don't actually have one--but opening my columns with strings of cliched cultural juxtapositions really cuts down my workload. You see, since the Cold War ended, we've gone from superpowers to spreadsheets, Pershings to Pentiums, the Berlin Wall to suburban sprawl, olive trees to Lexuses. Are you ready? Because the whole world is changing. Unless you are one of the eight-tenths of humanity who at this moment are either hungry, illiterate, or field-stripping an AK-47, in which case I'll get back to you in some future column.

That is all.

ntodd

* For those of you who are unfamiliar with Friedman, he wrote The Lexus and the Olive Tree, a fairly good book on globalization.

[Update, 10:58AM: IslamOnline has an article on Hossein Khomeini.] 
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A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.

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