06 October 2005

Shooting Friedman in a barrel

Though this post was drafted almost a year ago, and neglected, Thomas Friedman is fortunately constant enough that it should stay relevant.

In this Thanksgiving 2005 article, he mocks privileged Americans whose unconscious selfishness ignores the sacrifices that our troops are making to establish democracy in Iraq. Examples are Republicans changing House ethics rules to save Tom Delay's bacon, overpaid basketball players and of course SUV drivers. The way he keeps coming back to Iraq needs to be quoted,

Yes, I want to be Latrell Sprewell. At a time when N.B.A. games are priced beyond the reach of most American families, when half the country can't afford health care, when some reservists in Iraq are separated from their families for a year, including this Thanksgiving, I want to be like Latrell. I want to make sure everyone knows that I'm looking out for my family - and no one else's.
in order to bring out the connection with
WALTER: Those rich fucks! This whole fucking thing-- I did not watch my buddies die face down in the muck so that this fucking strumpet--

DUDE: I don't see any connection to Vietnam, Walter.

WALTER: Well, there isn't a literal connection, Dude.

DUDE Walter, face it, there isn't any connection. It's your roll.

But what really makes this article over the top is that it's written by one of the leading American cultural figures most responsible for getting us into Iraq! If we're assigning blame to elites, Thomas Friedman gets way more of it than Latrell Sprewell. Adding further to the irony, of course, is that his article is all about how these elites enjoy their privilege entirely self-righteously, without any apparent guilt about our troops dying over there.

On a vaguely similar note, Naomi Klein has an article about how thoroughly blind Americans are to the fact that we're butchering Iraqis on a massive scale. In contrast, the Bristol Metro recently had the front three pages about war pornography on the normally "regular porn" website nowthatsfuckedup.com (no link to the Metro article, but see billmon for an explanation). The emphasis is still on how this is bad for the soul of the West, but at least violence against Iraqis is an implicit theme.


dan said...

you should join friedman watch.

ahren said...

my feeling is that assigning tommy f. any responsibility for the USA's involvement in the war in iraq, awards him way too much credit.

maybe i just am out of touch, but is there anyone who reads his half-retarded articles and is realistically influenced?

aram harrow said...

dan: wait, is "friedman watch" anything more than an occasional rallying cry? i can be part of a team?

ahren: sadly yes.
i know several people who are.
i'm sure you do too!

in fact, i know so many people that i have to be vague at this point to avoid insulting them.

dan said...

"friedman watch" can happen in the comments as well... or you could post at scrofulous and i could link to you...

"friedman watch," to be completely honest, is by far the most fun series of posts that we've created. (let's face it: the Search-for-Solutions just isn't working.)

aram harrow said...

oh, it's the subject line of the friedman posts on your blog! i'm a little slow sometimes....

ok, well there are some more posts coming up, drafted back when i could get pissed of at NYT editorials for free.