Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Taibbi on Friedman

Poor Tom.

Meanwhile, Friedman is losing his mind. How else to explain passages like this one, from his June 6 column on the Indian elections, entitled "Think Global, Act Local"? Here, he explains the true meaning of the recent ouster of the rightist BJP alliance in favor of the left-leaning Congress Party alliance. Most rational observers interpreted this as a rejection of globalization, but not Friedman:

"They got it exactly wrong. What Indian voters were saying was not: 'Stop the globalization train, we want to get off.' It was, 'Slow down the globalization train, and build me a better step-stool, because I want to get on.'"

Now, think about this. Friedman obviously cannot have voters wanting to stop the globalization train, because that would mean, well, stopping globalization. But in his haste to find a way to get people on the train, he has them putting drop-stools on the ground in order to step onto a slow, but still moving train. One can easily hop onto a slowly moving train, but if one has to first step onto a drop-stool from a stationary position, there's simply no way to do it safely: You're probably going to step onto the stool first and then, in your next step, smack right into the side of the moving train after the entrance has passed.

That's unless, of course, you run just ahead of the entrance, drop the stool a good 15 feet ahead of the door, and then time your step just right, so that you land in the entranceway at just the right moment. I figure that the success rate for this kind of Buster Keaton maneuver on a train platform crowded with the entire dispossessed Indian underclass would be about one in four. Just imagine all those people and all those stools trying this all at once, and what you have is a gigantic fucking mess, the mother of all Who concert stampedes; insanity and carnage to you and me; progress to Thomas Friedman.