Monthly Archives: November 2016

Got One Thing Right

“The Iraq war has turned into a sucking chest wound for our country — infecting its unity at home and its standing abroad. No one can predict what Iraq will look like 10 years from now. I wish it well. But in the near term, it is clear, nothing that we’ll feel particularly proud of, nothing that we’ll feel justifies the vast expenditure of lives and treasure, is going to come out of Iraq.”

Twenty Friedman units later, this seems to be correct.

Friedman, Thomas L. 2006. “Tolerable or Awful: The Roads Left in Iraq.” The New York Times. November 8: A23.

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Our protagonist approaches self-awareness

The point of the column 20 Friedman units ago is that the driver who picked up Thomas L. Friedman at the airport in Paris was on the phone the whole time and didn’t talk to him. Not only is technology flattening the world, but it is tearing us apart, even as it makes life more difficult for overrated columnists for the New York Times.

“It’s a pity. He was a young, French-speaking African, who probably had a lot to tell me. When I related all this to my friend Alain Frachon, an editor at Le Monde, he quipped: ‘I guess the era of foreign correspondents quoting taxi drivers is over. The taxi driver is now too busy to give you a quote!’

“Alain is right. You know the old story, ‘As my Parisian taxi driver said to me about the French elections.’ Well, you can forget about reading columns starting that way anymore. My driver was too busy to say hello, let alone opine on politics.”

Friedman, Thomas L. 2006. “The Taxi Driver.” The New York Times. November 1: A23.