I am late to this, but it is worth asking anew why anyone takes Thomas Friedman seriously:
I had to catch a train in Washington last week. The paved street in the traffic circle around Union Station was in such poor condition that I felt as though I was on a roller coaster. I traveled on the Amtrak Acela, our sorry excuse for a fast train, on which I had so many dropped calls on my cellphone that you’d have thought I was on a remote desert island, not traveling from Washington to New York City. When I got back to Union Station, the escalator in the parking garage was broken. Maybe you’ve gotten used to all this and have stopped noticing. I haven’t. Our country needs a renewal.
And that is why I still hope Michael Bloomberg will reconsider running for president as an independent candidate, if only to participate in the presidential debates and give our two-party system the shock it needs.
No, you weren’t imagining things. Friedman thinks that Bloomberg needs to run for president because the paved streets around Union Station were not up to Friedman’s standards, his cellphone kept dropping calls on the Acela, and the escalator in the parking garage was broken. Friedman felt it was important to write a column pointing all of this out, a column infused with the premise that the president of the United States is some kind of glorified alderman, who runs around and fixes every pothole that Friedman deems a blight.
Even more amazingly, people at the New York Times thought that it would be a good idea to run his column.
UPDATE: Okay, it occurs to me that there might be a way to makes lemonade out of the lemon that is Friedman’s column.
One of the best things that can be done for the state of the New York Times editorial page is to either shame Thomas Friedman into giving his readers better material, or to shame him out of the business of opinion-writing forever. So I propose that we take Friedman’s column and mock it with a meme that will hopefully spread through the Internet like wildfire.
Please devote as many blog posts, tweets, Facebook/Google+ status updates, and other social media utterances as you can to mocking Thomas Friedman’s column. The rules are as follows:
- You must focus on an exceedingly small issue that nonetheless bothers you.
- The small issue in question must be one that the president of the United States can do absolutely nothing about.
- You must nevertheless demand that the president of the United States do something about it.
- You must demand that in order to get major-party presidential candidates to focus on your issue, Michael Bloomberg must run as a third-party presidential candidate in 2012.
- Please use the words “My Thomas Friedman Voice” as part of the title to any blog post and as a blog post tag, or the hashtag #mythomasfriedmanvoice on Twitter.
Example: “I have to clean my apartment. There is a lot of work to do, and I don’t feel like doing it. And this is why I hope that Michael Bloomberg will reconsider running for president as an independent candidate, if only to get the winner of this year’s presidential election to help me clean my apartment. Which I really hate doing, by the way.”
I have never spawned a legitimate Internet meme before. I’d like this to be my first. Help me out. Help me help the future of opinion-writing at the New York Times. Let our mockery of Thomas Friedman reach the very heavens.