NYT columnist Tom Friedman, the Hannibal Lecter of the English language, has been roundly smoted by better writers (Matt Taibbi especially) for his agonized mixed metaphors, as well as his blinkered observations about issues of wealth disparity formed during his years touring the great golf courses of the world. However, I was still left incredulous when I heard this gasser pass through his mustache on this past Sunday’s Meet the Press:

Let’s go to  30,000 feet for a second, ’cause that’s the context for this presidential debate on foreign policy. We’re in the middle of the breakup of two giant state systems. We’re seeing the failure of the European super state, in the crack-up of the Eurozone, and we’re seeing the failure of the Arab nation state in the Arab world. And it’s all happening at a time when the world has never been more interdependent. So we’ve got all these states now around the world, in the Middle East in particular as Helene [Cooper] said, that are too dangerous to ignore and too expensive to fix.”

The view from 30,000 feet, from the comfortable first class leather seats of a Dreamliner, is probably the only broad scope Friedman could hope to see the world from. This may explain why Tom can’t tell his asshole from his elbow.

First, the European states are not “dangerous”, nor are the Arab nations “expensive”, but in Friedman’s Cusinart brain the two situations are recipricol because Friedman can impart the word “state” in reference to both. This is just cleverness for its own sake gone amuck, which Friedman is famous for, but it is all the stupider because we are not seeing the “failure” of the “Arab nation state” at all! Egypt appears to be anything but unstable (excusing the tumult caused by the changing of the guard, the integrity of the nation is in good shape). Tunisia is likewise weathering the Arab Spring it launched with high marks. Libya, the outrage against our ambassador not withstanding, has not “broken up”, Saudi Arabia has not been touched by any of this, and Syria shows no signs of ceasing to exist as a nation regardless of how the civil war shakes out.

The idea that what is happening in the Middle East and North Africa is anything like the dissolution of a currency union is just a comparison of convenience, and further proof that Friedman’s world view is based on how cleverly he can put his opinion into Sphinx-like formulas.


But Tom Friedman’s bilge was Shakespeare compared to the simply fantastic affront to conversation that was the Fox News Sunday broadcast of the same week.

Interviewing Senator Dick Durbin (D) on the matter of Benghazi, host Chris Wallace paused to roll footage of the Obama press conference that he held after the attack in Libya occured. What followed is literally the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen on what purports to be a “serious” news program. Obama delivers a few lines, and then Fox literally fast forwards the tape, chipmunk squeaks and all, to the next relevant remark, rather than simply cutting right to them.

This happens three times, Obama’s head waggling back and forth at high speed while squeals pierce the viewer’s ears. I almost have no words for this, except two for Dick Durbin, who simply sat and swallowed this whooppee cushion moment: FUCK. YOU. Chris Wallace is under contract to be a classless douchebag for Fox, but Dick could have plucked the mic from his lapel and walked off the stage, if only he were willing to acknowledge this explicit mockery of the Democrats. Even if he’d flipped Chris the bird on his way out  it still would have been more lordly than sticking around and serving as the butt of the joke.

George McGovern, I’m glad you died before seeing this. Sadly, your party buried you long ago.