When pawing through Mr. Friedman's latest steaming heap of glue-huffing ramble, it is sometimes easy to forget that "writing" is what he gets paid to do. To this towering mediocrity great boons are granted, princely sums are bestowed, unimaginably privileged access to the world's elite is give and all of it is based on their ability to line 800 words up in a row and then subdivide those words with punctuation a couple of times a week.For another acid dismantling of the same Friedman column, check out Matt Taibbi here.
That's it. That is literally all he does.
If he were a policy wonk or historians or economists or pipe-fitter or thoracic surgeon or paper-maker or cartographer or COBOL programmer or blacksmith or vintage steamer truck restorer who also happened to be an incredibly bad writer, well, that would be another thing entirely. Depressing, perhaps. A statement about the generally sad state of literacy in America, perhaps. But not surprising.
Hell, since I was but a wee driftglass, on almost any gig I have ever had, one of the little side-jobs I invariably ended up with has been fixing up other people's writing. Because — from chairman or vice-president or commissioner to research assistant — one thing that has been a constant (and has been getting consistently worse) at all levels of almost every organization I have ever worked for is the poor quality of the writing.
My own blog frequently suffers from verbal nail pops and jigsaw cuts that are executed at less than a perfect 45-degree angle. I figured out long ago that my writer's brain (get it out fast!) and my editor's brain (clean it up thoroughly) simply operate on different circuits and cannot work together harmoniously when I am banging stuff out of horseback. I take full responsibility for every jot and tittle of my own errata which, you have my word, would not be there if I allowed myself the luxury of letting my words cool for 3-4 days.
Or if I had, say, the bottomless research and editorial resources of The New York Times at my command.
When you are in the business of putting words in a row, in the end it will always be the quality of those words that counts. The craft with which you lined them up. It does not matter if this year you are revered by fools or next year you are praised by sycophants; eventually all of that sound and fury dies away and your words are left orphaned to stand or fall on their own. And since Mr. Friedman's words so obviously and consistently stink on ice, I can only imagine that the real story behind why America's Newspaper of Record continues to allow such a buffoon to shit all over whatever is left of its international reputation must be one helluva rousing tale.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2011:
Having failed to intimidate the NLRB into dropping its complaint against Boeing for moving work from Washington state to South Carolina in retaliation for Washington workers exercising their legal rights, House Republicans are moving a bill that would make it impossible for the NLRB to actually do anything about it when companies do break the law:
Introduced less than 48 hours before the committee vote, H.R. 2587 would remove the only meaningful remedy available to workers if a company illegally moves operations or eliminates work because workers engaged in protected activities such as organizing a union. An employer can outsource for any reason, except for an unlawful reason. Retaliating against workers for exercising their rights under the National Labor Relations Act is one unlawful reason.
“These rights to organize and collectively bargain are meaningless if there is no effective remedy when they are violated,” said Miller. “The impact of this change would be wide-ranging.”
If a company wanted to move jobs overseas or subcontract work because their workers exercised their legal rights ... well, it would still be illegal for them to do so. It's just that if they did, the NLRB couldn't make them move the jobs back.
The bill has little chance of getting past the Senate and the president, but it once again shows where Republicans' priorities lie.
Kagro in the Morning: Link
The Ministry of Truth: Link