5 erreurs de prédiction friedmanesques – liste non exhaustive

Lu sous la plume de Barrett Brown dans Vanity Fair:

In this morning’s New York Times, columnist Thomas Friedman makes a grave prediction regarding Obama and the ongoing financial crisis: “I fear that his whole first term could be eaten by Citigroup, A.I.G., Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, and the whole housing/subprime credit bubble we inflated these past 20 years.” Friedman is a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, a staple of The New York Times, and a bestselling author, and thus this prediction should be taken very seriously—in some alternate universe where the news media is a meritocracy and Thomas Friedman is a competent observer of the world and its workings. The rest of us can probably relax.

Pour faire une liste exhaustive, il faudrait se taper à titre rétrospectif ses chroniques et livres depuis une vingtaine d’années. Je ne souhaite pas ça à mon pire ennemi – quoique…

Vous avez remarqué sinon que Thomas Friedman n’est plus pris au sérieux en dehors du circuit fermé des op-eds – un peu comme BHL en France? La critique de Matt Taibi dont je me suis déjà fait l’écho fait même penser à de l’overkill tellement Friedman ne peut décemment être pris au sérieux:

Thomas Friedman in possession of 500 pages of ruminations on the metaphorical theme of flatness would be a very dangerous thing indeed. It would be like letting a chimpanzee loose in the NORAD control room; even the best-case scenario is an image that could keep you awake well into your 50s. (Matt Taibi, Flathead, NY Press, 26/4/2005)

Matt Taibi n’est pas vraiment un fan du bonhomme il est vrai:

I’ve been unhealthily obsessed with Thomas Friedman for more than a decade now. For most of that time, I just thought he was funny. And admittedly, what I thought was funniest about him was the kind of stuff that only another writer would really care about—in particular his tortured use of the English language. Like George W. Bush with his Bushisms, Friedman came up with lines so hilarious you couldn’t make them up even if you were trying—and when you tried to actually picture the “illustrative” figures of speech he offered to explain himself, what you often ended up with was pure physical comedy of the Buster Keaton/Three Stooges school, with whole nations and peoples slipping and falling on the misplaced banana peels of his literary endeavors.

Remember Friedman’s take on Bush’s Iraq policy? “It’s OK to throw out your steering wheel,” he wrote, “as long as you remember you’re driving without one.” Picture that for a minute. Or how about Friedman’s analysis of America’s foreign policy outlook last May:

« The first rule of holes is when you’re in one, stop digging.When you’re in three, bring a lot of shovels.”

First of all, how can any single person be in three holes at once? Secondly, what the fuck is he talking about? If you’re supposed to stop digging when you’re in one hole, why should you dig more in three? How does that even begin to make sense? It’s stuff like this that makes me wonder if the editors over at the New York Times editorial page spend their afternoons dropping acid or drinking rubbing alcohol. Sending a line like that into print is the journalism equivalent of a security guard at a nuke plant waving a pair of mullahs in explosive vests through the front gate. It should never, ever happen (Matt Taibi, Flat’n all that, 14/1/2009).

J’ai trouvé à cet égard pas mal le « about me » d’une bloggeuse dont le blog porte le titre légèrement ironique « Thomas Friedman is a Great Man« :

I’m a black working mother. I love to laugh and between work and raising kids, I need a good laugh. I’m also a community member of The Common Ills. Shout outs to any Common Ills community members stopping by. Big shout out to C.I. for all the help getting this started. I am not married to Thomas Friedman, credit me with better taste, please. This site is a parody.

Je vais d’ailleurs relancer le Thomas Friedman award pour 2008, de même que le Doug Feith award – tous deux repoussés pour cause de guerre à Gaza.

« It would be like letting a chimpanzee loose in the NORAD control room »

C’est une citation d’une critique – what else? – du dernier (God willing) livre de Thomas Friedman, rédigée par Matt Taibi. Vous, je ne sais pas, mais j’adore les critiques rosses, surtout quand elles s’attaquent à un grand-prêtre du journalisme, de l’idéologie ou des sciences humaines. Pour ceux qui seraient bienheureusement ignorants de Thomas Friedman et de ses déjections débiles, disons que c’est un mélange de BHL, Mustapha Alaoui, Fahd Yata et Alain Finkielkraut, avec un zeste de Pascal Bruckner, une pincée de Mohamed Hassanein Heykal et une tranche de Jean-François Revel – bref, c’est l’équivalent outre-Atlantique de l’équipe éditoriale de L’Economiste, dont j’ai eu l’occasion déjà de vanter les mérites.

Bon, ça date un peu, mais je viens de tomber dessus et trouve cela irrésistible:

Let’s speak Friedmanese for a moment and examine just a few of the notches on these antlers (Friedman, incidentally, measures the flattening of the world in notches, i.e. « The flattening process had to go another notch »; I’m not sure where the notches go in the flat plane, but there they are.) Flattener #1 is actually two flatteners, the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the spread of the Windows operating system. In a Friedman book, the reader naturally seizes up in dread the instant a suggestive word like « Windows » is introduced; you wince, knowing what’s coming, the same way you do when Leslie Nielsen orders a Black Russian. And Friedman doesn’t disappoint. His description of the early 90s:

The walls had fallen down and the Windows had opened, making the world much flatter than it had ever been—but the age of seamless global communication had not yet dawned.

How the fuck do you open a window in a fallen wall? More to the point, why would you open a window in a fallen wall? Or did the walls somehow fall in such a way that they left the windows floating in place to be opened?

Four hundred and 73 pages of this, folks. Is there no God?

Matt Taibi est un récidiviste, ayant déjà épinglé Friedman au sujet de Boris Eltsine:

On the one hand, Friedman said, Putin’s Russia can no longer be called democratic. On the other hand, Boris Yeltsin’s version of democracy was a failure. This is the sentence that came next — emphasis is mine:

And on the third hand, while today’s Russia may be a crazy quilt of capitalist czars, mobsters, nationalists and aspiring democrats, it is not the totalitarian Soviet Union.

Even in remission, genius is genius. How do you get around the natural mathematical limitations of the construction, « On the one hand…but on the other hand… »? After all, we humans only have two hands. You or I would never have thought of it, but Friedman knew instinctively — just add another hand!

PS: Le NORAD? C’est ça.

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