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June 02, 2005

Sing, O Muse, of the Ire of Teresa Nielsen Hayden and Company...

They are annoyed. This is far better than "your father was a hamster and your mother smelled of elderberries":

Making Light: On reading Thomas Friedman again: I was right. Thomas Friedman is indeed one of those rare enlivening bad artists who inspires better writers to bouts of splenetic eloquence. What better proof could you ask than the following poems, written upon the occasion of my previous post?

The first, by John M. Ford, from the comments thread:

Much have I travell’d on the feet of gold,
And many tumbled walls and maidens seen,
Round many horny Africs have I been
Which bards like bosoms in their welkins hold,
Oft of a spare expanse had I been told
That fence-swung Homer looked on as demesne;
Yet never did I breathe its mountains clean
Till I heard Friedman speak out uncontrolled,
Then felt I like some Cousteau of the skies
When a new bubble undermines his ken,
Or sack-like Falstaff, when with precast eyes
He stared at echoes—and his fellow men
Harked back in multitudes like single spies
Silent, past their peak in Darien.

The second came in the mail from James D. Macdonald:

On first looking into Friedman’s Flathead

Much have I travell’d in a chartered jet
And munched betimes upon a Cinnabon;
Upon my iPod listened to Don Juan
Which I downloaded from the wireless ‘Net.
I did not understand the ‘Nineties lore
Of Windows systems and of Pizza Hut,
How one was opened and the other shut,
Till I heard Friedman speak in metaphor.
Then felt I like a steroid in a vein:
Jose Canseco on a level field,
Whose random thoughts of glory and of pain
Were like an ice-cream sundae all congealed.
The moral is, when put by words in train,
That which does not exist can’t be revealed.

This becomes interesting. If it continues, Friedman may conceivably hope to someday outdo Gene Steinberg as one of the Muses of Eloquent Indignation.

Only time will tell.

Addendum: Jonathan Vos Post has weighed in:

Friedmandias

I met a traveller from the New York Times
Who said: ‘Two vast and Lexus legs of stone
Stand in Bangalore. Near their paradigms
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And open Windows, and sneer of the Berlin Wall,
Tell that its sculptor often ate at Pizza Hut
Which yet survive, stamped on this Lilliput,
T.I. that mocked them as ephemeral.
And on the plinth by this Michelangelo—
“My name is Friedmandias, king of the IPO:
Look on my prose, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing coherent stays. Round the decay
Of that steroidal wreck, boundless and bare
The level playing fields stretch far away.’

Those who prefer their inspired indignation in the form of prose may appreciate Ademithopur’s Venting at Cinematic Rain:

a commenter cited this little excerpt from a review of Mr Friedman in the LATimes book review, which set me off, hence the need to vent. my apologies
“… Friedman recounts that he first realized the extent of these changes recently at the KGA Golf Club in southern India when his playing partner pointed at two shiny glass-and-steel buildings and declared, ‘Aim at either Microsoft or IBM….’”

IIRC, nearlymore than half the indian population is under the age of 25, a good number of whom live in abject poverty.

i seriously doubt that there are enough jobs at any level in IBM or MSFT or all the software startups in the world combined to satisfy such a vast labor market (250 freaking million jobs over the next 15 years, to keep up with population aging). the reason that people are pissed is because the MNC’s have this Massive advantage in the labor market and are abusing it thoroughly, making employees work crap hours for marginally higher pay. these are the ‘haves’ btw. the have-nots are pissed because they have no avenues to get a piece of this action.

i am from south india. my cousin works for HP in B’lore. i visited him this past december. i also visited chennai and hyderabad. there are a lot more poor, hungry people in india than there are employees at HP. these people have not received any of the ‘trickle-down’ effects of globalization. the situation is pretty standard for a developing nation. rich get richer, poor get bent over and penetrated with a wooden spoon. the right-wing politics that held sway the past 4 years hasn’t helped at all, only causing more social rifts while failing to heal or treat the economic ones.

It makes such a difference in the language when the writer knows something.

Posted by DeLong at June 2, 2005 12:05 PM