Bad writing sometimes seems endemic among best-selling writers. One pertinent example is Thomas Friedman. I first got my taste of Friedman while I was driving home from Montana and put on a book-on-tape version of The World Is Flat. I listened to about half of it before deciding the guy sounded like he was just making stuff up, riffing on some pretty obvious themes that had been in the air for a while and writing a book on it. Apparently he now has a new book! Huzzah! Here is an excellent review that sums up how I feel about Thomas Friedman. An example quote:
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?