Jumping the Friedman Snark Shark

Alex Pareene on Salon.com is out with the site’s annual “Hack List,” this year written in the style of the target.  (His parody of Peggy Noonan is especially good.)  And his takedown of Thomas Friedman, America’s most overrated columnist, appears to be a work of genius.  The lede:

I was at a conference in Brussels last week and having trouble with my column. Thomas Friedman hadn’t changed as a writer or a human being for many years, and I’d written about him 100 times before. I took a walk down to Cinquantenaire Park to get some fresh air and clear my head. As I left the park, I stopped in a small cafe to order a coffee.

I happened to notice a young Palestinian man working behind the counter. When I ordered my coffee, he realized that I was American. “Ah, like Thomas Friedman,” he said. “Friedman, the great New York Times columnist who understands the needs of and challenges facing people like me, working-class Palestinians living in the European Union, because of how often he travels the world and how many brief but illuminating conversations he has with service industry employees. We are all grateful to be material for his columns and books,” he said, standing in for all people like him, by which I mean most foreign brown people.

There’s more, and it’s worth reading the whole thing.  Like this dead-on paragraph:

I wish Thomas Friedman, House Republicans and Iran President Hassan Rouhani could all get together in a room and listen to the words of Winston Churchill, who once said, “The Hun is always at your neck or at your feet.” He was talking about Germans, but the Hun of today is runaway entitlement spending. Entitlement spending is also an unspecified number of cans. And young people are “the ones who will really get hit by all the cans we’re kicking down the road.” In Friedman World, cans that were kicked down a road somehow hit you when you reach them.

Heh.  But how hard is this, really?  Back in September, I drew our attention to this Friedman column:

I was at a conference in Bern, Switzerland, last week and struggling with my column.  To clear my head, I went for a walk along the Aare River, on Schifflaube Street. Along the way, I found a small grocery shop and stopped to buy some nectarines. As I went to pay, I was looking down, fishing for my Swiss francs, and when I looked up at the cashier, I was taken aback: He had pink hair. A huge shock of neon pink hair — very Euro-punk from the ’90s. While he was ringing me up, a young woman walked by, and he blew her a kiss through the window — not a care in the world.

Observing all this joie de vivre, I thought to myself: “Wow, wouldn’t it be nice to be a Swiss? Maybe even to sport some pink hair?”  Though I can’t say for sure, I got the feeling that the man with pink hair was not agonizing over the proper use of force against Bashar al-Assad. Not his fault; his is a tiny country.

When you make it this easy, satire and parody are almost impossible.

Which reminds me, I need to get back to my lyrics for “The Twelve Days of Obamacare.”  Stay tuned.


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