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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Thomas Friedman, "More Chopsticks, Please": At Least Borat Spoke English

Surely you recall Sacha Baron Cohen's 2006 comedy "Borat," in which Borat Sagdiyev, a fictitious Kazakh journalist, traveled around the US at the behest of the Kazakh Ministry of Information in order to create a documentary film of his experiences. At least Borat spoke English.

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "More Chopsticks, Please" (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/11/opinion/sunday/friedman-more-chopsticks-please.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss), Thomas Friedman tells us how his newspaper sent him to Kiev and Hanoi over the past couple of weeks in order to recount his experiences. Does Friedman speak fluent Ukrainian and/or Vietnamese? Probably not. And this could well have contributed to Tom's hilarious observation:

"And in my jet-lagged torpor, all I’ve been trying to do is make sure I don’t order Chicken Kiev in Hanoi and Chicken Spring Rolls in Kiev."

Hahahahaha.

Observing that the Ukraine is being bullied by Russia and that Vietnam is being bullied by China, Friedman concludes:

"We’re not going to go to war on either front. And Russia and China also have claims and interests that bear consideration. But if we are to persuade Moscow and Beijing to resolve these border disputes peacefully, not unilaterally, we’ll clearly need a few more chopsticks in our bundle. Which is why America’s ability to build coalitions is as vital today as the exercise of its own power."

America's ability to build coalitions is vital today? Well, good luck to the Obama administration in forging a coalition to oppose Russia, after America's president alienated both Poland and the Czech Republic by scrapping plans for a missile defense system in both these countries. Instead, Obama promised "flexibility" to Putin.

And good luck to the Obama administration in forging a coalition to oppose China, after America's president refused to take sides in the dispute between China and Japan involving sovereignty over the the Senkaku Islands.

Needless to say, Friedman fails to mention that China is the largest single holder of American debt and is owed some $1.3 trillion by the US government.

But never mind this sobering truth. Just keep bundling those chopsticks.

Hahahahaha.

Yup, almost as funny as the greenhouse gas emissions spewed by the airplanes carrying Friedman around the globe, all in order to allow Tom to spew these gaseous rollicking opinion pieces.

2 comments:

  1. Rumor has it that in order to make his way around language barriers and the absence of substantive knowledge of the countries which he visits, Friedman at times employs a Vulcan mind-meld.

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  2. "Thomas Friedman tells us how his newspaper sent him to Kiev and Hanoi over the past couple of weeks in order to recount his experiences. Does Friedman speak fluent Ukrainian and/or Vietnamese? Probably not. "
    Ha, don't get me started. I am multilingual (and multicultural), so ... when I see an elderly woman in Fairway saying a distorted "thank you" in my native tongue with the air of absolute pride of herself, I die from laughter. I have no doubt that she firmly believes that she speaks the language (yes, this is the only word she knows)
    Last year, a former scientist (Ph.D. in astrophysics, American born, East European extraction) reported on a health/nutrition forum that we're manipulated in general and that he knew truth. He had gone to North Korea for a week and was glad to report that North Korea is a good country and the people in both countries are good (he had met some North Koreans). Well...
    Back to the NYT. They continue their tradition. They did some quality reporting from Ukraine (Duranty) back in the 1930s. I am sure that our beloved Friedman, being a such a wonderful journalist learned to pronounce "thank you" in Ukrainian and Vietnamese and is fully qualified to report.

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