Wednesday, March 3, 2010

FLG Used To Think

...that Tom Friedman offered deep insight, back when FLG knew nothing about economics or international relations. Now that FLG does know something about these it has become clear that he is a fuckin' doofus more interested in creating stupid catch phrases than thinking about the actual content of his articles. Plus, he comes off as a condescending fuckwad in interviews.

Today, we have the usual whining that the US needs to invest in infrastructure and scientific education to...wait for it...compete in the global economy. Moreover, the CEO says that the US needs to offer tax credits for...surprise surprise...his business also to compete in the global economy.

It's possible that any or all of these proposals have merit, but let's be skeptical when the source of the opinion can directly benefit from all the proposals. More American infrastructure, engineers, and tax credits are clearly good for Intel. They all lower costs, but at the expense of existing engineers and the tax payers. Likewise, it's not surprising when the proposed solution from teachers unions to whatever ails education is more money.

Also, the opening of the article is just dumb:
I was traveling via Los Angeles International Airport — LAX — last week. Walking through its faded, cramped domestic terminal, I got the feeling of a place that once thought of itself as modern but has had one too many face-lifts and simply can’t hide the wrinkles anymore. In some ways, LAX is us. We are the United States of Deferred Maintenance. China is the People’s Republic of Deferred Gratification. They save, invest and build. We spend, borrow and patch.

There's a huge difference economically between an existing airport, which may be old, and no airport, but not so much between a new and old one. China is building new, cool stuff because it doesn't have anything at all. So what if LAX looks outdated and isn't as quite as efficient as the newest airports. It is still one of the busiest airports in the world and fulfills its primary purpose -- to get people from here to there. It really is a wonder that somebody with so little to offer besides rather unthoughtfully repackaging what is considered the "common knowledge" in elite circles, without considering what its full implications are, is one of the most influential columnists in the world.


The Ancient said...

I don't disagree with this, but I think the whole notion of an "influential columnist" is increasingly problematic.

Walter Lippmann was influential over the course of many decades. No one since has played a remotely similar role. Paul Krugman writes shrill jeremiads to a small left-wing readership, and is ignored, as he always has been, by elected officials. Tom Friedman writes fatuous bromides for smug businessmen (who show their appreciation by buying his books in airports). Charles Krauthammer, for all his epigrammatic brilliance, has no discernible influence on public debate.

(Maybe the problem is less with our columnists than with us. Maybe no one bothers to think very hard about anything any more.)

((We're a long way from that New Yorker cartoon in which a Park Avenue matron exclaimed, "All I need in the morning is Walter Lippmann and a strong cup of coffee."))

(((And we've left Pal Joey far behind -- "Zip, Walter Lippmann wasn't brilliant today/ Zip ...")))

Alpheus said...

Walter Lippmann.... Paul Krugman.... Tom Friedman.... Charles Krauthammer....

Why no mention of Maureen Dowd? :-)

The Ancient said...

Why no mention of Maureen Dowd? :-)

I make it a habit not to pick on women who keep pink jukeboxes in their living rooms.

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