NYT’s ‘Anti-Consumerist’ Bazillionaire

Just when even the ultimately acerbic political critic Matt Taibbi began (New York Press, 1/14/09) “to lose faith in America’s ability to fall for absolutely anything,” he notes New York Times pundit Thomas Friedman, “resident of a positively obscene 11,400-square-foot suburban Maryland mega-monstro-mansion and husband to the heir of one of the largest shopping-mall chains in the world, reinventing himself as an oracle of anti-consumerist conservationism”:

Where does a man who needs his own offshore drilling platform just to keep the east wing of his house heated get the balls to write a book chiding America for driving energy inefficient automobiles? Where does a guy whose family bulldozed 2.1 million square feet of pristine Hawaiian wilderness to put a Gap, an Old Navy, a Sears, an Abercrombie and even a motherfucking Foot Locker in paradise get off preaching to the rest of us about the need for a Green Revolution? Well, he’ll explain it all to you in 438 crisply written pages for just $27.95.

While this hypocrisy is galling, Taibbi admits to finding Friedman’s writing hilariously bad: “When you tried to actually picture the ‘illustrative’ figures of speech he offered to explain himself, what you often ended up with was pure physical comedy of the Buster Keaton/Three Stooges school.” But the wholly unfunny part is “whole nations and peoples slipping and falling on the misplaced banana peels of his literary endeavors”; see the recent FAIR Action Alert: “Terrorism on the New York Times Op-Ed Page: Friedman Supports Civilian Suffering as ‘Education'” (1/14/09)