Dear Nephew Gobo,

Today I saw an amazing building. Gorgs have this thing called a “computer” that allows them to ask questions to a wise creature called “The Google.” To watch millions of people ask The Google their questions was spectacular indeed. Unfortunately, I tried to eat the computer and became a rambling, insane Fraggle. I kept saying “Google can help Al Qaeda!” Apparently, the Gorgs took my momentary insanity seriously and said they would tell more powerful Gorgs about “changing policy.” My advice? Don’t eat a computer.

Love, Your Uncle,

Traveling Friedman

From here on out, just refer to New York Times writer Thomas Friedman as “Traveling Friedman.” I’d call him “Traveling Tom” but we want to make sure that this rant gets a high ranking on the Holy Search Engine whose name must not be spoken in vain.

Thomas Friedman writes commentary on international relations every Sunday. He owns the ears of powerful people in the government and transnational corporations. Friedman’s articles end up in college political science classes every Monday.

The man has influence.

When Friedman writes something, it’s not long before the government introduces a related policy. Unfortunately, Friedman is trapped in a vicious cycle of relating everything to terrorism. As such, Friedman seems to have descended into a stale formulaic writing style and seems to have stopped giving proper consideration to the power of his words and position.

He travels somewhere. He tries something. He reflects on an issue. He connects it to 9/11. Doesn’t matter what the subject is. It will always come back to 9/11.

Today, Friedman added more to the evidence that he is getting stiff in the joints with his article, “Is Google God?” His basic premise is that Google is the primary gateway to all information giving it omnipotence or godlike status with the casual computer user. He cites Internet growth statistics and states that the Internet hasn’t stopped growing. With the development of wireless Internet arriving into the mainstream, everyone will have access to this remarkable medium.

His conclusions were unfortunate and frankly unbearable. Friedman decides that ubiquitous Internet access will serves anti-American sentiment and give power to the usual suspects, i.e. evil doers. He sees a future where political groups isolate themselves and distribute powerful propaganda through wireless and broadband channels.

The proper conclusion should have been that the Internet allows Americans to transmit their values far better than vile pseudocultural institutions like MTV and McDonald’s. The Internet creates broad avenues of communication where the truth can rise to the top despite interference from governments or corporations. With wireless Internet, farmers can get the information they need for higher yields and the people that sell the food can eliminate the “technicals” or warlords that dominate developing nations through their dominance of information.

Friedman’s focus on Al Qaeda is terse, over-blown and irrelevant to the discussion of growing Internet usage. The Internet is not going to make Al Qaeda an “isolated kingdom” that threatens the US. They did that pretty well without the Internet.

When Friedman writes commentary like this one, it discredits his brilliant career and makes him sound like a hack. He earned his stripes in the ‘80s reporting on the Middle East. Friedman has two Pulitzer Prizes to stand testimony to his prowess as a scribe. Only fools would doubt his grasp of International Relations and the dynamics of Middle East politics but when he steps out of this realm, there is no bigger fool than Thomas Friedman.

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