The state of the world is what it is in large part because people in positions of great power think this absurd buffoon of man is a Very Serious Person. -- Atrios
Beginning when I first became enamored of the blogosphere (before joining it in my own little way), Duncan Black aka Atrios -- and his hilariously vicious skewering of politics and the media-- was a daily must read. His "Wanker of the Day" was particularly invaluable at capturing the absolute absurdity of supposedly very serious people being taken very seriously despite spewing absolute nonsense.
And now, to celebrate ten years of his blog, Eschaton, Atrios has counted down the ten Wankers of the Decade, a list that contains few surprises. And it is certainly no surprise that Thomas Friedman would be crowned the One True Wanker of the Decade.
It was Atrios, of course, who coined the phrase "Friedman Unit" during the Iraq War, to mock Friedman's repeated assessment that the next six months of the war was going to be the critical period that would turn things around. As Atrios says, "Tom Friedman is wrong about everything, and Tom Friedman don't care!"
More recently, as I've written, Friedman has taken to lamenting the lack of a true third party to magically provide a moderating force between left and right, blaming both parties for intransigence and discounting the utter unwillingness of one party -- the Republicans -- to govern, much less compromise. (See, e.g., Party On, Tom.) I
It is infuriating that Friedman continues to maintain such a prestigious perch on the op-ed page of the The New York Times (along with David Brooks, who I would have added to the list of All-Time Wankers, but I digress).
In any event and without further ado, I give you Atrios on the Wanker of the Decade:
Friedman possesses all of the qualities that make a pundit truly wankerific. He fetishizes a false "centrism" which is basically whatever Tom Friedman likes, imagining the Friedman agenda is both incredibly popular in the country and lacking any support from our current politicians, when in fact the opposite is usually true. Washington worships at the altar of the agenda of false centrism, and people often hate it. Problems abroad, even ones which really have nothing to do with us, should be solved by war, and problems at home should be solved by increasing the suffering of poor and middle class people. Even though one political party is pretty much implementing, or trying to implement, 99.999999% of the Friedman agenda, what we really need is a third party catering precisely to this silent majority of Friedmanites.Click here to read the whole piece.
Truly great wankers possess a kind of glib narcissism, the belief that everything is about them while simultaneously disavowing any responsibility for anything. The important thing about an issue is whether it proves Tom Friedman fucking right, but if it doesn't we can just move on to the next big thing that will prove Tom Friedman fucking right. If you advocate for wars that go a bit bad, well, it's not your fault. If only Tom Friedman had been in charge everything would have been great.
Such wankers are impervious to criticism because they're always doing battle with straw critics. They never remember what they said last week, and assume you won't either.