I have seen the future, and it is a chain-smoking chimpanzee typist: a chest-beating, keyboard-banging columnist for The New York Times who does on paper what he does to the floor—take a massive dump.
Yesterday, he used his column to empty his cage. He listed his belongings for sale, including a trampoline, a safety net, drones, a robot, school supplies, and a self-driving car.
He breached the wall—a great wall with big beautiful doors—between editorial and advertising by promoting the Next America. He scaled a Chinese wall, which is not in China, to advance his vision of America, which looks like Americans’ nightmare about China: a soulless land not of creative destruction but of destruction itself in which artificial intelligence is supreme and worker training is a euphemism for re-education camps.
He trashed America—and added to his trash heap of mixed metaphors—by typing his predictions about the year 2020.
It was a primal scream, which achieved its intended effect: to win support for a global ban on animal cruelty, to enshrine this ban in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to enumerate the rights of all primates to write, to establish the primacy of the Times’ chief chimpanzee.
It was a potassium-laced manifesto from a creature who had gone bananas. It was an online act whose stickiness owed more to the dissemination of a single creature than the distribution of a set of ideas, whose spillover was a flood of biblical proportions, whose spillage was a downpour of onanistic excess, whose seed was a deluge without the release of a raven or a dove.
It was another Tuesday for Tom Friedman.
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