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Great America

Tom Friedman Discovers America

- October 2nd, 2019
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When Tom Friedman feels the urge to type, when he acts according to type, when he ties his hospital gown and wears his slippers, when he writes PRESS on the back of his paper prescription, when he appears with a wirebound steno pad in one hand and an Esso travel map in the other, when he tilts his head toward a radial dot on the crease of his directory; when he holds his pen between his teeth, when he tries to walk like FDR but looks and talks like Eleanor—when the New York Times’s senior columnist has a senior moment, the experience is a treat.

His latest column does not disappoint, as it evokes the spirit of Paul Simon with the lyricism of Simon Says: a search for America that begins and ends at the Kennedy Center, convincing Friedman that a night at the opera is an accurate representation of a day in the life of the typical American.

Never mind that Friedman’s column is about the crowd’s reaction to a woman in the audience. Never mind that that woman is Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Never mind, too, that applause for a patron of the arts, in a performing arts center named for a martyred president, by a majority of attendees who hate our current president, is proof of nothing.

For Tom Friedman, nothing is more convincing than the absence of evidence.

Naturally, he welcomes the impeachment of the president.

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