why I dislike tom friedman

Matt Welch does a good job of summing up the problem with Tom Friedman, and I am inclined to agree:

The man has fashioned a career out of locating or inventing a crude symbolic shorthand to explain and even popularize complex international phenomena while relying on a small cast of elites from politics, academia, and business to agree with his global clichés. But what started out as a clever decoding device has, in Friedman’s 10th year on the country’s most coveted op-ed real estate, become the crutch of a self-caricaturing hack.

While I think self-caricaturing hack is a bit harsh, I do often find myself wondering what the hell Friedman is on about. I do own a copy of From Beirut to Jerusalem which I’ve been meaning to read (yes, I buy books and then don’t read them. Did you know that about me?), and I still intend to. Even Friedman’s harshest critics tend to leave exceptions for this book, so I figure it must be worthwhile.