Wednesday, March 18, 2009

At Your Service

I think I saw Thomas Friedman today at my place of work. He was all sweaty and had dorky little shorts on, and his mustache was flecked with gray whiskers just like in his author photo.

He came into the cafe to buy a turkey sandwich. Like Friedman, the cafe has planet-saving pretensions: recycled paper cups and compostable cutlery.

The three-time Pulitzer Prize winner was mealy-mouthed and took a long time deciding what he wanted, and when he got it he was unappreciative. The young lady I took to be his daughter shot me a friendly glance though. She and I commiserated in a moment of "Isn't my dad embarassing?"

She was right. Thomas Friedman is an embarassment and his green capitalism is a sham in a thunderingly obvious way.

Christopher Hitchens is another columnist whom I'm told lives out here in California much of the time. In spite of his hawkishness, I would thank Hitchens for his moral seriousness and thoroughly entertaining command of the language. I would not be tempted to put a booger in his sandwich. Whether you agree with him or not, Hitchens will never bore, as Chomsky so often does. But it's doubtful that the tubby Englishman would ever come in, though, because he's a dreadful food snob.

One other world-redeeming luminary, a recent Oscar winner, ordered a grilled cheese sandwich off the kids' menu some years ago. When asked if he wanted milk or apple juice with his kids' meal, the famous actor replied: "I just want a grilled cheese sandwich. Is that so hard?"