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Bruce Sterling's Final Prediction 162

Posted by kdawson
from the so-long-Nostradamus dept.
In Bruce Sterling's final column for Wired, he summarizes the output of a survey of Net prognosticators conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The piece is peppered with Sterling's trademarked stop-you-in-your-tracks imagery. An example: "The bubble-era vision of a Utopian Internet is dented and dirty... The Lexus has collided with the olive tree, and its crumpled hulk spins in a ditch as the orchard smolders."
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Bruce Sterling's Final Prediction

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  • by 19thNervousBreakdown (768619) <davec-slashdot@l ... t ['per' in gap]> on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @11:07AM (#17222888) Homepage

    "The bubble-era vision of a Utopian Internet is dented and dirty... The Lexus has collided with the olive tree, and its crumpled hulk spins in a ditch as the orchard smolders."

    This metaphor is a can of Pringles, and its vigor is enhanced by venomous ducks that flip it daily with a caterpillar that just won't shut up.

    Seriously... what?

    • by 0racle (667029)
      Ya, I can't see why they wouldn't want to keep him.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      It made perfect sense to me. "The Lexus and the Olive Tree" isn't that obscure a reference. Wasn't this book a bestseller?
      • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

        by somersault (912633)
        [o/t]I don't see why you'd want a Lexus anyway. Most ugly tail lights ever conceived. Strange how people actually copy them and stick them on other brands of car..
        • by phaggood (690955)
          > ugliest tail lights

          Ugly is the new glamorous ( Uggs Boots, Paris Hilton)

          Didn't you get the memo?
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Zen (8377)
        Nah, wrong genre. It was music, and it was "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" (KT Tunstall)

      • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

        by slashbob22 (918040)
        Indeed, though this is Slashdot and most of us dont RTFA let alone a book. Do you have a summary?
        • Re:Batshit Insane (Score:5, Informative)

          by Bastian (66383) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @11:52AM (#17223584)
          It was a book on globalization that came out several years back. The book-a-minute version I'd give for it is, "You can't stop globalization, but that's OK, because might makes right." The author tries to argue that the modern incarnation of free-market capitalism is a Good Thing, basically a remix of the old "rising tide that lifts all boats" combined with the pollyannaish implication that it must be good simply because it's happening.

          There were a few good points in there, but all in all I think that deep down inside The Lexus and the Olive Tree there was a clear and concise essay screaming to get out and being smothered by 200 pages of ad-hoc musings that were thrown in as filler.
          • by NDPTAL85 (260093)
            On its own merits and not because its happening, Globalization IS a good thing. Unless of course your one of those folks who prefers whole regions of the earth remain impoverished for some unknown reason.
            • Re:Batshit Insane (Score:4, Informative)

              by Bastian (66383) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @01:23PM (#17224966)
              I should clarify. The book was, more or less, trying to argue that the whole globalization package - not gust the general idea of the world opening up, but all of the details of how it is happening right now - is optimal.

              While pretty much everyone agrees that the general idea of globalization is good, there's still some room for debate over whether the particulars of how its happening are actually benefitting impoverished regions or if it's just forcing them into a "race to the bottom" (and possibly dragging developed and developing nations along for the ride, too). The situation with the garment industry in Cambodia is a current popular conversation topic along this line.

              I guess a (stretched) analogy would be that while it's good to let some fresh air into your house, knocking out the windows with bricks isn't necessarily the best way to do it.
          • by PCM2 (4486)
            There were a few good points in there, but all in all I think that deep down inside The Lexus and the Olive Tree there was a clear and concise essay screaming to get out and being smothered by 200 pages of ad-hoc musings that were thrown in as filler.

            If that was your reaction to The Lexus and the Olive Tree, then for the love of all that is holy, do not read The World is Flat.

      • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @12:22PM (#17224054) Homepage Journal
        Yet, it still doesn't. The book centers around the Lexus -- globalization -- and the olive tree -- tradition. I don't see how the Internet as it is today has anything to do with the collision of the Lexus and the olive tree. In my mind, the Internet is a $70,000 4.7L V8-powered 4WD Lexus LX SUV mowing down the entire olive tree orchard, while the trees scream in protest. Either that it's just a bunch of tubes, I haven't figured out which...

      • The reference only makes sense if you were reading books about globalization in 1999.

        OTOH, if you were still in high school in 1999, the reference might not make sense.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Ed Avis (5917)
      Come back Jon Katz! We miss you!
    • It's actually code language. It means: "I have the documents you requested. Meet me tomorrow night at 20:00 by the statue of Lincoln. Bring some hot chocolate."

    • Matt Taibbi's review of "The World is Flat" by Thomas Freidman [nypress.com]:

      This would be a small thing were it not for the overall pattern. Thomas Friedman does not get these things right even by accident. It's not that he occasionally screws up and fails to make his metaphors and images agree. It's that he always screws it up. He has an anti-ear, and it's absolutely infallible; he is a Joyce or a Flaubert in reverse, incapable of rendering even the smallest details without genius. The difference between Friedman an

      • by doom (14564)
        Yes, thanks much for the pointer to Taibbi reveiw... truly excellent:

        And boy, does it take off. Predictably, Friedman spends the rest of his huge book piling one insane image on top of the other, so that by the end--and I'm not joking here--we are meant to understand that the flat world is a giant ice-cream sundae that is more beef than sizzle, in which everyone can fit his hose into his fire hydrant, and in which most but not all of us are covered with a mostly good special sauce. Moreover, Friedman's b

    • by Dun Malg (230075) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @12:00PM (#17223702) Homepage
      THe orchard-lexus metaphor is one of many literary constructs in its time-honored genre:

      "Is there anything more beautiful than a beautiful, beautiful flamingo, flying across in front of a beautiful sunset? And he's carrying a beautiful rose in his beak, and also he's carrying a very beautiful painting with his feet. And also, you're drunk."
      -- Jack Handey

      "Love is like racing across the frozen tundra on a snowmobile which flips over, trapping you underneath. At night, the ice-weasels come."
      -- Matt Groening

      Unfortunately, I don't think Mr Sterling was trying to be funny.
    • by danpsmith (922127)
      This metaphor is a can of Pringles, and its vigor is enhanced by venomous ducks that flip it daily with a caterpillar that just won't shut up.

      And given these facts, I would like to make my own "final prediction": no one will care.

  • metaphor (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Orp (6583)
    "The bubble-era vision of a Utopian Internet is dented and dirty... The Lexus has collided with the olive tree, and its crumpled hulk spins in a ditch as the orchard smolders."

    Yeah, this stops me on the tracks alright - I'd rather the train run me over than read a book full of this lousy attempt at metaphor.
  • The Lexus has collided with the olive tree, and its crumpled hulk spins in a ditch as the orchard smolders.

    I ruined the internet while driving a chevy, thanks very much.

    To gauge the Net's trajectory, the Pew Internet & American Life Project polled 742 experts for its Future of the Internet II study. ... So I'm well aware that, like a lot of hardworking techies, they tend to be wacky geeks with unfettered imaginations. Throw 'em together in one survey, though, and they bell-curve right out.

    Proof that 742
  • by Giant Ape Skeleton (638834) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @11:08AM (#17222900) Homepage
    That column leaves me with one question for Bruce:

    Who is your meth dealer, and does he make house calls?

  • IMHO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by El Cabri (13930) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @11:13AM (#17222972) Journal
    Wired is an overrated collection of BS. I read it for a while during the bubble extasia, found it was crap, stopped reading it. I picked up an issue (that one with the atheists) a few weeks ago to see if it had matured : in my opinion it has not. People who write for Wired should get out and do something useful.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pubjames (468013)
      Wired is an overrated collection of BS.

      Wired was great once. It went down hill when the internet bubble started to grow and money went to their heads, and then went downhill as it became a catalogue of the latest gadgets to buy and puff-pieces about Hollywood movies. Until about 1996 or 7, it rocked.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by esconsult1 (203878)
        Wired still rocks. Sometimes.

        I find myself traveling around once per month, and its the one zine that you can totally engross yourself if you have no interruptions for an hour or so. Science. Technology. Culture. Totally directed to the geek technorati, and one of the last bastions of the long-form tech article that you'll find anywhere.

        The writing is a little less cocky and in-your-face since the last few months, and that's a good thing. They've started to report more on the subject of the articles instead

    • In the future, "Wired" will not suck.

      I think I still have some early vintage copies from when it first got published in the UK (~1995?). Any takers?

      No, thought not.
    • by Rhys (96510)
      Have you considered that concentrating themselves at wired may be the most useful thing for them to do? Much like the incompetent sysadmin who you'd rather sit in their office and look at porn than try (and fail) to do actual work on important systems.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Dun Malg (230075)

      Wired is an overrated collection of BS. I read it for a while during the bubble extasia, found it was crap, stopped reading it. I picked up an issue (that one with the atheists) a few weeks ago to see if it had matured : in my opinion it has not. People who write for Wired should get out and do something useful.

      Same here. I read it Way Back When, and now (unfortunately) we ended up with a subscription when my wife was forced to chose something as part of subscribing to Salon.com. I tried to read the first issue last night. You can't tell where the ads start and the over-graphic-ized articles begin. There's still too few words, too much "artsy" blank space. The only difference is that now there they have more ads than they used to. It's pretty much all crap. Plus the stink of the ink fumes gave me a headache after

      • by idontgno (624372)

        I dunno. I actually subscribed to it waaay early in its US career. I always found it interesting.

        Sometimes, "horrible gruesome high-speed multivehicle multi-fatality accident" interesting. Sometimes, "huh, that's cool" interesting.

        Kinda like the net.

        Although I'm grateful for the relative immunity to online angry fruit salad [catb.org] I developed by suffering through the "cutting edge" style of Wired.

      • by VENONA (902751)
        But at least some of the cool stuff is available in the archives. I still have a bookmark to Neil Stephenson's Mother Earth Mother Board. http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/4.12/ffglass_pr .html [wired.com]
    • Re:IMHO (Score:5, Insightful)

      by twifosp (532320) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @12:16PM (#17223958)
      People who write for Wired should get out and do something useful.
      What, like post on Slashdot criticizing other people's work, rather than creating something of your own?
      • Damn, and I used up all my mod points yesterday....All I can offer now is my kudos...
      • by freeweed (309734)
        I'd say that in this case, the criticism is far more useful than the object being criticised.

        In essence, the GP *has* created something of their own.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by siegesama (450116)
          seconded. Also, the gp falsely assumes that posting on slashdot and other forms of creativity are mutually exclusive.
    • Wired is an overrated collection of BS.

      If there was a single adjective I'd use to describe Wired, it would be "inconsistent". Because some works of pure genius came out of Wired, too.

      For example, The Transparent Society [wired.com] is perhaps the best, clear, concise description of the privacy issues we face, and has the sharpest resolution picture of the best way to approach it.

      Seriously - this article was prescient when it came out (now almost exactly 10 years ago!) and has altered my opinions about freedom and pri
    • by owlnation (858981)
      I think that perhaps Conde Nast being their parent company has something to do with it. It's all about selling the advertising space. It does have a few good writers though, or did. Bruce was certainly one of the better ones.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @11:17AM (#17223030)
    Thomas Friedman used this visualization in a book I read about 4 years ago on Globalization. Wikipedia it.
  • by PingSpike (947548) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @11:18AM (#17223034)
    Most people do stop in their tracks when they suffer an unstoppable urge to vomit.
    • by Bieeanda (961632)
      For me, it's simple rubbernecking. How the fuck can a successful, published author squeeze out a turd of metaphor that would get a freshman english student hit repeatedly with a rolled up newspaper?
      • John Dolan Reviews "The Lexus and the Olive Tree" by Thomas Freidman [blogspot.com]:

        Friedman doesn't seem to know that cattle herds aren't usually guided by bloodhounds. But the clumsiness of his metaphors is part of his job. He's here to threaten those who seem reluctant to join the herd. Who wants subtlety from a leg-breaker? The cruder the metaphor, the more frightening. Good poets don't make good goons. And Friedman is pure goon, brass-knuckled platitudes all the way. Like a Naked Gun voiceover, he lets his violent

    • I like the over-wrought imagry Sterling produces. Schismatrix is still my favorite work.collection of his.
    • Damn it! You stole my snark. I was going to write exactly that. Ah, well.
  • "Futurists" are full of crap. The Internet is neither a technological panacea nor the beginnings of Skynet; it's just another conduit for human communication. Wired still takes themselves too seriously.

    *yawn*
    • Exactly. He didn't say much at all, or predict anything.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Nasarius (593729)
      Dear God, this article is awful.

      Low-cost connections will proliferate, encouraging creativity, collaboration

      No, really? I could have sworn that's already happening.

      and telecommuting.

      To an extent, maybe. But I know a couple sysadmins who are able to work from home (I refuse to use pointless buzzwords) but choose not to. I just can't see many businesses or employees wanting to do this, except in fringe cases. In-person communication is usually vastly more efficient than electronic communication.

      If

      • >>It will be wrapped in a Chinese kung fu outfit, intoned in an Indian accent, oozing Brazilian sex appeal.

        >What? If this means anything, it escapes me.
        It means the wanker has seen my administrative assistant.
    • ...it's just another conduit for human communication.

      Just like spoken language or the printed word. Don't underestimate the influence of a (IMO) sizable improvement in humanity's ability to communication.
  • English 2.0 (Score:4, Funny)

    by dintech (998802) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @11:27AM (#17223156)
    The bubble-era vision of a Utopian Internet is dented and dirty... The Lexus has collided with the olive tree, and its crumpled hulk spins in a ditch as the orchard smolders.

    I think he's using that new-fangled English 2.0 thingy.
  • If more people wrote like this, more stuff would be worth reading. In the dismal cavern of the internet, vivid style is the only glimmer of hope remaining.
  • by CubeRootOf (849787) <michael_labrecque@student.uml.edu> on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @11:30AM (#17223212)
    This refers to toms friedmans book ' Lexus vs the Olive Tree ' or close, look it up - its a good book.

    Here is the summary:

    The Lexus represents modern life, aka - globalization, the internet, computers etc etc, and our love for these things and conveinces which make our lives better.

    The Olive Tree is our long standing traditions, communities, churches, families, the ties that bind us to each other and to the places we live.

    I have not RTFA, but from the summary, I can see this guy is a good writer... although he does lean somewhat heavily on an informed audience.

    This metaphor is actually pretty good - Our modern culture is clashing with our values, and its not pretty. Video game violence legislation, computure monotiring etc etc, all of the things we rail about on slashdot... the majority of them are a direct result of this clash.

    Read the book, and understand your world better.

    Don't read the book, trash authors because you don't get it, and look like an idiot.
    • by Trespass (225077)
      There's a huge difference between what the values of most cultures are and what they pretend they are. Of course 'The Lexus vs. The Sword' doesn't sound quite right, I suppose. Or at the least wouldn't play to the audience very well.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bastian (66383)
        Of course 'The Lexus vs. The Sword' doesn't sound quite right

        Probably because a pathological obsession with violence isn't the exclusive provice of "olive tree" people.
    • by forkazoo (138186)
      This refers to toms friedmans book ' Lexus vs the Olive Tree ' or close, look it up - its a good book.


      Oh, OK. Thanks. I wasn't familiar with the reference, so when I read the statement, I thought that Mr. sterling had gone bat shit insane. Now it know that it's actually Toms Friedman that's the one who is bat shit insane.
    • by Cyno (85911)
      Our modern culture is clashing with our values

      Modern culture? More like technology and science is clashing with moral values, which are derived from religion and a bit from tradition, but mostly sustained by the media.

      Our technology and understanding of reality, right and wrong, ethics and how they are different than morals, is what is clashing against the old tired traditions of women working in the kitchen and raising the kids and men doing the hard work at the mill. Now we all sit in cubes or have most
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Wicked Zen (1006745)
      While the original metaphor of the Lexus versus the olive tree might have been good, Sterling's reference to it is not. It is common in poor writers reference good work in an effort to make one's own seem better than it is.

      "The Lexus has collided with the olive tree,"

      Fine. He ought to have stopped right there.

      "...and its crumpled hulk spins in a ditch as the orchard smolders."

      Appalling. This Lexus has collided with an olive tree so violently that it has got the orchard (not just the tree) smoldering whil
    • by khallow (566160)
      Aside from the mediocre exploitation of the metaphor, it implies that technology and progress is getting in the way of values rather than the other way around.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by uxo (415276)
      It's a poor metaphor if you can't understand it unless you've read the book. Consider "a rose is a rose": it's a great metaphor, but if you've never read Shakespeare you'd have no idea what is implied by it.

      But you don't have to have read Stephen King's "Pet Sematary" to comprehend "The soil of a man's heart is stonier!"

      I think I'll "understand [my] world better" if I read Milton Friedman (the economist) in lieu of Thomas Friedman (the journalist).
  • by CaffeineAddict2001 (518485) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @11:33AM (#17223252)
    "The bubble-era vision of a Utopian Internet is dented and dirty... The Lexus has collided with the olive tree, and its crumpled hulk spins in a ditch as the orchard smolders..."

    William Gibson and Chuck Palahniuk are saying to themselves: "Oh god, *I* don't sound like that, do I?"

    • And, unfortunately, there are hundreds of other writers who *aren't* asking that, like Annie Proulx, and hundreds more who are *trying* to sound like that. (They should be found, and shot.)

      (I *like* Proulx, by the way...)
  • First he rants about the "futurists" and their visions, but then goes on with:

    Low-cost connections will proliferate, encouraging creativity, collaboration, and telecommuting. The Net itself will recede into the background. If you're under 21, you likely don't care much about any supposed difference between virtual and actual, online and off. That's because the two realms are penetrating each other; Google Earth mingles with Google Maps, and daily life shows up on Flickr. Like the real world, the Net will b

  • All he did was invent the stirling engine... and even then he wasn't smart enough to spell his own name correctly when he named it after himself!
  • translation (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bomb_number_20 (168641) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @11:46AM (#17223476)
    I got it! I got it! Here's my interpretation of his little... interpretation...

    The internet is the olive tree. In the bubble, people thought the internet was going to solve everything- probably even cure cancer. Overall, techies saw it as a great equalizer, bringing 'peace' and 'equality' to the world. Still with me?

    The Lexus is big business, big money and big investments, turning the internet into tv and basically ruining it while squabbling with one another over who gets to 'own' whatever part of things.

    The Lexus colliding with the olive tree is the clash of ideals between how corporations think the internet should be run and, you know, the rest of us.

    He sounds pretty pissed off and worn out to me. I can't say I blame him, though.

    Of course, I didn't even read TFA.
    • As a number of people have pointed out, The Lexus and the Olive Tree refers to a book on globalization by Thomas Friedman. While I actually like your interpretation of Sterling's metaphor, perhaps more than what he actually seemed to mean, it's still wrong.....
      • Yeah- I didn't see any of those until after I had posted.

        I'm actually interested in the book now, though, so I guess it all works out in the end
        • by NiteShaed (315799)
          I figured that, and I really wasn't criticizing you. The mod points just struck me as odd....
  • Isn't a very good metaphor really, most cars do not spontaneously explode on impact so it's not very realistic to suppose the Orchard would set on fire following a near by car accident.
  • So technology changes stuff.

    Yeah, thats deep.

    And more people will write blogs no one will read.

    Thanks for using all those words to say pretty much nothing.

    And that "Lexus/Tree" metaphor is horrible, like it's Maya Angelou bad.
  • by superid (46543) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @12:09PM (#17223854) Homepage
    A bad metaphor is like a leaky screwdriver.

    (shamelessly stolen from someone's /. sig)
  • Come on people (Score:3, Informative)

    by COMON$ (806135) * on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @12:15PM (#17223926) Journal
    Lexus and the Olive tree

    are slashdotters really this lazy?....wait dont answer that.

    Let me introduce you all to a site you may have heard of in passing. Wikipedia, you should check it out sometime. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lexus_and_the_Oli ve_Tree [wikipedia.org]

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by jimmichie (993747)
      are slashdotters really this lazy?....wait dont answer that.
      Too late.

      It's nothing to do with being lazy. It's a case of having to know the answer to know there is even a question. The reference is obscure and many people will not have heard of it, and you can refer people to the source without being a smarmy git.

      I'm new here, aren't I?
      • by COMON$ (806135) *
        Hey, I had never read the book nor had I ever heard of it. However I have read enough allegorical literature to know when someone is referencing. I wouldn't have been a smarmy git (which I definitely was) if posters wouldn't have been jackasses flooding the forum with WTF! posts.
    • are slashdotters really this lazy?....wait dont answer that.

      Nobody would have anyway. =)

      To make my comment a little more worthwhile, it seems as though the submitter chose the worst part of the article to put into the summary. Two metaphors ellipsied together without the content in between? Come on! Here is the original paragraph from the article:

      The bubble-era vision of a utopian Internet is dented and dirty. The Pew respondents seem to agree that personal privacy is a thing of the past, and they're split nearly 50-50 on whether the costs will outweigh the benefits. Technophobic refuseniks are likely to carry out violent resistance, and they may have good reason: Out-of-control technology is a distinct risk. The Lexus has collided with the olive tree, and its crumpled hulk spins in a ditch as the orchard smolders.

      It looks a little more interesting now, doesn't it?

      • by COMON$ (806135) *
        Ya I read TFA before posting. Didn't know the reference but took a short detour over to wiki and checked it out. Came back to the forum to see a flood of crap about the Lexus reference. a little irritated, before my morning coffee and posted the obv.
  • The bubble-era vision of a Utopian Internet is dented and dirty... The Lexus has collided with the olive tree, and its crumpled hulk spins in a ditch as the orchard smolders. . .

    Reminds me why I don't read Sterling. Just because you can string a lot of images together doesn't mean you should string a lot of images together.

  • Warning: too much time in the Balkans can lead to a serious case of dysphoria,... and a fondness for drinking slivovitz too quickly :)

    (no, this isn't off-topic; Bruce Sterling's married to Jasmina Tesanovic, an outstanding "citizen of the ghost republic" [wikipedia.org], aka Serbia, and I believe has spent a fair bit of time over there recently.)

    (Hey, doesn't Slashcode cope with Unicode or non-ASCII charsets? shame!!)

    • Enjoy.

      Top Ten Reasons For Being a Serb [gumbopages.com]
      • Brilliant - thanks. That URL's going to be mailed round to a few friends who I think must have missed it first time round.

        I have a really excellent portrait of Tito on my wall. He's looking at me sideways as I write this... My friend Stoljan did a show under the title "Rex Mundi", with lots of old / dead dictators and autocrats - Milosevic was in there, so was Nixon, but the Tito one was more ambivalent than you might expect from that description.

  • His metaphor is clearly a prediction of war. Olive trees are native to the Mediterranean region, and Lexus is of course Japanese. So it is obvious he believes there will be a war between Japan and various Mediterranean countries, resulting in widespread destruction.

    I'm just not quite sure what that has to do with the internet.

    Dan East
    • It could just be a mishmash written by an overrated writer who is trying too hard.

      Or maybe I should start hoarding extra virgin olive oil.

      And extra virgins.

  • I predict that the internet means the death of the copyright system. It also means the death of the US dollar and the financial system - the games that they play with lying to people about the value of their money are about to come to an ugly end thanks to the information age. The internet also means terrorisim all over the world as cultures everywhere continue to come into unrestricted, unmonitored, and uninhibited information many will lash out at the US and US culture as they experience a culture shock
  • My, what a festering pit of idiocy we have here today. (No wonder I hang around here.)

    I skimmed many a screenful of incoherent ranting before it even dawned on me that the people here might not have heard of Thomas Friedman... don't you guys ever read anything but slashdot discussions? Everyone loves to complain about Thomas Friedman (his latest work pro-globalization cheer-leading being "The World is Flat"). In the circles I hand out in, the fact that he regularly has op-ed articles in the New York Tim

  • He's too much of a writer. Instead of making a point, he makes phrases and allegories.

    I appreciate his sci-fi enormously, but his other writings get old fast.

    Make your point, then shut up.

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