Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fareed Zakaria gets the Taibbi treatment

...Any writer who doesn’t admire what this guy does is probably not being honest with himself, because being the public face of conventional wisdom is an extremely difficult job — and as a man of letters Zakaria routinely succeeds, or pseudo-succeeds, at the most seemingly impossible literary tasks, making the sensational seem dull and the outrageous commonplace, rendering horrifying absolutes ambigious and full of gray areas. Wheras most writers grow up dreaming of using their talents to stir up the passions, to inflame and amuse and inspire, Zakaria shoots for the opposite effect, taking controversial and explosive topics and trying to help rattled readers somehow navigate their way through them to yawns, lower heart rates and states of benign unconcern. He’s back at it again with a new piece about the financial crisis called “The Capitalist Manifesto,” which is one of the first serious attempts at restoring the battered image of global capitalism in the mainstream press.

There's a lot more here [BTW, here's Zakaria's piece, The Capitalist Manifesto].

I became a fan of Matt Taibbi when I read his tear down review The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman. [Update: Speaking of Friedman, I have to link to two pieces; the first is this McSweeney's classic by Michael Ward: Create Your Own Thomas Friedman Column; the second is about Friedman's metaphors]. I wish I could get more of Taibbi's stuff, but almost all of his writing is about US politics (and there's only so much of it you can follow).

Taibbi's latest article about Goldman Sachs appeared in Rolling Stone; a scan is available here. Here's how the article begins:

The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it's everywhere. The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money. ...


  1. gaddeswarup said...

    on my aging computer, it was easier to connect to his blog:
    than the first link you gave.

  2. Rahul Siddharthan said...

    More fun at Friedman's expense

  3. Yayaver said...

    Aticle by Taibb was an eye opener. Thanks for that.

  4. Anonymous said...

    After listening to this round-table conference where one of the participants is Friedman I don't think I have a very high opinion of him (i have still not read his book). Friedman and Zakaria both belong to the same category of "intellectual" talking heads which Americans relish I suppose.

  5. Anonymous said...

    Friedman's correct treatment is 24x7 slapping, but sadly no one would agree to first extricate his head out of its usual parking place and thus get their hands dirty.