The Thomas Friedman Op-Ed Generator

Man, this is something that could and should have been done a long time ago: The Thomas Friedman Op-Ed Generator. Friedman is a first-class hack whose columns are little more than a pretty arrangements of words that add up to something so trite and obvious that you can’t believe you even bothered to read it.

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  • slc1

    Of course, compared to hacks like Charles Krauthammer, Friedman is an intellect of monumental proportions.

  • A Hermit

    But will Friedman start using this himself to generate columns? The cab driver I spoke to on the ride from the airport suggested that the next six months will be critical in answering this question…

  • Reginald Selkirk

    But will Friedman start using this himself to generate columns?

    Maybe he does already. Who would know?

  • A Hermit

    LMAO…this was perfect…

    “…capitalism is an extraordinarily powerful idea: If authoritarianism is Malawi’s curtain rod, then capitalism is certainly its flowerpot.”

    Classic Friedman…

  • iangould

    I object to your description of Freidman’s columns, specifically to the use of the word “pretty”.

  • Doc Bill

    I think that was a typo. Ed meant to write “petty arrangement of words.”

    I just generated an OpEd on health insurance that was fantastic Freidman!

    Recently, I was irritated enough with one of his columns that I trekked to his website to express my disgust, not that he would give a rat’s ass. Basically, he wrote a reasonably (for him) well-thought out column then in the last sentence completely reversed his thesis. It was a stupid throwaway line that had no place in what he wrote.

    Anyway, now he doesn’t even need to work. He can click a button, copy, paste, email and collect a check. Sweet work if you can get it!

  • marcus

    He was just in my bookstore yesterday (comes in a lot, Aspen ya’ know). If he comes in today I’ll be sure to point out this column to him. 🙂

  • A Hermit wrote:

    The cab driver I spoke to on the ride from the airport suggested that the next six months will be critical in answering this question…

    You are hereby awarded one internet. Brilliant.

  • The really funny thing is that it is not generating anything: it is just bringing in columns that Friedman actually wrote.

    I think. I mean, how could anyone tell?

  • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    . . . little more than a pretty arrangements of words . . .

    Can you give us any examples of Friedman’s word-arranging that strike you as pretty? Because I’m just not seeing it.

  • crayzz

    I’m actually interested in the code they use to generate this. The programmers have managed to produce a program that imitates human prose. Shitty prose, but still.

  • vmanis1

    I spent a few minutes on it the other day. It looked to me like a pretty straightforward Mad Lib generator (`If ___ is ___’s __, then ____ is its ____’), stocked with templates taken from a bunch of Friedman’s columns.

    A friend of mine once wrote a 1-page program that got 17/20 on the British Columbia written driver’s licence test of the time. (The test was a random selection of questions from a test bank of a couple hundred questions written by some faceless bureacrat of long ago, with syntactic cues to the answer, such as, `if the question begins with MUST YOU, the answer is YES’.) The passing grade was 16/20, though I don’t know if the program ever did a road test. My friend was very amused when I told him that the person ahead of me when I wrote the exam had failed it. It takes a special kind of stupidity to be less intelligent than a one-page program.

  • You don’t like Thomas Friedman?

    Huh, I guess you do have a redeemable quality! 😉

    …and we have something in common. I don’t like him either.

  • Not only that… Have you seen that guys house?!?!!

    His House

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  • slc1

    Re Patrick @ #14

    At one time, his wife’ family was worth 4 billion dollars, although their wealth ad declined precipitously of late. However, they still aren’t paupers.

  • dingojack

    Now if someone mated Thomas Friedman Op-Ed Generator with the Deepak Chopra Quote Generator….

    Dingo

  • Dude, you need to understand that Thomas Friedman is not a billiard ball, and any attempts to treat him like one are a waste of time. Billiard balls do not change their number or position on the table when you click on a link. He may be a migratory bird though…

  • dingojack: EEWWW, you’re a pervert!

  • Re: #15 @ slc1

    Yeah, I am inclined to believe that, with a house of that sort.

    I don’t fault a man for his success or money. I fault him for being an idiot.