Monday, April 10, 2006

So I talked to Thomas Friedman today. He was at Williams giving a talk to a packed Chapin Hall entitled "the World is Flat: some Second Thoughts." Rumor has it that his younger daughter just got into Williams and his talk was a little token of appreciation for President Schapiro. I was told that all the seats were full and I could watch everything via telecast in Brooks Rogers recital hall, so I snuck in the side door of Chapin with a friend. Sometimes working in the music department has hidden benefits, like knowing your way around these big lectures. Anyway, here's what happened when I went up to the mic after Friedman's surprisingly fun talk.

Me: hi. (loses train of thought for a few seconds)
TF: hi.
Me: (gets it back) I was thinking about what you said, about how we're funding both sides in the war on terror. Well, couldn't you say the exact same thing about the war on drugs? Here we are spending billions to destroy plants, and at the same time we're making those plants worth billions by banning them.
TF: Yeah. No, I agree. I don't really have anything to add... I don't know much about the war on drugs, but from everything I've heard, you're exactly right.
Me: thanks.
Old people in audience: (tepid applause)

Man, I felt like a million bucks. The big shot columnist who packed in half the town not only agreed with me, he actually deferred to my analysis. He also ended his speech with "Green is the future, Green is the new red, white and blue," probably unaware that some of us were about to head out to a Green Party meeting. Sure, his analysis still completely ignores the downside of neoliberal globalization, but I can't help respecting Thomas Friedman a little more after being respected by him.

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