Here Is A Paragraph Thomas Friedman Wrote About Kevin Costner And Golf That Will Save The Obama Administration, Apparently
I'm tardy to the party, but via Balloon Juice, this is something Thomas Friedman actually wrote and managed to get published:
Meanwhile, Mr. President, on a rainy day, rent the movie "Tin Cup." There is a great scene where Dr. Molly Griswold is trying to help Roy "Tin Cup" McAvoy, the golf pro, rediscover his swing -- and himself. She finally tells him: "Roy ... don't try to be cool or smooth or whatever; just be honest and take a risk. And you know what, whatever happens, if you act from the heart, you can't make a mistake."
Yes, that's right. At a time when millions of Americans lack employment and the economy appears to be heading back into a period of prolonged dry-heaving, one of Thomas Friedman's prescriptives for America is for President Barack Obama to watch -- nay, do a deep scene study of -- a 1996 Kevin Costner movie.
Of course, this is actually one of the least objectionable paragraphs in the New York Times piece. Let me try to sum it up for you. Friedman says that Obama needs to get very serious about his golf game, to the point where he is gambling. If he does this, he will magically become more effective at
winning the heart of Rene Russo "Grand Bargaining" with the Republicans. Because, as Friedman well knows, the American people desperately want jobs "$3 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade and $1 trillion in tax increases." They want to "cheer" for the president and this plan. But Obama didn't do enough to explain his plan (gambling at golf makes you better at "explaining," apparently), and absent these exquisite explanations, the American people could not "generate enough public pressure" on John Boehner and the House GOP to become -- as if by magic! -- "sane Republicans" who would accept the terms of the "Grand Bargain."
Yes, somehow the problem with this Grand Bargain isn't that one side of the bargaining table is utterly intransigent, it's that the guy who's done all the sacrificing and compromising hasn't yet cracked the secret code that unleashes the other side's "sanity."
Anyway, it's a galling mess, this column. And as I've said before about Friedman's work, it would be much improved with a healthy dose of eroticism. Think about what golf lends to the erotic genre: holes, wood, iron, doglegs, sand traps, approach shots, roughs, coming over the top (or, if you prefer, "out-to-in blow"), the back nine, stroke play. This is a very fervid setting for some literary carnality.
I mean, Thomas Friedman includes this sentence:
He's Tiger Woods -- a natural who's lost his swing. He has so many different swing thoughts in his head, so many people whispering in his ear about what the polls say and how he needs to position himself to get re-elected, that he has lost all his natural instincts for the game.
Tiger Woods? People whispering in other people's ears? A head full of "swing thoughts"? At the very least, it's like Friedman is trying to meet me halfway on this.