Outstanding responses to yesterday's "Synthesize Tom Friedman" challenge. I feel like the washed-up, aging teacher who takes on a class of initially-bored prep school students who over the course of a semester surprise the old man with their incredible passion for the material – basically I'm Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society, only without the depressing Robert-Sean-Leonard-kills-himself ending. I also feel like doing that thing tennis players do after matches, when they walk off the court and applaud the crowd by clapping a hand and a racket together. (With that gratefully serious expression that says, "No, no, you don't clap for me – I clap for you!"). Or maybe I just feel like playing tennis with Robin Williams. It's so hard to know – it all gets so mixed up after a while.
Which brings me to Friedman. There were so many excellent entries in yesterday's contest, which asked readers to boil down Friedman's metaphor-jammed column on Syria (which described our Iraq invasion as the U.S diving on a grenade we ourselves exploded, by pulling out the pin of Saddam Hussein) to a single paragraph, that I couldn't narrow it down to just one winner. So in the end, there will be four winners, each receiving a hand-grenade paperweight trophy.
Even narrowing it down to four was a tough task. Some comments weren't real entries but just riffs, but they were on the mark; they won't get a grenade, but they deserve mention. For instance, "westcoast" wrote:
Op/Ed Copy desk: "Hey, Kristof missed deadline, what should we do?" Keller: "Do a word-cloud of Friedman Middle East columns."
I doubt that's what took place, but it something like that did happen, we'd have a hard time knowing the difference. Then there was Grione45's deadly-accurate Fargo reference:
To quote Stan Grossman of Fargo fame ... "You're sayin'... What're you sayin"?
We had not one, not two, but three haikus submitted.