Sunday, September 20, 2009

Does Thomas L. Friedman Like Rhetorical Questions? Does A Bear Shit In The Woods? We Repeat, Does A Bear Shit In The Woods?

Fourteen rhetorical questions from today's Thomas L. Friedman op-ed column, "Real Men Tax Gas."

1. Do we owe the French and other Europeans a second look when it comes to their willingness to exercise power in today’s world?
2. Was it really fair for some to call the French and other Europeans “cheese-eating surrender monkeys?”
3. Is it time to restore the French in “French fries” at the Congressional dining room, and stop calling them “Freedom Fries?”
4. Why do I ask these profound questions?
5. Do we send more forces to Afghanistan, and are we ready to do what it takes to “win” there?
6. But are we really that tough?
7. How so?
8. How about Denmark?
9. Today?
10. Why?
11. And us?
12. So I repeat, who is the real tough guy here?
13. But sending your neighbor’s son or daughter to risk their lives in Afghanistan?
14. So, I ask yet again: Who are the real cheese-eating surrender monkeys in this picture?


Anonymous said...

1) Was The NYTPicker Unfair To Dan Barry On His Column About The Homeless Man Who Turned Out To Be A Child Rapist?

2) Did Stephen Farrell Ignore Official Warnings On Reporting Trip's Dangers? British Paper Reports Military Anger At Farrell Over Deaths.

3) Does NYT correspondent Stephen Farrell bear some responsibility for the deaths of his interpreter and a British soldier in the raid that freed him from captivity this week?


Okay, you don't have the same questions per 650 words, but shouldn't those who throw stones check to see if their house is made of glass?


Rhetorical questions in headlines are a common and widely-accepted device. For example, from the last few issues of the NYT Magazine:

"Are Your Friends Making You Fat?"

"Does Ibuprofen Help Or Hurt During Exercise?"

"How Did Economists Get It So Wrong?"

"What Sort of Exercise Can Make You Smarter?"

"Is There A Right Way To Pray?"

We didn't write about those because, like the NYT, we sometimes consider the rhetorical question an effective way to raise a point. In moderation, it works.

Anonymous said...

Does holding up the NYT Magazine as an example of good journalistic style make readers laugh even before the punchline?

thereyago said...


You nailed what was so damned annoying about this article. It is infuriating that he doesn't have comments on his article. I actually searched to find somewhere to talk about how dumb this article was and I couldn't figure out why. Your post nailed why. Good work!

Tyrone said...

This Friedman guy is probably the worlds biggest chode. With all due respect, he's breaking my douche-meter.

Markie Moo said...

Friedman makes old scribe Abe "I"m writing as bad as I can" Rosenthal read like Shakespeare. Larding up his column with rhetorical fat is hardly his worst offense. Keep the criticism coming.