Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Thomas L. Friedman

was driving home in my Lexus the other day and typing in my BlackBerry at the same time when I hit an OakTree inexplicably. In Life 2.0, impossible is nothing, and the first sign of the new way is an OakTree suddenly spurting up in your private highway along the country road. “My God,” I thought, “the world is a food chain where the weak perish!”

It was then that I realized all power came from the Sun. As I stumbled from my car to a roadside saloon a PowerPoint graph slid into my head of what organisms need to do to achieve PhotoSynthesis. I call them the PhotoSynthesis Superchargers:

  1. Be a living organism: Sitting on the fence between “dead” and “not dead” won’t cut it any more.
  2. Maximize your access to carbon dioxide and water investment.
  3. Be willing to absorb solar energy and change.

In the post 9/11-world, there are what I call Plants and Animals. Animals can’t make Glucose and Oxygen from the Sun. But a Plant can. I was thinking about this as I ordered a drink from the bar, when I ran—literally—into German finance minister Peer Steinbrück. Mr. Steinbrück demanded an apology.

“It doesn’t look like the Thai baht is going to recover any time soon,” I said, slamming the business end of my Zima bottle into his head.

Now, I’ve talked smack to punk candyasses in cities from Beirut to Bangor. If anyone knows how to pity fools, it’s me, and I’m here to tell you the rules are the same everywhere. Anyone who wants their bond ranking set to “badass” has to play the game. It means more and more countries are going to have to adjust to having a clear drink spilled on them.

But the older parts of the world aren’t on the Globalization Playlist, and don’t like this a bit. These cultures live in a realm we’ll term the Apologization Sphere. After the Berlin Wall fell, everything became different. I call the phenomenon that follows such a change a Kick to the Balls.

But the older parts of the world aren’t on the Globalization Playlist, and don’t like this a bit. These cultures live in a realm we’ll term the Apologization Sphere. The question to ask in 2009 is, does your market deliver a Kick in the Balls?

The question to ask in 2009 is, does your market deliver a Kick in the Balls? If it doesn’t, you’ll need to get shoes. And the only way to make shoes is a ladder—the Enslavement Ladder, I’d name it. China has made the Platinum Quantum Leap to Chattel.com, but not every country will.

Example: As I began to stomp Mr. Steinbrück using my Nike CrossTrainers, and he began weeping and praying to a God who wasn’t there, I thought of what World Bank President Rob Zoellick had said to me last week: “Tom, it’s not a walled world anymore! Countries and corporations alike have got to bleed the edge faster! All praise glorious Mammon of the thousand mouths!”

As the man thudding under my feet began to spurt out the red juice of life, I realized how right Zoellick was. It’s not enough to merely keep pace. You have to shoot energy bolts from your sword, like Link in the Nintendo video game “The Legend of Zelda.” Simply slashing as far as you can reach with your wooden sword won’t cut it anymore. The big bosses at the end of each Dungeon won’t sit for that.

But you can’t shoot your sword with power if your hearts aren’t filled all the way up, unless you did a whole lot of PCP at the New York Times Company’s men’s washroom before taking a drive.

Cranking up “Street Fighting Man” by the Rolling Stones on my U2 commemorative iPod, I began to imagine what kind of letter I’d write to this guy’s parents after I had made their darling boy into a crying

“Mr. And Mrs. Steinbrück,

“In the Cold War World, Tom Friedman got his ass handed to him on a regular basis, because everyone knew what kind of globe it was; namely, divided. There were dock workers, to whom Tom Friedman made glib reply, and Tom Friedman and Tom Friedman’s friends, who were living in McMansions and checking their stock options on Kaypros.

“But in this modern age, everything old is new again. The good thing is, nation-states and empowered individuals can use wired tech and intercontinental shipping to even The Balance.

“Now, at home, I have a 1988 5.45 mm karabinek wz. 88. But that won’t cut it in today’s world, where you need to send your foeman to Moloch’s furnace in a hurry. So now, for example, I can use my iPhone to call a whole bunch of my crew from uptown, or unload the Swedish Intratec TEC-9 that I keep in my doom-wagon for such occasions.”

The next six months, I mean, six minutes, will tell what this beer-sotted mêlée of chair-leg and fist will bring.

Jason Rhode is from Lubbock, Texas, and writes for The Lawton Constitution in Lawton, Oklahoma. He has been published by Y.P.R., McSweeney’s, The Comics Journal, Eyeshot, Metaphilm, Monkeybicycle, Radio Free Metropolis, Colin Morse, Fipi Lele, and has been known to occasionally blog at Crimealley.com. He’s not a Republic serial villain, and would seriously not explain his masterstroke if there remained the slightest chance of you affecting its outcome.

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