“When I was in Cairo during the Egyptian uprising, I wanted to change hotels one day to be closer to the action and called the Marriott to see if it had any openings.”
Isn’t your heart already thumping like the only she-camel in a herd of bulls? Because Friedman spends most of his time at his hotel the best way to be “closer to the action” requires re-locating his quarters. And could any base of operations offer the more authentic, gritty experience of the Egyptian street than a Cairo Marriott? A lounge chair at poolside would probably be near enough to the demonstrations, after all.
“The young-sounding Egyptian woman who spoke with me from the reservations department offered me a room and then asked: “Do you have a corporate rate?” I said, “I don’t know. I work for The New York Times.” There was a silence on the phone for a few moments, and then she said: “ Can I ask you something?” Sure. “Are we going to be O.K.? I’m worried.” ”
I made a mental note of that conversation because she sounded like a modern person, the kind of young woman who would have been in Tahrir Square.
Please. How much buffoonish self-parody can one columnist compact into two paragraphs of prose?
- Friedman–connoisseur of Marriotts and 30-year NY Times veteran–has no idea whether he’s entitled to a corporate rate?
- A local asks Friedman, based solely on his employment, whether her country is “going to be O.K.”? Instead of relocating within Cairo, perhaps he should go back to New York City…because New Yorkers know the real deal.
- “She sounded like a modern person”? The Marriott often hires either cave women or time travellers from the Renaissance, so you have to judge the reservation clerk’s modernity by the timbre of her voice?
- Should a typical “modern” woman have been at Tahrir Square? When I look at most photos of the demonstrations, men predominate and the relatively few Egyptian women tend to dress conservatively. Perhaps a wise modern woman would know better than to attend. Ask Lara Logan.
Anyway, this trivial exchange is enough to spark Friedman’s mental propane barbecue, and he’s ready to grill him some chicken nuggets.
Pure hilarity; read the rest here.
Can be appreciated by anyone who’s read a couple of Friedman’s NYT columns or, ug, Hot, Flat and Crowded.