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Tired of your miserable, dead end job? Wish you had something a little more glamorous? Well, we at The Blotter are here to help. Have you considered a job as a foreign affairs columnist for the op-ed page of the New York Times?

For longer than I care to remember, Thomas Friedman has traveled the world, accompanied only by his trusty moustache and a bag of cliches, making pronouncements from on high about why the world is flat. Now, thanks to two easy to learn tricks, you too can write the sort of drivel that gets Friedman the big bucks and guarantees him talking-head time on TV. And the best part is you don't even need the moustache, just the cliches.

First, over at McSweeney's Michael Ward has created a do-it-yourself kit for a Friedman column. Just select from options offered, plug your choice in the blank, and you can mad-lib your way into column indistinguishable from the original. Impress your friends with your knowledge of "Disorder and Dreams in [country in the news]". Just like with a real Friedman column, one size fits all. True, Ward's diy column is from 2004, but the great thing about Friedman is he never really changes.

And for our lazier readers– you know who you are– there's an even simpler way to attain Friedman-esque gravitas. Whenever anyone mentions the ongoing slaughter in Iraq to you, nod thoughtfully and tell them that the next six months are going to determine what the final outcome will be. That's all you have to say to sound like the man the nation's Newspaper of Record pays to opine on international affairs. Don't believe me? Check out this new report from FAIR, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting. Friedman's used that "next six months" line at least 14 times since November 2003 (which you'll note is two and a half years ago, or five six months ago). He's used that line in his Times column. He's used it on CNN. He's used it on NPR. He's even used on Oprah, for Christ's sake. Now, you can use it, too, and sound just as intelligent as Friedman (no moustache required).


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