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Comparing and contrasting Rhetoric: Tabbi and Thomas Friedman Essay

With regard to the issue of globalization, there have been a number of metaphors that have been used to describe this important phenomenon (Adams 29-32). Thomas Friedman is probably the most popular and maybe the most authoritative author on globalization, especially with his bestselling book, The world is flat.

Thomas Friedman uses his own life experiences to try and capture the mind of the reader, and direct the reader towards understanding how recent and even past events have led to globalization.

Tabbi disagrees with Thomas Friedman’s use of metaphors, although he does not really disagree with the underlying issues. These two authors while approaching a problem from different points of view, are able to communicate the same message to the reader.

Tabbi, instead of subscribing to the use of cheap metaphors, prefers to look at things from a scientific point of view. In his review of Thomas Friedman’s book, he points out that the metaphors that Thomas Friedman uses, are not only inaccurate and cheap, but also backward.

He points out to the claim that the world is flat, just because it is easier for people to easily interact with each other across the planet, and argues that this is actually contradicting one’s self. This is because a round (spherical) world would be more interconnected than a flat one because on a spherical world, the two furthest points from each other are the closest to each other.

Tabbi faults Thomas Friedman by saying that his use of cheap metaphors is a clear indication of the American tradition and culture of hearsay, where anyone’s words can be believed and his word taken at face value as long as “they say it confidently enough”.

This argument by Tabbi is quite true to some extent. A look into Thomas Friedman’s work does reveal an easy-going way of describing things, and coming up with theories that are not well researched and backed by scientific evidence.

As Tabbi says, it is not enough to take a couple of technological and economic developments that have happened in the past and attribute them to globalization. Thomas Friedman is seen to do this in a very easy-going way, without showing any scientific proof.

Both Tabbi and Thomas Friedman are addressing the same issue, but they disagree not only on the way to discuss this, but also on how globalization arrived here. Tabbi, who doesn’t shy away from using a four-letter word in his literature, argues that Thomas Friedman does not even understand what he says, and actually says that Friedman is only brilliant at being stupid.

The main point of conflict is that Friedman probably writes his literature to reach the layman, who may not have deeper understanding of technological and economical understanding. The question is; does Friedman’s approach of cheap metaphor make his literature more understandable to anyone, let alone the layman?

Maybe yes, but Tabbi would disagree. In fact, he argues that Thomas Friedman goes on in his gloried “foolishness” to come up with a concoction of a mathematical formula to calculate what he (Thomas Friedman) calls the flatteners.

Tabbi argues that Thomas Friedman comes up with a mathematic formula that is neither mathematically or even theoretically correct.

BothTabbi’s and Friedman’s literature and rhetoric have an American streak in them. In Tabbi’s case, the American streak that is present is that he does not shy away from stating the facts. It is not every time that a person writes such a negative article about a person whom he knows personally.

Tabbi, while writing from a spontaneous point of view without having to be too strenuous, also cares to consult with facts in the real world. This can be seen in the way he faults Friedman for talking about flatness, while roundness should be the point (scientifically speaking).

His spontaneity in writing can be seen in his ability to use the everyday language to express his opinions. His article ends with a satirical line, where he reiterates on how Friedman has talked about falling walls and opening windows. He also expresses his grief that such unintelligent literature can be talked about in a book of four hundred and seventy pages, and then asks if God does exist.

Probably, this expression is to mean that God (if he does exist) should be there to protect people from such useless and time wasting things as Friedman’s book. However, all said and done, the important thing to know is that the ultimate court is the court of public opinion.

Also, given that Friedman is America’s most popular columnist and bestselling author, this could mean that he may not be as bad as Tabbi portrays him.

Friedman also minces his literature with an American can-do flavor. Americans have been portrayed as people with a can-do attitude, which is also embedded into the dynamics of the American Dream, which many, if not all Americans chase.

In his literature for instance, Friedman doesn’t really care about hard facts, and his literature chooses to apply the happy-go-lucky way. This is where his views and those of Tabbi part ways, because Tabbi believes that it is unprofessional to present such information in such a way.

The question that remains is, do the two agree on the fact that globalization has changed the world? Of course! However, the two do not agree on the way in which globalization came to happen, the combination of the factors that led to its occurrence, or even how globalization will happen in the future.

Friedman is quick to run to conclusions and make up easy and cheap theories to explain phenomena such as globalization. On the other hand, Tabbi looks deeper into the issue and asks technical and critical questions.

Friedman directs his literature towards capturing the heart of the reader, to fill the reader with a euphoric air that will inflate his or her mind, as he believes that something great called globalization has occurred and that now life is or is about to be very nice and easy.

This use of rhetoric can be very useful in appealing to the reader (William 56-59). Tabbi doesn’t seem to care much about this, because his interest is coming up with a scientifically verifiable theory.

Probably, Friedman’s theory is what is making him a more popular writer, because people and especially Americans, are always very happy and enthusiastic about literature that will make them euphoric and hopeful, even where such hope doesn’t exist.

In the paper criticizing Friedman, Tabbi does point out to this issue and says that the same attitude is what makes Americans to vote political leaders who are able to make very high promises even when all the odds show that the promises are not achievable.

He compares Friedman with former American president, George Bush, in terms of having not just a lack of intelligence, but also having a luck of intelligence in almost a genius way.

Tabbi, even as he uses four-letter words in his literature, does seem to care much more about the facts and how these facts come to be, and how they may interact or fail to interact to lead to perceivable phenomena. This is because he is trying to appeal to the mind of the reader rather than the heart.

Unlike Friedman, he does seem to understand that feel-good literature, especially when this literature is about such important issues such as national and global economic development, must not be discussed in a very casual way in a book to be read by millions of people.

This is because these people may end up being persuaded by this literature that life will be made easier, just because it is easier to go from America to India today and find a Pizza Hut restaurant on the way to a golf course. Friedman on the other hand is probably like his readers.

This is because he is a happy-go-lucky writer, and bases his rhetoric on being able to point to the reader about the changes that have happened, and just how life today is much easier than it was decades ago. Friedman’s rhetoric postulates that since life is much easier today than it was yesterday, it will continue to be better tomorrow, and therefore everyone should be excited and happy.

Tabbi on the other hand seems to realize that there is more to globalization, and faults Friedman for portraying globalization as the ultimate solution to the problems that have faced men in history. They do however merge at a single point, which is the agreement that globalization is causing an impact in the world.

Works Cited

Adams, Kennedy. “Globalisation and Economic development: Where is the World Headed.” Journal of Economic Development 4. 5 (2009): 29-32. Print

William, Peter. “Use of Rhrtoric and Figuretive Language to Take Holf of the Audience.” Journal of Modern Communication 5. 3 (2009): 56-59. Print

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"Comparing and contrasting Rhetoric: Tabbi and Thomas Friedman." IvyPanda, 17 Apr. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/comparing-and-contrasting-rhetoric-tabbi-and-thomas-friedman/.

1. IvyPanda. "Comparing and contrasting Rhetoric: Tabbi and Thomas Friedman." April 17, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/comparing-and-contrasting-rhetoric-tabbi-and-thomas-friedman/.


IvyPanda. "Comparing and contrasting Rhetoric: Tabbi and Thomas Friedman." April 17, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/comparing-and-contrasting-rhetoric-tabbi-and-thomas-friedman/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Comparing and contrasting Rhetoric: Tabbi and Thomas Friedman." April 17, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/comparing-and-contrasting-rhetoric-tabbi-and-thomas-friedman/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Comparing and contrasting Rhetoric: Tabbi and Thomas Friedman'. 17 April.

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