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Times Op-Ed Columnist to Take Bus

“TAXI!” Friedman

On a recent trip to Paris, New York Times op-ed columnist (and secret moneybags) Thomas L. Friedman had an unsettling encounter with a Bluetooth-wearing, DVD-watching cab driver:

After I arrived at my hotel, I reflected on our trip: The driver and I had been together for an hour, and between the two of us we had been doing six different things. He was driving, talking on his phone and watching a video. I was riding, working on my laptop and listening to my iPod.

Hearing the story, Friedman’s friend, French journalist Alain Frachon, told him, “I guess the era of foreign correspondents quoting taxi drivers is over. The taxi driver is now too busy to give you a quote!”

Frachon’s exclamation point prompted Friedman to reflect: “Alain is right. You know the old story, ‘As my Parisian taxi driver said to me about the French elections …’ Well, you can forget about reading columns starting that way anymore. My driver was too busy to say hello, let alone opine on politics.”

Friedman has reason to be wistful. He’ll be hard hit by the loss of this journalistic trope, as a quick jaunt through Nexis reveals: