A bunch of phonies like saying they read the New York Times. They think it makes them sound smart. Here's a quick test to measure their Times pedigree. Throw out the name Thomas Friedman and watch their reaction. If you get a blank stare, they're stinking fibbers. If they nod, mention multiple Pulitzers, best-selling books such as The World Is Flat or Beirut to Jerusalem, and throw out big words like profligacy and austerity, then yes, they are legit. Friedman is an institution in print journalism. And if the industry is dying, the Times will be the King who doesn't relinquish his thrown until the reality TV hordes bludgeon him to death with their remote controls. He's the guy who tells much of the country how they should feel about global goings on. But unlike so many talking heads, he actually knows what he's talking about. And Friedman is coming to Temple Israel in downtown Miami where he'll give a talk about that what he knows best. Global politics. Autographed books will be available at both events, though we think they should be giving them away with those covers. Friedman has been doing his thing on the printed page for decades and doesn't look like he'll be stopping anytime soon. As well as his two columns per week for the times, he has written a series of non-fiction books that try to break down what the hell is going on in places like the Middle East. Beirut to Jerusalemis practically a textbook for anybody trying to get a handle on that part of the world. Good luck. He likes to joke that he is considering releasing a second edition of the book, with a one-line introduction--"Nothing has changed." Check out his website or Times columns. And though he has a cushy job, he still flexes his travel and reporting boots often, saying that "If you don't go, you don't know." Same goes for his Miami appearances.
Sun., Jan. 16, 5 p.m., 2011