Thomas Friedman is a national treasure

Seriously. Even in dark times such as these, he can always bring a smile to my face. Take the opening paragraphs of this morning’s column, for instance:

My friend Rob Watson, the head of EcoTech International, has a saying about Mother Nature that goes like this: “Mother Nature is just chemistry, biology and physics. That’s all she is.” And because of that, says Rob, you cannot spin Mother Nature. You cannot bribe Mother Nature. You cannot sweet talk her, and you cannot ignore her. She’s going to do with the climate whatever chemistry, biology and physics dictate. And Mother Nature always bats last, and she always bats a thousand.

There is a parallel with markets. At their core, markets are propelled by fear and greed. They’re just the balance at any given moment of those two impulses. Over the long run, you cannot spin the market. You cannot sweet talk it into going up or beg it not to go down. It’s going to do whatever it’s going to do — whichever way greed and fear tug it. And the market always bats last and it always bats a thousand.

Yes, of course! The immutable laws of physics and the irrational emotions of human beings are exactly the same — and equally impervious to “spin” and “sweet talk”!

It takes a special kind of genius to come up with similes like that. Thomas Friedman may well be to the art of column writing what Edward Wood Jr. was to the art of moviemaking.