Thursday, November 29, 2007
A Gush Over Fareed Zakaria
Anytime I read anything, and that includes cereal boxes, I always consider how I would reword some of it. I don't think I'm better than everything I read, I just always find passages that I think could have been better. Sometimes it's awkward phrasing, sometimes it's a cliche, and sometimes it's just a crappy paragraph.
The only modern writer that I can read without ever doing that is Fareed Zakaria. He's a Newsweek columnist as well as being Newsweek International's editor. He sometimes pops up elsewhere, but I mainly know him from reading Newsweek. One recent pop up was on The Daily Show, which really freaked me out. Who knew my hero was popular enough to go on The Daily Show?
Fareed Zakaria's writing is so superb and so nuanced that it feels completely effortless. It's like stepping into bathwater that's exactly the right temperature. Nothing in his writing ever feels forced. He uses facts and figures in the perfect places without ever coming across as aggressive or snotty. His complete understanding of what he's writing about shines through. He keeps his own opinions visible, though they aren't the driving force of the work.
He is simply the most amazing columnist I've ever read, and I would so marry him if he asked me. If I met him on the street, didn't know where we would live or whether he snored or smoked cigars, I would still marry him. Is there a Fareed Zakaria fan club? If so, I would welcome wearing a t-shirt with his picture on it and possibly putting a bumper sticker with his head on it on my car.
Here's this week's column, which is entirely flawless: A New French Revolution
Last week's was one of my very favorites, since he talks a little about his own experiences. At first it feels like he's doing it to start off in a conversational tone or to use a holiday reference to start the column out slowly. But after reading it a couple of times, it looks like he uses his personal experiences to establish himself as a outsider (born outside the U.S.) who understands the immigrant experience, but also as an insider who loves America and is therefore free to criticize it. Move over, Mark Antony.