Today the Demon shifts his attention from the world of fiction to nonfiction in order to lampoon a popular book by Thomas Friedman, The World is Flat...
This book, which has been a popular business read, begins well enough with a first chapter entitled, “While I Was Snacking.” The author, Mr. Freedme, discusses his experience sitting on a couch, his coffee table littered with debris from McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Starbucks, Taco Bell and Baskin-Robbins. At that particular moment, he happens to be watching the world championships of Sumo wrestling when, lo and behemoth, Torsten Scheibler, a 440-pound wrestler from Germany captures a gold medal.
Initially Mr. Feedme’s observations are lucid, acute and scintillating. He asks provocative questions about globalization, the retail economy and vividly paints parallel trends in international sports and the fast food industry as a metaphor for more broad-reaching sea changes. He astutely explores how a sport such as Sumo, whose very essence is Japanese, has become become embraced internationally, attracting both fans and athletes from around the world.
From there, the book’s promising beginning is utterly obliterated as Feedme launches into a bloated and turgid premise that gives rises to a series of distended chapters entitled, “Ten Forces that Fattened the World.” The author have may begun with the belief that the Sumo wrestlers he saw on the TV screen that day, alongside with fast food debris on his coffee table, could be woven into a coherent set of ideas. Alas, Feedme's intellectual drawbacks become abundantly evident as one peruses the chapter titles for each of the Fatteners:
- Fattener #1. 4/19/75 – Double-Stuff Oreo’s introduced
- Fattener #2. 11/8/87 – First online menu appears
- Fattener #3. The blueprint is drawn for a Starbucks within a Starbucks
- Fattener #4: Weird Al releases his music video, Fat.
- Fattener #5. The Jenny Craig Heresy
- Fattener #6. The Global Calorie
- Fattener #7. The Cooking Channel in High Definition
- Fattener #8. Ingesting, inhaling, insourcing and indigestion
- Fattener #9. Boink: Eating without thinking
- Fattener #10. Atlas bulks up on steroids so he can shrug more easily
This is a book filled with cute inanities and readers are more likely to find intellectual substance in an assortment of Twinkies and Devil Dogs.