Because pointing out that Thomas Friedman is vaguely racist (in a neo-colonial way) idiot whose grasp of current economic and socio-political realities is on par with a chimpanzee who has been locked in a room with a March 3, 1971 edition of Time Magazine.
I’m not convinced by the author positing Norman Mailer as a great public intellectual (though, the author is very upfront about Mailer’s deep flaws), but it’s something I think about a lot. The idea of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert deliberately shrugging off the possibility of becoming ‘public intellectuals’ is interesting (and not something I would have thought of), but the point about Paul Krugman drills down to the real issue. Sort of. It’s not just that Krugman’s writing is typically specialized (I wish he would write more deeply about science fiction, apparently, one of his great affections). It’s that the ideal of the generalist is nearly impossible to attain. I read many years an essay where the author wrote that Goethe was the last Renaissance man (in the sense of being able to write and study and theorize as an expert in an incredibly wide range of human knowledge). He was not only a great poet, but one of the greatest novelists of all time. He was a scientist, who wrote innovative papers on meteorology. Too much is out there and available to humanity for someone to realistically be sufficiently well versed in a wide variety of intellectual fields (particularly the sciences) to contribute to a wide variety of fields.
Ooohhh… a new bookstore has opened up in Frederick, Maryland. Not so far away, or not so far away from my work. But otherwise, this is your standard (and, thankfully, accurate so far as I know) story about how indie bookstores are making a comeback.