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    Sunday, September 10, 2006

    Power of Friendship: There's a great discussion going on over at Asymmetrical Information on the politics of envy. It's a multi-post, ongoing meme that won't die. But over at the The Corner, Jonah Goldberg enters the argument by pointing out another non-monetary advantage, which, more than beauty, can influence fame and fortune - friendship:

    Friendship corrupts far, far more than money does. Always has, always will. If I offered the editor of The New York Times $10,000 to let me write an op-ed on anything I wanted, he'd laugh in my face, his integrity impugned. If I happened to be an old college buddy of his, that'd change everything. If I made the mistakes Doris Kearns Goodwin has made, I'd never get on Meet the Press (not like that's happening any time soon anyway). But because Goodwin is buddies with Russert, she's on all the time. Meanwhile, it's inconceivable that I could buy my way onto the show. Examples of this are endless and obvious. An incompetent employee would have hard time bribing his boss to keep him on the job. An incompetent employee who's the boss's poker buddy has got serious job security. Senators support colleagues not so much out of mutual enrichment but out of loyalty to the buddy system.

    This is something that people understand at every level. When I send a patient to specialist, and they end up having an unsatisfactory experience, one of the most common accusations I hear afterward was that I sent them to "my friend," as in, "I don't want to insult your friend, but...." Sometimes, they say it before they've even seen the specialist - "Oh, OK. I'll go see your friend," as if I'm sending them not because I think they need to see the specialist, but because I want to help out a friend. (For the record, I dont socialize enough with my fellow physicians to count any of them among my friends.)

    I've always assumed that the bad press the Bush Administration gets is because they have few friends among the press corps, that they don't attend the right parties and cultivate the right people. I remember the same sort of thing with the Clinton's when they first arrived in Washington. The press wasn't so good to them, even sometimes labelling them as "outsiders." But they were clever enough to hire a lot of insiders to improve their standing and their press. It's a lot harder to be snide and nasty to someone you see every weekend on the cocktail and dinner party circuit.

    posted by Sydney on 9/10/2006 08:37:00 AM 1 comments


    There's an old jewish saying that better a corner of the roof in piece than riches with a nagging wife. I'm always grateful for what I have because it comes without debt or any attached strings. You can't put a pricetag on the peace and quiet I wake up to every day.

    By Anonymous Dara, at 4:10 PM  

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