This time credit for starting this goes to Joshua Keating, who posted this at Foreign Policy: "When the Young Women of Egypt Need Advice, They Turn to Tom Friedman." He noted this passage in Friedman's column this past Sunday:
I had just finished a panel discussion on Turkey and the Arab Spring at a regional conference here, and, as I was leaving, a young Egyptian woman approached me. “Mr. Friedman, could I ask you a question? Who should I vote for?”and it reminded him of this, from April 2011:
When I was in Cairo during the Egyptian uprising, I wanted to change hotels one day to be closer to the action and called the Marriott to see if it had any openings. The young-sounding Egyptian woman who spoke with me from the reservations department offered me a room and then asked: “Do you have a corporate rate?” I said, “I don’t know. I work for The New York Times.” There was a silence on the phone for a few moments, and then she said: “ Can I ask you something?” Sure. “Are we going to be O.K.? I’m worried.”As Keating notes, "Is Friedman just being constantly accosted by anxious young Egyptian women seeking his sage advice about the future of their country? Isn't there anyone else they could talk to?"
Perhaps the usual taxi drivers haven't been talkative enough lately. Anyway, in the age of social media, this did not stop with Keating. Now there's a Tumblr: "Mr. Friedman, Could I Ask You a Question?" Among the (illlustrated) entries: " Mr Friedman, what’s the fastest way to get from Tajrish to Narmak if the Resalat Expressway is backed up?" and "Mr. Friedman, how much saffron should I use in my zereshk polow?" (These would, however, suggest that it isn't just Egyptian women who have need of Friedman's advice.)
Read, and contribute if the spirit moves.