A Call for Equal-Minded Protesting

“The Age of Protest,” by Thomas L. Friedman of The New York Times. Published on January 13, 2016.

Thomas L. Friedman’s latest article, “The Age of Protest (2016),” argues that in the modern day world, the method in which we address issues that touch us has become more severe. Friedman supports his moralistic position through examples of the responses to modern day problems and a neutral tone. The purpose of the article is to reveal an unattractive habit of society to educate his audience on better ways of addressing issues. Judging from the exigency of the article, we can assume that Friedman’s audience is anybody in the general public who is loud about his or her own views.

The article begins as Friedman introduces the exigency of the article in the first paragraph, in which he had discovered that the famed English newspaper, The Guardian, had a “Protest” section. Friedman then reported that one of the articles stated that we “live in an age of protest.” To support this observation, Friedman provides logos through the reactions to recent comments and actions made by two public officials: the Chancellor of Germany (New Year’s Eve Sexual Assault Incidents) and President Obama (SOTU Moment on Gun Control). Friedman explains that there is much protest because of the multitude of problems currently taking place in the world. However, if the target audience is adults, young adults may not understand the references Friedman uses (“Moore’s Laws,” etc.) Finally, Friedman quotes an author who has valid credentials, yet an unknown name, to prove that the “moral outrage,” or acting on issues without fully thinking them through, creates more issues.


Mr. Friedman,

I do believe it is common nowadays for us to stomp over each other’s views. If you need a visual representation, check out the comments section for any type of YouTube video. I recently read an article that described how the founder of CampusPride, a LGBT college search for secondary school students, met with the CEO of Chick-fil-a after he made some anti-LGBT remarks that caused much controversy. However, both men were able to meet and discuss their anxieties face-to-face. What happened was that both of them came out of the conversation with an equal point of view, and the CEO of the fast-food chain tolerant and welcoming. What are ways that we can have sensitive and stable discussions?


4 thoughts on “A Call for Equal-Minded Protesting

  1. It’s interesting because this is somewhat like my thesis topic, which is essentially looking at ways of de-polarizing the political landscape to help pass effective legislation. I really think this is a great message from Friedman, and needs to be taken to heart to make a more cooperative world in this time of some pretty serious tension.


  2. Hey Harrison,
    I found it interesting that Friedman mentioned another newspaper, The Guardian, in his article. Friedman tends to show his credibility through an excessive number of embedded quotes. We can call today the “Age of Protest” due to the superfluous protest articles, but protest has always been present. Protest is a result of differing opinions, therefore, it may never end.


    • Harrison and Amanda,
      You both referred to how Friedman simply uses quotations from another person for about two-thirds of his article. Could he be giving us a message through these quotations – of listening to other voices more and “yelling” less?


  3. Harrison,
    I feel that the audience portion of this analysis is by far the most important. The majority of protests are enacted by younger generations as a method of expression but as Friedman targets the older generations, he seems to be preaching to the choir. His argument is certainly compelling but its affects are most likely minimal.


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