Tuesday, 6 September 2011

If 'Talent Borrows' and 'Genius Steals', can Someone Please Explain Johann Hari?

Ach well, people reap what they sow sometimes...

Serial copy/paste specialist of juicy quotes in 'interviews' and trasher of multiple Wikipedia entries, Hari has apparently fessed up on all counts to editor Andreas Whittam Smith, citing a serious case of depression.

Unlike some alleged journalists, we do acknowledge external sources, so muchos kudos to Guido and his crew for being the first to break the story - http://order-order.com/2011/09/05/hari-confesses-blames-depression/.

Only Johann himself honestly knows whether he is/was truly depressed or not - the timing of this revelation strikes as somewhat convenient, to put it mildly. However, something of which this bunny is pretty certain is that life may be about to get a whole lot more difficult for the (ex?) Indie scribe minus the personal column in a National newspaper that came to him at the tender age of 23, a (well-earned or otherwise) reputation as the future of leftist writing in Britain and the Orwell Prize that was awarded to him in 2008 for outstanding, er...'journalism'.

Later in the week, I'll be doing a piece that touches on instances of individuals who disappear into Walter Mitty territory, attempting to perform roles and build careers in areas of expertise where they are clearly incapable. It would perhaps be unfair to label Hari as an absolute dud in this sense, but his was a case where ambition clearly exceeded natural ability. Even taking political bias out of the equation, not once was I genuinely taken in by his writing, even if it was only to make me ponder exactly why I disagreed with it. I'd be interested in hearing if any of our readers felt differently.

Like his mate Laurie Penny, Johann was simply an average student debater who got lucky (there are even tales of him fabricating the odd 'news story' in the college paper back at Cambridge). Watching or listening to either offer their 'expert' opinion was and may remain utterly cringeworthy and it's at best ironic that in the week that Hari's House of Cards collapsed, PennyRed shot to number one in the Wikio listings after producing an inaccurate and childish justification of the riots/looting/shopping with violence, that Al Jazeera picked up on. A few foolish teenagers may still see her as something to aspire to, but I've every faith most of them will grow out of it.

The moral of the Johann Hari story? The 'years of irrelevance' at the start of a person's career are where they hone their craft in any walk of life. Better to make schoolboy errors in smaller and less hostile seas than be thrown in at the deep end minus any notion of how to conquer the waves. Hari never had his years of irrelevance, never honed his craft and was ultimately bereft of the skill to tease pertinent quotes out of his interview subject. The equation of ambition - ability = misery brings the individual to another choice:- accept your limitations or cut a few corners in order to get on. The rest, it seems, is history.

On that note, here are a couple of musical tributes in honour of a PC propagandist's fall from grace - 'Too Much, Too Young' by the Specials and 'Cemetry Gates', The Smiths' ode to the subject of plagarism. Take care and I'll catch you tomorrow.



1 comment:

  1. It was bad enough reading his leftist bollocks when I thought they were his words. Now I find out it was somebody elses toss. How depressing. Labour party central office no doubt have a place for him to continue his propaganda.