Sunday, September 18, 2011

Harigate- Part 3 of 3- Hopefully The Last Time Johann Hari Gets Mentioned Here

All of Hari's sins seem to derive from severe narcissism. This is fairly obvious in the case of his David Rose sock puppet where he writes things like this about himself:
'The only bully here is you, who is trying to insert false smears into an entry about an honest journalist who risks his life to report on human rights abuses and who has been given awards for his "courage" by Amnesty International, just because you think he is "self-publicising" and "a careerist".'
It also seems to like all his other failings- plagiarism, inventive reporting, blocking critics on Twitter, appearing as a talking head on any TV discussion show that would have him.

That there are literally hundreds of edits like that is remarkable.It also explains why he feels such deep and personal hatred towards those who remind him that he is not above everybody else- his vendetta against Christine Odone began when she told him not to use the New Statesman's printers for his personal use and his grudge against one of his professors began when he was told off for treating college staff like dirt.

Tim Worstall has written about Hari's economic ignorance for years, and this lack of knowledge about the things he is writing about extends into other areas, such as his piece on Haiti in which he clearly believed it was an island. When you realise that Hari wants to portray himself as a renaissance man it becomes clear why cannot simply acknowledge that he has no competence to write about an important event and move on. He has to reassure the World and himself that he really is a deeply learned figure who can comment authoritatively upon economics, post war history, climate science, Venezuela, Northern Ireland, literature, Big Brother and whatever other topic it is important for a commentator to discuss. To anyone knowledgeable in those fields his writings were often considered superficial but few people know enough about everything to call him out as a complete bullshitter. Though many were struck by his obnoxious behaviour when they did call him up on their area of expertise.

It is why he cannot simply admit that he was not up to the task of eliciting an interesting response in an interview and therefore simply lifts interesting quotes from other sources. It is why he cannot allow everyone to know that he had a fairly elite educational background.

He was not simply lazy and looking for shortcuts like Jayson Blair or a wild fabulist who enjoys making things up like Stephen Glass. He was constantly trying to assert and boost his status among his peers and the public.

It is also why he is still clinging with the assistance of his employers to the idea that he will one day be taken seriously as a commentator again. To realise that his name will not be spoken of alongside liberal intellectual icons like George Orwell, Christopher Hitchens or Roy Jenkins but instead be a footnote in a litany of fraudsters and fantasists alongside Stephen Glass, Damian McBryde and Jeffrey Archer must be exceptionally hard to take.

Yet it is exactly what he deserves.


Anonymous said...

To be fair to Jeffrey Archer his first books are far more enjoyable than anything that Hari has written.
Also some of what Archer has written is meant to be fiction, while Hari claims to be writing fact.

Laban said...

Does that mean all his stuff about seducing Islamists and BNP members was a pile of nagombi too ?

Ross said...

Laban- Yes, and the stuff about the gay bars in Dubai.

Anon- \of course Hari began life as \jeffrey Archer's researcher so he probably influenced at least one of the later ones.