Hari / Cohen Cage Match

This is all terribly, terribly funny. First we have Johann Hari writing about Nick Cohen’s not especially good recent book What’s Left? in Dissent here (with bloggers’ responses here, here, here, here and here). Then we get NC’s reply to JH here and JH’s reply to NC’s reply to JH here, with today’s blog discussion over here [update: subsequently removed].

I want this one to run and run.

TUESDAY UPDATE: Oliver Kamm weighs in, again; AaroWatch has an Ode to Kamm [update: subsequently removed]; and JH has added bits and pieces to his reply to the reply [update: and some of the bits and pieces have been, er, subsequently removed].

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Indecent Left, Conor Foley, Chris Bertram, Blood & Treasure.

21 thoughts on “Hari / Cohen Cage Match”

  1. Alas the blog discussion has now been closed down as Hari’s threatened to sue. I thought David T’s ‘and a friend’ was a bit rich given he’d just accused Hari of making things up.

  2. I rather think that the HP lot have a fair bit of form in being friendly with people who make things up, if you cast your mind back to the justifications for a certain recent, indeed ongoing, war.

  3. Actually, there are two responses to the orignal Hari Dissent piece on the Drink-soaked Trots site: there’s Will’s which is the post immediately before Eric’s. But no one links to that.

    Did Conor Foley write about “What’s Left” on the CiF site? Has his piece been taken down? He said in HP’s comments that he had, but it isn’t there now.

  4. What a disappointment. I thought it would have some substance (I always give the benefit of doubt me — OK — not to posh twats but there you go). Oh well — might have to ignore it (might have to rubbish it as well mind).

    Hiya Ddoublestoopid! Ginger cuff and collar.

  5. I presume I was meant to be insulted by someone suddenly saying that my pubic hair is the same colour as the hair on my head? If the latest edition of the Viz “Roget’s Profanisaurus” is reduced to the level of simple and obvious biological facts being the latest epithets then things have got pretty bad. So anyway, fuck you too, you ten-toed, glucose-metabolising fingernail grower.

  6. Not good enough deedoobledsquaredignorantmiester.

    You’re using the same ‘Roget’s Profanisaurus’ tactic too many times for it to be effective. You should refer back to your really really great piece on CIF about how to adopt a coping strategy:

    “The only really disturbing comment you can receive on your work is the one that makes you think you are wrong, in which case all you can do is prepare your own climbdown preserving as much dignity as possible.”

    Do it you fucker. Do it for your own piece of mind.

    On Your gingerness: http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/daniel_davies/2006/11/the_least_serious_bigotry.html

    “It is always terrible when kids get bullied at school – I was bullied from time to time, although this was mainly because of the same arrogant and supercilious attitude that has landed me this gig on Comment is free, so swings and roundabouts – but it’s just ridiculous to pretend that it’s somehow worse when ginger kids get bullied for being ginger.”

    repeating yourself again…

    Boo hoo yoo. liberal elitist wankers the lot of you.

  7. What, like I was going to write brand new material for “Will” of “Drink Soaked Popinjays for War”? Get real. Who do you think you are, Anthony Cox?

  8. I came across something in my notes that you had written three years ago: Hari was found to have engaged in plagiarism (or nicking other people’s words)
    by Chris Brookes  ( 18.8.04 … “Great Coincidences of Our Time: In The New Republic, dated 1 October 2001…


    I was about to update this. On a post on dstpf, Eric summed it up neatly.

    Johann preferred a short war to an endless tyranny, he didn’t sign up for a long war against people trying to impose a new tyranny.

    I don’t know if there is a word for this – choosing between two options that didn’t actually exist (that is, one of them didn’t).

    Any ideas?

  9. On the Empire thing, please note that I never thought there was a serious plagiarism issue (I never used the P-word myself), just that when Hari said that he’d picked a sentence “at random” this struck me as most likely to be false, and when I spotted that, it entertained me, so I wrote the post. I really don’t think it’s very important, and certainly not worth dredging up three years later.

    It’d be quite nice, incidentally, if those who are so keen to track down falsehoods in Johann Hari’s journalism were to devote the same attention to the critical examination of the recent writings of Nick Cohen.

    (The same is true, even more incidentally, concerning any number of the other charges thrown at Hari in the Drink-Soaked Trots recent two-minute hate: concerning the zeal of the convert, presenting one-sided versions of history to fit his current political stance, misrepresenting other people’s views, and so on.)

    (And we might add to this that Hari is pretty crap at writing about complex contemporary theory — see the piece on Empire, or his piece on Zizek, and, lo and behold, so is Nick Cohen: see chapter four of What’s Left?)

  10. And, further trivial thought, and then I’ll stop talking to myself: those people who think that Hari has committed a grave offence in “misrepresenting” the contents of Nick Cohen’s book are going to hate Paul Berman’s Terror and Liberalism, if they ever get round to reading it. My goodness they won’t like it one little bit.

  11. And we might add to this that Hari is pretty crap at writing about complex contemporary theory — see the piece on Empire, or his piece on Zizek, and, lo and behold, so is Nick Cohen: see chapter four of What’s Left?)

    That’s because Cohen has never read any theory; it’s blindingly obvious that his sole source of material for ch4 of his book is Wheen’s ‘mumbo jumbo’ book…

  12. Chris Brooke says: … I never thought there was a serious plagiarism issue (I never used the P-word myself) …

    I accept that: you said it was a “great coincidence”; “plagiarism” was my own shorthand. I was not particularly keen to track it down. I was looking for Hari’s empty sloganeering on global poverty, the World Bank etc., when I came across the coincidence / plagiarism thing. It was just something I noted at the time. Should I have expressed my doubts at time? Of course, but I suppose that’s just human nature – to stay quiet about weaknesses of someone who is on your side in an important issue. The same with the aggressive secularism, which he seemed to pick up wholesale from C Hitchens.

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