Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Johann Hari: Why the FT critic Ian Shuttleworth is still waiting like Diana Ross

Ian Shuttleworth
Further to the delightful media rhubarb on Johann Hari and his thieving of quotes, another story reaches me touching on the antics of the Independent's newly glamorous and rather sexy 32 year-old columnist and interviewer. The authoritative stage critic of the Financial Times, Ian Shuttleworth, tells Madame Arcati that he, too, once fell victim to Hari's inventively maverick approach to journalism.

The good news is that this story is not about plagiarism. The bad news: it's about trust.

Mr Shuttleworth writes: '[Hari] begged some quotes from me for a profile piece on someone I'd worked with years before, ran them in a snide tone 180┬║ opposite from mine, credited me ostentatiously whilst the article itself was anonymous, and thus ruined my most prestigious professional contact. When I kvetched about it to mutual friends, they said, "Oh, that's just Johann," as if that mitigated matters rather than aggravating them with pattern-of-behaviour evidence. On subsequent meetings he seemed to imagine we were still friends.'

Had Hari done this to Madame Arcati, a fearful vendetta would have commenced and cocks would have shrivelled in terror. Just ask Kevin Spacey. But allow Mr S to continue....

'In today's Indie [Hari] protests, "I did not and never have taken words from another context and twisted them to mean something different" - maybe not, but with me he took words from the immediate context and twisted them to mean something not just different but opposite. And "When I've been wrong in the past [...] I have admitted it publicly, tried to think through how I got it wrong, and corrected myself." In the words of Diana Ross, I'm still waiting... '

I did tweet the Indy's editor Simon Kelner last night, drawing his attention to this matter. Perhaps due to other commitments, he has not yet commented and is perhaps dismissive of a silly little blog such as this when there are Radio 4 shows to attend for marketing amplification.

If Johann would like to acknowledge his fault and apologise to Ian he is free to do so via Madame Arcati. I am a disinterested medium for harmony, ever striving to bring peace where strife reigns. Presently.

Ian Shuttleworth's website is most entertaining. Click here


Ciaran Rehill said...

Those fuckwits at the Indy are so busy sticking D notices on all that moves it surprises me they have time to get the paper out at all!

Not Miss Ross said...

I find this more troubling than the 'plagiarism' claims. What interests me is whether there was any question of doubt about Shuttleworth's tone and meaning that might account for Hari's alleged distortion. Is it possible Shuttleworth did not communicate sufficiently his meaning? If not, then Hari needs to go back to square one, whatever that means professionally.

Anonymous said...

Fuck off you stargazer!!

Do The Funky Chicken said...

It's a right ol ding-dong innit!

Ian Shuttleworth said...

I don't think it was possible to misunderstand the spirit and tone in which I was giving my quotes. As I recall, I made it as clear as I could that I was paying testimony to the subject of them; in Johann's piece they appeared shorn of the frills as evidence of the subject's singlemindedness and ambition.

Ian Shuttleworth said...

Oh, God, it's all getting out of control again. I must also point out that this isn't necessarily a matter for Simon Kelner as such, since the piece in which Hari misrepresented me wasn't written for an Independent title and may even have been before he landed his regular columnist gig there.

Elly said...

I think Ian, the main matter for Simon Kelner is that he employs someone as flowery and turgid (in his prose I don't know the man himself) as Hari in the first place.

For me, the thing that screams out the most from this hoo-ha is those awful, horrendous segues between Hari's 'quotes' in interviews, which would be more suited to Mills and Boon novels than newspapers.

But then Mills and Boon probably sell more copies than newspapers these days, which is probably why Hari is not going to lose his job anytime soon.