Talk:Johann Hari/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2

A secular Jew?

I removed the phrase 'and a secular Jew' because Mr Hari wrote ( 'Now, as it happens, I'm not Jewish (although a few of my relatives are)'. But if anyone has information as to his being a secular Jew, do restore it.

A few tweaks

I have updated the subjects Hari writes about, because he has only ever written one article about fast food, so it seemed odd to highlight that over and above all the issues he discusses all the time. I've also clarified what he said about Iraq a bit.

He started at the Independent in 2003.

Somebody keeps changing it to 2005, which is factually wrong. Please stop.

As of 2003 doesn't generally mean 'from 2003'; it means currently in 2003. I changed it to as of 2005, since currently, in 2005, he writes for the Independent. If you want to say he started in 2003, and still writes there, it should read 'he has written ... since 2003'. It is clumsier to do that, since the whole point of the 'as ofs' is really so that people can see when supposedly current information was put in the article. That is, it is mostly used as a timestamp with the present tense. Charles Matthews 15:36, 31 Mar 2005 (UTC)


Somebody keeps changing this Wiki entry to say Hari has been criticised for writing about "sex (and particularly homosexuality)" in his columns. I can find no proof for this, who has ever criticised him on this point? If somebody can provide links for any serious writer who has said this then it should remain, but I find it hard to believe anybody has. A check of Hari's last twnety columns found no references to sex at all apart from one innocuous passing reference. He occassionally mentions being gay in passing. As a regular reader (and sometime critic) of his work, I was very surprised to read this. I suspect the person making this statement is something of a homophobe (gay men are often accused of being 'obseesed with sex' for mentioning their sexuality at all).

Dalai Lama quote

If the DL called JH 'fat', we do need a source to include that. Charles Matthews 08:31, 5 October 2005 (UTC)

I tried looking for some evidence for these, as they seemed highly dubious to me, especially the busted one. anyway i couldnt find anything but before i deleted them i decided to e-mail johann hari. this is what he said -

Hi Mustafa - thanks for e-mailing.

Yes, both are sadly true. If you go to my site, click on 'archive', then 'interviews', you can read my interviews with both. The DL said it during the interview, and Busted said it after my interview with them on MTV. Thanks again


so i hope that clears it up. Zbzdhbafr

Harry's Place

Somebody put a link to the website Harry's Place, listing it as Hari's blog.

This is a mistake. Hari wrote for the blog briefly as a guest contributor a few years ago, but it is now run by entirely different people who take a rather different political stance to Hari.


Somebody posted an obviously abusive comment about Hari, saying the singer Brian Ferry had said he had poor personal hygeine. I asume this was a joke, as I can find no references to Brian Ferry saying such a thing, and the statement was fraudlently added into a clear quote from Hari's website (the final one about Dalai Lama, Busted etc).

Factual errors

Somebody posted malicious and factually incorrect claims earlier, so I deleted them. E.g. they claimed Hari had said non-Catholics were denied the vote in Northern Ireland prior to the 1970s, when in fact Hari said (in a protracted argument with protestant sectarians) that the constituency boundaries were gerrymandered to prevent the return of Catholic MPs to the Westminster parliament, a belief held by many observers of the Troubles.

The poster also said that according to Private Eye, Hari had not known who fought in the First World War. This was not alleged by Private Eye (there was a vaguely similar allegation concerning Japan and the Second World War), and the claim itself seems implausible in the extreme in somebody who received a Double First from Cambridge University.

That Northern Ireland discussion was linked to by several blogs at the time and Hari did say "There were no Catholic representatives elected because of gerrymandering"1. Which is false Noraid style propaganda, you are also lying when you say that he was arguing with "protestant sectarians" several of the people in the thread pointed out that they were either catholic or not from Northern Ireland. -- 03:39, 5 January 2006 (UTC)
Oddly enough a number of people with similar IP addresses to the writer above have made several pro Hari edits ( the only 'criticism' here appears to be the blurb from his own website), and added lots of dubious attacks on two journalists Hari has attacked, Mark Steyn and Richard Littlejohn, in articles which seem to give Hari's criticisms undue prominence. Also the link to the forum discussion seems to have died very recently, it is still available via google, This makes me suspect that etc are Hari sockpuppets. -- 03:39, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

And who might you be? 'Sockpuppet' is a term only properly applied to secondary accounts of logged-in users; not to anonymous users editing from IP numbers. Since Hari is a prominent figure, there could be plenty of people who would add such references. I have watched the Mark Steyn article from its creation, and see no basis for what you say, anyway. Charles Matthews 09:38, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

What is a sock puppet? I have deleted a comment in which somebody said Hari's criticism of the Little Britain character Daffyd (who is obsessed with his own victimhood) was ironic because Hari himself is "always talking about his victimisation." I cannot find any instance of Hari doing so. He has talked about being openly gay, but so far as I can see he has always stressed he has never been the victim of homophobia and has never had any negative experiences. He does refer to his sexuality from time to time. i suspect, like a few of the negative commenters here, this addition may have been motivated by homophobia, but I'm not sure. Gay men who ever mention their sexuality publicly are often attacked for being "obsessed" etc in quite a bigoted way.

Educational details

Why are the details of his private schooling being constantly deleted by the same anonymous user who is continually inserting spurious Hari related stuff on the medialens page (Who could that be...)? Unless these details are wrong, they should remain, as they are of interest. As an aside, I have removed extra links within his own website which is already linked to, and reverted the source watch link. This seems sensible to me, but as always, I'm keen to achieve concensus.Felix-felix 10:43, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

Oh yeah, who ever you are, please sign inFelix-felix 10:47, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

I wish you would stop implying I am somebody else, it's tedious Felix. I'm a fan of Hari's, like lots of people, and I am correcting errors/distortions etc. By the way, what's the difference between being known by my IP address and being known by the name of a fictitious cat? get off your high horse.

The reason I deleted the schools list is because I couldn't see any proof for it; I have now e-mailed Hari and he has given me a list of his schools, so hopefully we now have consensus on that. (His "Private" schooling was on a scholarship, btw). The Sourcewatch link is to a malicious and false piece, but if you insist on keeping putting it back, i suppose it's best for people to draw their own conclusions. - Dave

Well "Dave", if you want people to take you seriously, perhaps you should log in, as you promised to on the medialens talk page. If you log in then you generate an edit history which can be viewed, also, if you were just forgetting to log in your IP address wouldn't keep changing-are you perhaps using a proxy server? Anonymous posting is seen as cowardly, no edit history therefore user lacks courage of their convictions. In the fragmentary edit histories of yours that I've seen, you appear quite the Hari fan, (at least from up here on my high horse)he must be thrilled..why not quell my anxieties as to your true identity, Dave and start logging on?Felix-felix 17:31, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

Calling this discussion to order. Non-logged in editors should expect the same degree of collegiality of treatment as anyone else. Cutting unsourced information, without raising a query, is not great practice; we're having a big discussion of this on the mailing list right now. Raising a query here is much more helpful, since it documents the issue. Private communications from Hari are unfortunately not an acceptable source, as is set out in the policy on writing about living persons. Charles Matthews 20:05, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

Controversies and Polemics

Somebody has written that Hari 'claimed' to have reported undercover on the Holocaust Denial conference and from the Finsbury park mosque. Why the 'claim'? Nobody has ever disputed these things, to my knowledge, not even Private Eye when they were hatcheting Hari. They were published in high-circulation newspapers with corrections columns, and nop correction was ever published from my search of their sites. It seemed a bit odd so I have changed it - Dave

I rewrote that paragraph. Hari did indeed claim this.It is not verified elsewhere, including in Hari's own writing, hence the 'claim'. There is nothing odd about the entry, therefore the revert.Felix-felix 02:08, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

Can somebody adjudicate on this please? I think Felix is being unreasonable in clearly trying to infer that hari is being dishonest, something even Hari's fiercest critics at Private Eye have not alleged, and I would like to establish a consensus on it. What sort of 'evidence' do you want? Leading newspapers published it and nobody challenged it. You say, "It is not verified elsewhere, including in Hari's own writing." What does that mean? I don't get it. I have switched it back, let's please discuss this here and form a consensus, or can the wiki people adjudicate? - Dave

Also, why do you keep changing the description of the Institute for Historical Review to a 'holocaust revision' organisation? They are holocaust deniers, frequently visited by David Irvine etc. - Dave

Always keen to achieve concensus. My rewrite was precise and contained no factual errors-you appear to have taken exception to my use of the word 'claimed' as you appear to think that I am implying that he is lying. This seems ridiculous to me, I have changed it in the current rewrite however. 'Holocaust revision' and 'Holocaust denial' mean the same thing (which is why I wikified the phrase-it takes you to the holocaust denial page) it's like getting worked up about the difference between the words 'racist' and 'racialist'. However call it what you like, they are the same far right nutters. I don't understand why you removed the link to the article itself, inserted the phrase 'after 9/11' about him claiming to visit the Finsbury Park mosque or finish with 'he claimed that one of the best ways to challenge their homophobia is to tap into their repressed homosexuality by trying to have sex with them.' which he did not, although that might be your interpreation of his final para. I prefer concensus, 'Dave'-but ask for adjudication if you feel the need.Felix-felix 10:29, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

That seems reasonable to me, Felix, I've added the word 'satirically' to one suggestion since Hari is obviosuly not making a serious suggestion here, otherwsie I think we can agree - D

Nope, that's a POV comment. 'Satirically' suggests there is satire in the piece, which is 1) POV 2) Satire of what? 3)if it is satire, how is it controversial? (hold the front page, gay man has sex....!)

Hi felix - I don't agree. On wikipedia many people like Lenny Bruce and the makers of Spitting Image are described as satirists without anybody describing it as POV. It is just silly to suggest Johann believes the gay rights movement shoudl turn en masse to shagging homophobes, it's a satirical point. You ask 'satire of what?' Of the repressed homosexuality of many homophobes, obviously. You also ask, "If it is satire, how is it controversial?" It is obviously somehwat controversial to suggest the most aggressive homophobes are suppressing gay instincts. When peter Tatchell has said his about Robert Mugabe, it was widely regarded as controversial. It's got nothing to do with "gay man has sex", it's about "gay-hater has gay sex."

If we can't agree and you think it should still be deleted, then i think it's only reasonable to ask for4 adjudication. i think any reasonable reader would agree this article is intended to be satirical as a point of fact not a point of view. - Dave

Removed the word 'satirically'again, as above-it's not satire, unlike either Lenny Bruce or Spitting Image. I also don't think that suggesting that homophobes may have repressed homosexual feelings is particularly controversial-or novel. (or that some black people can be racist, or some women anti-feminist..)However, the article is humourous in tone, on that we can agree.As I've said before 'Dave', ask for adjudication if you feel the need, I prefer concensus, but do what you will...Felix-felix 14:53, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

I wouldn't want to get hung up on the definition of 'satire' How about 'jokingly'? - Dave

The whole entry seems a bit desperate, but if you're happy with this piece of 'controversy', J-so be it.Felix-felix 17:00, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

Can somebody please adjudicate on whether Hari can fairly be described as 'left-wing' please? Another poster added it to a description of Hari, which seems fair enough to me, but 'Felix-Felix' has deleted it on the grounds he is "clearly not left-wing". This poster is clearly motivated by a personal animus towards Hari; could somebody from Wikipedia have a look at Hari's work, the people who praise and criticise it etc, and fairly adjudicate whether left-wing is an appropriate term? Sorry to appeal to you but Felix-Fleix and I are obviously not going to agree and he persistently accuses me of being a 'sock puppet' or Hari himself etc - Dave

"Some people on the left, most notably Noam Chomsky, believe Hari's initial support for the invasion of Iraq, after visiting Saddam's Iraq, contradicts his self-description as a left-winger." From the article main text, J. Have also reverted the sourcewatch article removal from the links section.Felix-felix 16:10, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
I have reverted some of the edits that you made yesterday ('Dave'?)for reasons set out above I have again removed the 'leftwing' moniker as well as most of the hyperbolic and non-encyclopedic additions you added to the writings section, presumably to justify the 'left-wing' part.I must say the article reads particularly poorly, and I'll probably do a big overhaul on it when I get a chance.Felix-felix 07:30, 24 July 2006 (UTC)


Felix-Felix, you are motivated clearly by personal hatred of Hari. You can hate whoever you like but its not reasonable to impose it on other Wiki users...

You have already had to be slapped down by the Wiki-regulators once before for your personal animus. - Dave

Nonsense 'Dave', I'm just more critical of him than you are. I will get round to a cleanup on this article soon though, and will look forward to your edits.Felix-felix 16:09, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

Yes - I look forward to sparring over it! D.

May I suggest a phrase similar to "he identifies his politics as left of centre." Phrasing it like that means it is merely a statement of fact about how he views himself. --MuttGirl 17:55, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

Could do, although I'm not really sure it adds anythingFelix-felix 12:09, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

I agree with Mutt Girl and have to say I think Felix-Felix´s attitude towards this page is unfortunately based on hostility. I am no fan of Hari but this entry seems to me fair and balanced and Felix-Felix´s constant sniping at Dave and insinuations about him seem to me contrary to the Wiki guidelines. I would be worried about Felix-Felix revamping the page to fit his prejudices when it seems perfectly reasonable, can I suggest additions rather thana rewrite? - AngelaM

Wikipedia:Sign your posts on talk pages"Signing your posts on talk pages and other Wikipedia discourse (but not on articles) is not only good etiquette; it also facilitates discussion by helping other users to identify the author of a particular comment, to navigate talk pages, and to address specific comments to the relevant user(s), among other things."Felix-felix 12:18, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

"vehement" criticism of Buddhism?

Can anyone point me in the direction of the "vehement" criticism of Buddhism that this article claims Hari has made? I've only been able to find some subtle and implied criticism during the Dalai Lama interview. 11:19, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

This is not a CV or a Vanity article

As such it should be of interest to the reader, spurious additions of nominations or failing to win awards are not of interest. A cursory search of other journos on wikipedia unearthed only one mentioned nomination, that of Polly Toynbee who was nominated as islamophobic journalist of the year, which obviously had interest for another reason. Ask for adjudication if you like, although I think you'll find that you need to achieve concensus first, J. And that's real concensus, not another 'AngelaM', eh?Felix-felix 13:08, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

Felix, your comments are increasingly incomprehensible and paranoid. It's like trying to write a wiki entry against a character in an Oliver Stone film. You are alleging that I am AngelaM, and I am in turn Hari - is that right?

I think these award nominations tell you something interesting about Hari, that he is a prominent secularist and gay writer. Consensus does not mean unanimity, if you have one person who is obviously motivated by personal dislike then they can be over-ruled.

So I'm putting it back and appealing for adjudication, asking the wiki authorities to look back over the history of Felix's edits to this entry to see if he is (a) sane (see constant insinuations that the fiendish hand of Hari is visible everywhere, among multiple wiki users) and (b) being reasonable. - Dave 14:32, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

Good heavens, J-no concensus has not been reached and you've not answered my basic question above, about nominations for awards being notable (except, perhaps, notable by their absence in wikipedia articles). Although I do believe you are Hari (and I'm not the first) this has no bearing on any dispute on this page, I am entitled to my views and bound to assume good will on your part (although that can be difficult at times..). I will however not be bound by false consensus, as I suspect the post by the unsigned in 'AngelaM' was intended to provide. This is unconstructive, however. The aim should be trying to construct a good encyclopedia article about the little tyke-could you provide a picture, 'Dave'? I have once again removed the gay journo and secularist of the year nomination, and think that a criticism of Hari's journalism section would be in order. Any ideas, 'Dave'?.Felix-felix 13:11, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

In fact, I can't find a single Orwell Prize nominee who's wikipedia page mentions it, either book or journalism prize, not Jonathan Freedland, George Monbiot or Brian Sewell. Unless there's a compelling reason to keep it, I'm going to ditch this too.Felix-felix 13:51, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
I think the Orwell Prize nomination is inessential. As these articles build up, these things do become more like factoids that can be cut out without real loss. Charles Matthews 14:53, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

Hmmm. Referring to somebody as "the little tyke" reveals a bias, don't you think? I am very happy to provide a picture. Give me your e-mail address and I'll send you my phone number too so you can call me and verify who I am. (Presumably you will think I am Hari impersonating my voice, setting up a "proxy" mobile and e-mail address and... you get the idea.) I have in the past added critical links to this website, like Kamm's demolition of Hari's interview with Chavez. Are you suggesting Hari doesn't have anythign better to do than adopt a false identity to post critical article about himself on the internet?

I think being the youngest person to be nominated for the Orwell Prize tells you something about Hari. (Freedland, Monbiot and Sewell were not in this position, were they, so of course it isn't mentioned. An ORwell Prize nomination in itself isn't really worth comment, but being the youngets person to be so is, and I think all reasonable people would agree. I think we can achieve consensus on removing the other two nominations and keeping this.)

In terms of criticisms, I think that's a good idea. The entry already discusses Chomsky's criticisms and the allegations of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, somewhat undermining your idea that this is a "vanity article" (unless you think those are compliments). How about shiftying them to this section and then including Richard Littlejohn's accusation that Hari is a drug addict and Oliver Kamm's criticism that he is too sympathetic to Hugo Chavez? - Dave

PS Can we please achieve consensus that the word is spelt 'consensus'? When you call I'll also give you a potted lecture on the difference between 'who's' and 'whose', Felix... 15:34, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

I'm cut to the quick, 'Dave'.(Note comment about signing below)Felix-felix 16:00, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
I've checked back: the Orwell Prize thing was added in 2005 when it was current, and can reasonably be dropped now. Do be careful not to personalise the discussion. And please sign. Charles Matthews 15:41, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Personal attacks are absolutely out of order. I'm not going to repeat this for ever. You have been warned. Charles Matthews 22:11, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

I agree, Charles - somebody rewriting an entry on the basis that the subject is a "little tyke" is unacceptable. I am also concerned to stop Felix-Felix's persistent personal attacks suggesting that I am somebody else (and presumably libelling Hari in the process); Felix, please do e-mail me at and I can send you my phone number so we can talk and you can be assured that I am real and not Hari (I am five stone lighter and ten IQ points lower for a start). Either way, you should stop casting aspersions on me and on Hari, as Charles suggests - Dave