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October 08, 2005

Norman Johnson Again.

There’s been a bit of talk about whether Norman Johnson is in fact a spoof of Aaronovich (I’ve never read anything by him so I wouldn’t recognise the style) or of Harry’s Place itself. The fact that the whole column is about Harry himself today makes my theory of it being of the blog a little stronger I think.

Or, perhaps, it’s being set up as a long running gag about the pro-war left altogether. Nick Cohen, Norm and so on.

Or, if you want a real conspiracy theory try this. One piece of gossip (well, speculation) I got from the trip back to Blighty was that The Observer blog shut down for lack of money. The Guardian group is paying so much for Aaro’s replacement, Sir Simon Jenkins, (well north of a 1/4 million a year for the total package) that cuts have to come from somewhere. So why not rubbish the columnist who left, Aaro, and caused this cash crisis and have it done anonymously  (and thus at basic freelance rates rather than name rates) to boot? 

Which means that I’m wrong and it is a spoof of Aaro. Or that Seumas Milne is losingit which is also a possibility perhaps.

October 8, 2005 in Weblogs | Permalink


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I'd say Norman Johnson's style is closer to Harry's than to Aaronovich's, really. It's a good piece; thanks for pointing it out.

Posted by: A Kupfer | Oct 8, 2005 10:59:36 AM

The style is very close to David Aaronovitch ("moi?" "is it me?" and other filled pauses) -- and he left a comment on Harry's final post; as did Nick Cohen, who at least managed to spell his own name correctly. (Speaking of spelling, hooray! -- you got "Seamas" correct. I've a feeling that the HPers who get it wrong have their opinions formed not by reading him, but from whatever Harry says.)

You've also learned to think like a lefty. The worse kind of lefty (many of us *are* in fact smarter), sadly. "So why not rubbish the columnist who left, Aaro, and caused this cash crisis ..." Seumas Milne may actually think like that. The cash crisis, if there is one, has obvious causes, none of which can be traced back to DA. They are, Alan Rusbridger's lack of faith in the extra income generated by the new format; AR's lack of faith in the role of the web in making the Guardian popular (or talked about), AR's lack of negotiating skills, AR's lack of imagination in finding someone a lot cheaper than Simon Jenkins, AR's insistence on modernising the paper again a mere 18 years after the last time ... (Hmm, I think I may have revealed a slight prejudice there.)

Actually, the standard of jokes is much better this week. The meta-joke is one which has occurred to me: like the stars in the Arthur C Clarke story, one by one, without any fuss, the pro-war leftists are putting themselves out.

Posted by: Backword Dave | Oct 8, 2005 1:18:57 PM

Slightly off-topic, but I gather that there actually weren't any money issues with the Obs blog exit - although the Obs certainly does have money issues. Still not entirely sure what the reason was, but I should be meeting Rafael for a pint at some point in the next month or so, so may be able to find out then.

Posted by: Nosemonkey | Oct 8, 2005 1:55:12 PM

A blog shut down for lack of funds? Erm, how do the rest of us manage?

Posted by: Tim Newman | Oct 8, 2005 3:16:23 PM

@Nosemonkey/Observer: This is just an example of the natural trend for the Grauniad and Snobserver to integrate - after all, what is the point of the Observer having a duplicate of the Guardian Newsblog with many of the same hacks? It further strikes me that the remaining differentiation between the Observer and a hypothetical Sunday Guardian is basically the Snobserver's heavy pro-torture left bias. With the PTL dying out, there's not much point left..

On topic: Two words for everyone: Craig Brown. Not the football manager, the parodist behind Bel Littlejohn and many others.

Tim adds: Wallace Arnold, Way of the World, endless retaurant reviews, parts of Private Eye....

Posted by: Alex | Oct 8, 2005 5:53:37 PM

Indeed, Alex, indeed.

Posted by: Backword Dave | Oct 8, 2005 7:47:55 PM

Craig Brown. Not the football manager, the parodist behind Bel Littlejohn

I always thought Greg Proops was behind Bel Littlejohn? In fact, I heard him interviewed once on the radio and the announcer clearly said he was Bel Littlejohn and he didn't deny it.

Posted by: Yusuf Smith | Oct 9, 2005 12:37:33 AM