Play it again, Johann
I see my colleague Johann Hari has been the subject of a Twitter campaign accusing him of plagiarism on the grounds that quotes he attributed to people he interviewed could be found in almost form in earlier interviews, or in their published work. Johann, I’m sure, is perfectly capable of defending himself, but anyone who has ever actually conducted interviews or attended discussion will surely smell a rat.
Unless they are deliberately malicious, the accusations on Twitter are extraordinarily naive. I have interviewed many writers, chaired literary discussions, organised countless speaker events and attended more literary festivals than I can remember. I have heard the same writers discuss their work on several separate occasion and, do you know what, they tend to say the same things they have said before. Often in almost exactly the same form of words.
Is that surprising? Hardly. Don’t we all have our conversational tropes, our party pieces, which we trot out time and again? If you’ve got a good riff, play it again…Tagged in: johann hari, plagiarism, twitter
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