Saturday, 12 December 2009

Tiresome Joke

“Staggering across the fringes of the [Copenhagen] summit are the people who will see their countries live or die on the basis of its deliberations. . . . Dazed Chinese and Indian NGOs explain how the Himalayan ice is rapidly vanishing and will be gone by 2035 — so the great rivers of Asia that are born there will shrivel and cease.” [1] 

Staggering? Dazed? Maybe it was the booze and the tedium of the keynote-presentations, or perhaps Johann Hari is just making things up again. Glad to say, however, that I very seldom read anything by Mr Hari: he is a bad joke endlessly repeating itself, faintly amusing on the first reading or two, but soon growing tiresome; but I do wonder if he has ever made a pretence at truthful reportage that hasn’t been immediately exposed as laughable fancy by his own ill-judged hyperbole:— laughable, I say, at first.

[1] Johann Hari, “Leaders of the rich world are enacting a giant fraud”, The Independent, 11th December 2009. (At least the title of his article alludes inadvertently to the state of affairs.)

7 comments:

dearieme said...

The sort of people who can count to twenty without removing their shoes would jeer at the impossibility of "the Himalayan ice is rapidly vanishing and will be gone by 2035". Moreover, some clever clogs has found the source of this risible claim - it goes back to a misreading of 2350 as 2035. For all I know 2350 was a misreading of 2530, which was a misreading of 3250, which was a misreading of 5320. Doubtless they are all just Big Numbers to Hari.

Jim Kalb said...

What's the concept, that the Himalayan glaciers breed water, and then the streams of melt water breed more water, so if there aren't any glaciers the rivers won't be there any more?

Deogolwulf said...

Now, now, you two: you should know that you ought never to try to make sense of Mr Hari's numbers and concepts. It is like looking for meaning in a pile of dropped spaghetti.

Deogolwulf said...

By the way, Mr Kalb, I am looking forward to reading your book, which I bought only recently.

James Higham said...

Welcome to the new post-democracy era.

TDK said...

What a difference a month makes.

When Johan Hari wrote his article
and dearieme his comment, it was a fringe idea that the glacier 2035 claim was nonsense. Now no one defends it anymore.

Deogolwulf said...

TDK,

Given that we have no credible evidence to the contrary, and much in favour, we must presume that Johann Hari himself is just a gross error. Whether he was knowingly perpetrated, we cannot know for sure.