Time to come clean Johann Hari
This is probably the last blog post I’ll do on this so I’d ask that you take a good look and make up your mind. I contacted the original interviewer Matthew Todd from Attitude magazine this morning and he confirmed that he had interviewed Gareth Thomas first and set Johann up with this interview. In return, Hari nicked some of his quotes.
For the first 35 years of his life, Thomas tried to bury his sexuality. He confides: “I used to visualise it as a little ball. I know it’s crazy, but I’d imagine this little ball in my stomach and I’d have an encounter with a man and the ball would just be there. Then from that day to the next encounter, be it one month, two months, three months, all I could see was this gold liquid dripping out of the ball. That was the real me seeping out … I didn’t want it to be there. I’d walk along cliffs and think it would be much easier if I just fell off.”
I can’t find the original Attitude interview online but luckily Walesonline reprinted it on January 18th and properly cited it-
He said: “I tried to bottle it up, but I could feel it, it was there in my stomach.
“I know this sounds crazy but this shows how much stress I was under, I used to visualise it as a little ball.
“I’d imagine this ball in my stomach and I’d have an encounter with a man and the ball would just be there.
“Then from that day until the next encounter, be it one month, two months, three months, all I could see was this gold liquid dripping out of the ball.
“That was the real me seeping out. My mind would tell me when there was no more to seep out and unfortunately, I would have to cheat on the person I loved the most. I will feel terrible about that until the day I die.”
This was sent to me by someone who wishes to remain anonymous but has been aware of Hari’s practice for a while. They explain;
My feeling is that this doesn’t fit with Hari’s other explanation - this is not something Thomas has said in his own writing. It is a rather vulnerable, beautiful quote which another journalist got out of him by gaining his trust. Hari has made it look like he said it directly to him. By saying it doesn’t matter if you quote a previous text, he’s missing the concept that subtle new nuances will always come out in a new conversation and you can always take out the “uhhs and umms”. I’m sure Thomas wouldn’t dream of complaining because he seems like any easy going guy and it’s a well-meaning piece but that’s not the point either. Getting good quotes out of an interviewee should be part of an interviewer’s skill.