Just so you spell our name right

Is this what they call a backhanded tribute?

“Mr. Johnson” and his/her editors seem to assume that a large portion of Guardian readers are also readers of this blog– otherwise what would be the point of all the supposedly “knowing” jabs? Surely they wouldn’t waste valuable newspaper space just to have a laugh among themselves and their closest friends– would they?

Do they imagine large numbers of readers being seduced by the siren song of the muscular liberals? Do they see this and the other “Johnson” columns as the opening volleys in some sort of struggle for the heart and soul of the Left?

Anyway I suppose we should be flattered that they felt a link to our blog was unnecessary. We, on the other hand, are always scrupulous about providing links to The Guardian.

Harry adds: As Gus Hedges used to say, “I’m not here but…..”

Gene, I can’t blame you for being a little taken aback by all this. I really can’t imagine the Washington Post or the New York Times running spoof columns about American bloggers.

While I’m delighted to see that the phrase ‘wake up you naive cretin’ made it out to the Guardian readership one really has to wonder if someone at Farringdon Road hasn’t completely lost it?

Let’s just recap here:

1. The Guardian, a national ‘quality’ newspaper, is now running a weekly article by a fake, entirely invented, columnist who is spoofing elements of the ‘pro-war left’.

2. This week’s episode consists of a spoof tribute by this fictional columnist to a blogger who recently stopped blogging.

3. Ninety percent of the Guardian’s readers have no idea what Harry’s Place is and nor will they get any of the other little in-jokes from ‘Norman Johnson’.

I can well imagine that with the switch to a tabloid format The Guardian was left with some blank space that it needed to fill but I really have to wonder what the paper’s readers are making of all this? If we, who get the attempted humour, find it all a bit odd (and it really is very strange) imagine what the average reader on the tube made of it this morning?

As was written here at the time of the first ‘Norman Johnson’ column, the joke is on the Guardian – they are spoofing a position that they barely acknowledge to their readers exists. For three years they have tried to convince people that the war against Saddam was only supported by right-wing Republicans in the US and ‘Blairite toadies’ in Britain and that only ‘neo-cons’ are concerned about Islamist terrorism. With the exception of the columns of David Aaronovitch, before he moved to a paper that goes in for a bit more diversity, they have not bothered to seriously address or give space to the parts of the US and British liberal left which did favour the armed overthrow of the Ba’athist dictatorship and they have virtually ignored pro-democracy voices in Iraq and the Middle East.

They themselves obviously have, however, read the debates that have taken place on blogs, away from the gaze of their readers but rather than bring that debate into the mainstream media through their opinion pages, the Guardian has chosen to mock an argument which it has yet to deem worthy of introduction to its readers.

The result, I am sure, has left the vast majority of them utterly baffled.

Anyway, “I’m not here”….