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[SIC!] September 25, 2007
 
Your Letters
 
 

[SIC] LETTER OF THE WEEK! Eye On Harding

Dear Editor,

You've probably already been sent this, but just in case, it was in the Street of Shame section in Private Eye [the legendary British satire and bile zine—Ed.], which is a big deal for journalists in England:

EMBARRASSMENT ahoy at the Grauniad [Guardian] over a G2 cover-story on 2 July about Russian billionaires, written by Moscow correspondent Luke Harding. It bore a startling resemblance to a piece published almost two months earlier by the eXile, an English-language magazine in Moscow.

"Of the seven oligarchs who controlled 50 percent of Russia's economy during the 1990s," Harding noted, "six were Jewish: Berezovsky, Vladimir Gusinsky, Alexander Smolensky, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Mikhail Friedman and Valery Malkin." Or, as Mark Ames and Yasha Levine had put it in the eXile on 18 May: "Of the seven oligarchs who controlled more than 50 percent of Russia's economy during the 1990s, six were Jews: Boris Berezovsky, Vladimir Gusinsky, Alexander Smolensky, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Mikhail Friedman and Vitaly Malkin."

Ames and Levine had explained in the eXile that this wasn't because of a Jewish conspiracy: "In the Soviet Union, Jews were restricted in their ability to assimilate and rise up in society, so those who wanted to get ahead were forced into the margins. That meant that while ethnic Slavs dominated all the best career slots in the highly bureaucratized Soviet society, Jews dominated the black market economy."

Harding couldn't have put it better himself. "The Soviet Union restricted Jews' ability to assimilate and rise up in society," he told Grauniad readers. "While ethnic Slavs dominated all the best career slots in the highly bureaucratised official society, Jews who wanted to get ahead were forced into the black market economy..."

And so, painfully, on.

Peeved at this shameless larceny, the editors of the eXile invoiced the Grauniad for "reprinting" their article under Harding's name. The paper declined to pay but, under pressure, has agreed that ombudswoman Siobhan Butterworth will conduct an inquiry. Can her conclusion be in doubt? [end of Private Eye piece]

So editor, is this enough to get me a Tshirt? I can scan and send the page to you.

Robert

Dear Mr. Robert, Here’s the deal. On the one hand, yes, of course, you should provide the scan of the article. It causes us great pain to inform you that we will have to withhold your T-shirt until said scan is delivered to our inbox. On the other hand, we are freely exploiting your effort to allow us to continue fanning the Gloat Flames. This story just never seems to end—perhaps we should install an Eternal Gloat Flame in Luke "The Hackburglar" Harding’s honor? To commemorate the Unknown Plagiarism, since we must assume that so many stories have been lifted over the years, yet we don’t even know what those stories were, or who wrote them. Tragic, ain’t it. Anyway, yeah, thanks for giving us this Private Eye gloater. Because as we’ve preached time and time again, gloat while the gloatin’s good, because some day we’ll all find ourselves taking the Down Escalator straight to the Shame Floor… It just so happens that Luke jumped to the front and found himself on that escalator a lot sooner than the rest of us. Better him than us.

iWOP

Dear Exile,

Have you just changed your site to a rolling news format so you don't have to make a deadline every two weeks? I'm sure you had the best of intentions and told each other 'well now our articles will hit the site hot off the press, and so we'll probably write much more'. But you haven't, have you?

And please stop changing the dates on features thinking that we won't notice they are the same ones as four weeks ago. You have a loyal and expectant readership, so stop sitting around wanking and get typing.


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