Oh, praise the Lord - this Johann Hari thing is the gift that keeps on giving, isn't it?
I'll assume you know the background and just observe that sentencing the little arse to a year's hard journalism studies is Just. The. Perfect. Outcome for this whole hilarious escapade - it ends nothing and ensures an ongoing mutual fragfest between some of the nation's most tiresome hacks. I can almost hear that little vein on Toby Young's temple throbbing, no doubt lending him the dignified air of an oversized, live-action bollock-torture sculpture.
I mean, where to start? The precious spectacle of British journalism up in arms over some grievous affront to its much-vaunted integrity, perhaps, a proposition akin to a career poledancer launching a crusade for public modesty? Oh, please, continue!
I think we can all agree that some purloined quotes will fatally undermine an industry that's in large part devoted to flogging a volcanic miasma of celebrity titty, rage-inducing lies and net meme ripoffs. What woe hath Hari wrought upon the noble writer's art? Who now shall place their faith in our exclusive exposes of climate hoaxing immigrant sluts who go like the jackhammers of fuck five times a night with well-known Premiership footballers?
And what of the grotesque insult to the dignity of Hari's Wikipedia victims, after his pseudonymous accusations were seen by none? Admittedly, most of them deserve to be forcefully strapped down so that a pissed-up tattoo artist can scrawl even worse allegations on their foreheads left-handed, but surely nobody deserves to have nasty things written about them on a web page. I mean, not only is such a thing unheard of, but that's not what the internet is for, is it?
There was some Twittertalk last night encouraging the injured parties to seek restitution through the courts, a fresh hilarity that I hope and pray comes to pass. My ideal scenario would be a series of ruinously expensive and acrimonious trials, in which both parties somehow contrive to lose, incurring smashing great legal fees in the process.
Whatever. The Hari affair has been a knee-slapping, rib-cracking laugh-a-minute riot - a richly comedic display of hubris and nemesis in which all of the participants have wound up whacking themselves in the face with the rubber fish of bathos, and there's no prospect of a let-up in the near future.
I say, bring it on. I heartily encourage the participants to tie razorblades to their heels and physically attack each other, squawking and slashing like fighting cocks, but I'll settle for a grinding war of attrition fought across the opinion pages in increasingly bitter and desperate tones, with all the friendly fire and collateral damage that implies.
My advice for this era of financial strife? Invest heavily in beer and pretzels, because this comedy bandwagon is going to run and run. Magic.