He coined the phrase “the law of the ridiculous reverse”, “which states that if the opposite of a statement is plainly absurd, it was not worth making in the first place”.
Simon Hoggart, one of the wittiest and most distinctive writers on the Guardian and Observer for 45 years, has died from pancreatic cancer, it was announced on Sunday. He was 67 and had managed to work and lead an active social life for three and a half years after being told his condition would prove fatal.
A regular on many radio and TV programmes, Hoggart chaired Radio 4′s The News Quiz for 10 years before 2006. He published 20 books and anthologies and became a regular figure on the festival circuit. Though a resourceful news reporter and feature writer with an eye for telling detail and a vivid turn of phrase, he found his most comfortable niche as a humorous, usually acerbic columnist, notably as the Guardian’s sketchwriter, briefly in the 1970s and after his return to the Guardian from 12 years on the Observer in 1993.
Hoggart wrote Mike Hutchinson, Bizarre Beliefs on “the human desire to believe the unbelievable”. This is on my bookshelf.
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