Simon Hoggart, journalist, author of Bizarre Beliefs, dies

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, Guardian and Observer journalist, dies aged 67 | Media | theguardian.com.

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.

Simon Hoggart obituary | Media | theguardian.com.

Farewell Simon Hoggart: witty, humane, and wise – Telegraph.

Tip: @Skeptinquiry on Twitter

  2 comments for “Simon Hoggart, journalist, author of Bizarre Beliefs, dies

  1. Randy
    January 6, 2014 at 7:55 PM

    “if the opposite of a statement is plainly absurd, it was not worth making in the first place”

    (A corollary to that would be: “Don’t ask stupid questions”)

    That’s an unfortunate statement to be remembered by. Often the “plainly absurd” is not so absurd upon closer inspection. This is one preventable way that errors occur. It is good procedure to state things, just to give yourself or others the opportunity to knock them down. Sometimes even the most obvious of truths gets knocked down by simply giving people the opportunity to question them. There are meaningless questions, and unanswerable questions, but there are no stupid questions.

    • John Nowak
      January 9, 2014 at 1:45 PM

      I’m inclined to agree. Stating the obvious can help lay a foundation.

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