Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christopher Hitchens: Simon Hoggart gets it wrong

Simon Hoggart devotes the greater part of his column in today's Guardian to an assassination of Christopher Hitchens' character.

Well, it's a free country and in a way his choice is appropriate. As Hoggart points out, no one was keener on attacking other people's idols than Hitchens.

And, with a characteristic prissy expletive, Hoggart does allow Hitchens one virtue:
But he could write. Heavens, he could write.
And that is where the problems start. Because Hoggart goes on to observe:
I can claim some tiny credit; in one of his later Vanity Fair columns, written under the death sentence, he generously said that I had told him to write as he spoke, and that had liberated his style. 
I don't recall the incident, but it's what I said to anyone who asked, so I'm sure it's true.
In other words, we owe the volume and brilliance of Hitchens' writing to Hoggart's wisdom. However, Hoggart is much too important to remember having shared it with him.

1 comment:

Paul Walter said...

I have always found that the best antidote to Simon Hoggart is Michael White.