Ian Hislop

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    • (on not being a scout)
      Ian Hislop: I talked to some Scouts and felt mildly embarrassed that I'd been snotty about it. There were some quite tough lads saying, "This is a brilliant thing and it's kept me on the straight and narrow, and we're very grateful about it." I felt I'd rather missed out.

    • Ian Hislop: Internet journalism is not a world we know very well at all. It's conducted more on the screen and less in bars, which makes it rather less useful for getting stories about people throwing up over one another, which is what one's after.

    • (on belief).
      Ian Hislop: My father died when I was 12, which I'm sure had some bearing on my belief. If you're an atheist, death drives you away by proving that it's all pointless; if you're not, it makes you go back and face it — it's one of the rituals that Anglicanism is terribly good at.

    • (on what "Private Eye" is for).
      Ian: We are the antedote to "Hello!" Magazine. We are there for people who don't always take a 100% positive view of everything.

    • (on whether or not he is a cynic).
      Ian Hislop: I'm often accused of being a cynic, which I'm not, because that implies someone with no belief in anything. I happily admit to being a sceptic, but I think there is a tradition of English satire which is Augustinian in its approach: you do it because you think you are taking the part of the people who you think are right.

    • (Ian on the Church of England).
      Ian Hislop: A Church that allows for science, biblical theology, unbiblical scholarship and changes in knowledge, and trusts its members to form their own opinions — that is its strength. I like it because it isn't inflexible; it has a woolly appeal for those of us with a woollier mind.

    • (Ian on who to target with satire in "Private Eye").
      Ian Hislop: No subjects are off limits in Private Eye, but in the end there has to be at least a moral justification for what you are doing — quite how religious that is, is open to question. I certainly don't believe in not speaking ill of the dead simply because they are dead: if you've been rude to people in life you have earned the right to carry on.

    • (Ian on the 40th Anniversary of "Private Eye").
      Ian Hislop: We are celebrating in typical style by getting sued for libel and upsetting our readers so much that they are cancelling their subscriptions in record numbers.

    • (Ian on William Hoggarth's contribution to satire, of which he plays a major part today).
      Ian Hislop: He's the great master of that tradition of English satire and we're all trailing in his wake.

    • (on the subject of satire and its importance)
      Ian Hislop: Satire is the bringing to ridicule of vice, folly and humbug. All the negatives imply a set of positives. Certainly in this country, you only go round saying, 'That's wrong, that's corrupt' if you have some feeling that it should be better than that. People say, 'You satirists attack everything.' Well, we don't, actually. That's the whole point.

    • (on who takes responsibility for his moral welfare)
      Ian Hislop: My father was a Presbyterian Scot and I was baptised as a baby, but without godparents, so there's no one to claim responsibility for my moral welfare, which is just as well.

    • (on his religious beliefs)
      Ian Hislop: I've tried atheism and I can't stick it: I keep having doubts. That probably sums up my position — if I'm a Don't Know, I'm a C of E Don't Know.

    • (speaking about the Museum of London's Satirical London exhibit from his own perspective as a satirist.
      Ian Hislop: London was an extraordinary city and it has an extraordinary amount of what satirists thrive on; 'Vice, Folly and Humbug'.

    • (on being Editor of satirical magazine Private Eye for more than 20 years).
      Ian Hislop: This job certainly doesn't win you a huge amount of friends, I accept that, but it is very enjoyable, and deep down I think it's probably quite a worthwhile job.

    • (when Sonia Sutcliffe, wife of the Yorkshire Ripper was awarded £600,000 damages from satirical magazine "Private Eye"
      Ian Hislop: If this is justice, then I'm a banana.

    • (on voting)
      Ian Hislop: I'm with George Orwell: it's as important to vote for politicians as it is to laugh at them.