Skip to main content

So long, Christopher



I meant to publish this obituary earlier.  I see it has since been revised.  Christopher Hitchens managed to embed himself in American society and with his ascerbic wit find ways to skewer it that few other contemporary American journalists seemed capable of doing.  I thought his support for the Iraq war absurd, and it led to a breach between him and the liberal media, but in recent years he seemed to find favor again with his caustic attacks on Sarah Palin, the Tea Party and Conservatism in general.

I've enjoyed his op-ed pieces over the years, if not his books.  I thought it was presumptuous of him to feel he had reached the same "power of facing" as Orwell over the situation in Iraq.  Still, he certainly had the "power" of a good argument, even up to his last days. 

His positions remind me a lot of Thomas Paine.  Not surprisingly he was a big fan of Paine.  His critical examination of religion and its influence on politics at times appears straight out of The Age of Reason.   Unfortunately, now as then, we have been unable to come to terms with it in any meaningful way.  He will be missed.

Comments

  1. Only a few corrections at the end....

    But then he was a difficult person to pin down, even if those exact details appended were probably easy enough to source if they had fact checkers like in the old days.

    I liked Hitchens simply because he was one of the last really smart public figures. Didn't have to agree with him, and he went out of his way to be disagreeable, to enjoy a good argument and a well educated mind. I wanted to read his autobiography when it came out last year, but haven't had the time. I'm sure I will at some point.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Should be a fun read. The news media has been sorely lacking intelligent commentators. I got a kick out of watching this odd segment between Hitch and Hannity.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=We7DyKWw61I&feature=related

    Hitch should have known better than to go on a show like this, but he still managed to get his points across and a few digs in as well.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I used to subscribe to the Nation when he was a regular contributor. I used to love his columns in those days. I even read a few of his contributions to Vanity Fair. Never boring, I guess that's what could finally be said about him. And still writing from his death bed in the hospital, which astounds me.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hitch was a very enigmatic character. Wish I could have met him at least once. I'm sure we could have had a few interesting exchanges of ideas. While I liked him a lot, I know that he would have heard the words "SOB" or maybe taken a jab or two on the noggin from me. And yes, he was NEVER boring.

    Will be sorely missed for sure.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

A Post!

How about this one -- I'm really looking forward to reading it:

http://www.amazon.com/Man-Who-Never-Died-American/dp/1596916966/

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

Welcome to this month's reading group selection.  David Von Drehle mentions The Melting Pot, a play by Israel Zangwill, that premiered on Broadway in 1908.  At that time theater was accessible to a broad section of the public, not the exclusive domain it has become over the decades.  Zangwill carried a hopeful message that America was a place where old hatreds and prejudices were pointless, and that in this new country immigrants would find a more open society.  I suppose the reference was more an ironic one for Von Drehle, as he notes the racial and ethnic hatreds were on display everywhere, and at best Zangwill's play helped persons forget for a moment how deep these divides ran.  Nevertheless, "the melting pot" made its way into the American lexicon, even if New York could best be describing as a boiling cauldron in the early twentieth century.

Triangle: The Fire That Changed America takes a broad view of events that led up the notorious fire, noting the growing s…

News with legs

It is nice having a range of cable news programs again.  For the last few years the only one we got from our analog cable subscriber was CNN, but with the new digital cable subscriber we get BBC, Euronews, and other premium channels if we so choose.  You realize how badly CNN has slipped behind other news networks, seeming to have adopted the Fox model of generating faux arguments with their round table discussions.  Kate Bolduan has emerged as their answer to Megyn Kelly, replete with plexiglass tables so you can see her legs better.  Chris Cuomo has become their "Hannity," stirring up unnecessary arguments mostly to hear himself talk, albeit to the left of the political spectrum.  Wolf Blitzer lords over the station like Baba O'Reilly, although he tries hard to keep his political views right down the middle.

I suppose the success of Kate Bolduan can be measured by SNL now lampooning At This Hour, and also the fan base she now has thanks to her sexy legs.  She also anc…