Monday 19 December 2011

Long Live the Hitch!

Hitch at home, Washington D.C.
April 26, 2007.  
Christopher Hitchens died on December 15th and the memorials since have been prolific and warm.

A mark of the greatness of this essayist and polemicist -- perhaps the best since his hero Orwell --  is that the obits were as generous from the left as the right.  In the "counter-jihad" and usually right-ish bloggosphere, he was remembered for his sound stance on the "religion of peace", even as he savaged their icons like Kissinger.  For example, Robert Spencer salutes him here. (With great vid of Hitch tearing apart the world's favourite "moderate" Muslim, Tariq Ramadan). While on the left, his deft wit and independence were celebrated, even as he savaged their icons like Michael Moore.

Graydon Carter, the editor of the rather lefty Vanity Fair said something like -- and I paraphrase -- "if you read Hitchens, you felt you knew him; if you knew him, you felt blessed".  That's one wonderful RIP, right there. Carter's in memoriam is here.

From, where he wrote a regular column "Fighting Words", the main link to memorials and his essays is here.

From Vanity Fair: the main links and essays are here.

Author Ian McEwen, in the New York Times, "Christopher Hitchens, consummate writer, brilliant friend".

He was described as the world's most important public intellectual. I read all his stuff and was a great fan.  Though he did surprise me a touch with his bottom line on Israel, towards the end of his memoir "Hitch-22"...

We miss you, Hitch!  Long live Hitch!
PS: there's a rare vid of Hitch taking apart Chris Hedges a leftie columnist at Truthdig and making some pungent points on Islam and suicide bombing, here.
A sample:
.... the evil nonsense taught by Hedges and friends of his, who say the suicide bombers in Palestine are driven to it by despair. Have you read the manifestos of these suicide bombers? Have you seen the videos they make? Have you seen the manifestos they put out? The propaganda that they generate? These are not people in despair. These are people in a state of religious exultation. Who are promised everything. Who are in a state of hope. Who are in a state of adoration for their evil mullahs. And for their filthy religion. It’s this that makes them think they have the right to kill others while taking their own lives. If despair among Palestinians was enough to create psychopathic criminal behavior, there’s been enough despair for a long time, and enough misery to go around. It is to excuse the vicious, filthy forces of Islamic jihad to offer any other explanation but that it is their own evil preaching, their own vile religion, their own racism, their own apocalyptic ideology that makes them think they have the right to kill everyone in this room, and go to paradise as a reward. I won’t listen, nor should you, to anyone who euphemizes or excuses this evil wicked thing.
PPS: Death of the execrable Kim Jong-Il has just been announced. Here's Hitch on North Korea: "A Nation of Racist Dwarfs" (!), Slate, Feb 1 2010.