Friday, December 16, 2011

Christopher Hitchens - 1949-2011

I was sad to read this morning that Christopher Hitchens lost his battle with cancer at the age of 62. I won't pretend I agreed with him on many things - in particular I found his treatment of history to be very one dimensional. None of that really mattered because of his panache and eloquence. His articles and his debates were always entertaining; even 'God is not Great' in places is the sort of rollicking good polemic which is so rare these days.

By way of tribute here is a young Christopher Hitchens debating foreign policy in the Reagan years and chain smoking (skip to 47.48 to see him deliver the Hitch smackdown on a caller).

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4 comments:

Bobcat said...

While I feel for his loved ones, I never quite got the appeal of the guy. It's not just because I disagreed with him on many things. He just wasn't nearly as intelligent or charming as he's made out to be.

I recall one article her wrote in which he claimed that women weren't funny because evolution favored funny men, while it was irrelevant for women... ignoring that those funny genes would be passed on to the female offspring as well.

Tosh said...

Bobcat,

women also get the penis genes without actually developing a penis in most cases I'm familiar with. Clearly the same set of genes can lead to a different phenotype depending on the whole genetic environment they find themselves in. That doesn't mean the funny gene bit is true of course, it certainly is possible though.

Jonny said...

Hitchens was a leftist. And that is why he was extoled as such a brilliant thinker and a GREAT and magnificent luminary of philosophical majesty. He owed his success to his fawning worship of Marx. Nothing else.

He was a complete sellout to the utterly bankrupt philosophy of class warfare and Marxist bigotry.

What a "great" man. Not

Jay said...

No, you fools. Hitchens wasn't a great thinker, but he was a great--I won't pussy out and say "very good" or something--writer, speaker, and general stylist of words. I say this as an orthodox Catholic who was against the war in Iraq and hostile to most of his other views. I saw him speak at the University of Tennessee in 2009, and he was both hugely charismatic and charming and possessed of an astounding facility with words. He talked better than most people wrote, and wrote better than nearly everyone.

That said, he was polemical to the point of punditry--and on a lot of things, just kind of stupid--and no one will know who he is in fifteen or twenty years. But everything he wrote and said, even when it was wrong and stupid, was striking and comely and interesting. He was wrong, but he was brilliantly, admirably wrong.