WHAT DID YOU THINK OF CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS?

I  always considered myself fortunate when I stumbled on a Television discussion in which Christopher Hitchens was a participant. Literate, acerbic, humorous – I would argue that Hitchens was the most prolific and opionated journalist of the last 30 years.  As Vanity Fair’s Graydon Carter put it:  “Christopher Hitchens was a wit, charmer and trouble-maker, and to those who knew him well, he was a gift from, dare I say it, God.”

In my view Hitchens was our age’s most erudite essayist, right up there with Hazlitt, Ruskin and George Orwell.  I recently read his premier book  God is Not Great:  How Religion Poisons Everything.  In it he demolishes institutional religion using a scalpel and a broadsword.  He considered Henry Kissinger a fascist and Mother Theresa a fraud.

Hitchens had the most ecletic group of friends and admirers.  Rick Warrent, the fundamentalist pastor of Saddleback Church writes, “My friend Christopher Hitchens has died.  I loved and prayed for him constantly and grieve his loss.  He knows the Truth now.”

Like the Montreal philosopher, Charles Taylor, Hitchens was a public intellectual of the first order.  His support for the Iraq war was a rare error.

I do not expect to see his equal again my life time. RIP.  May he rest in peace.

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18 Comments »

  1. 1
    Jim Says:

    There is so much to be said about Hitchens, that I am having a hard time consolidating my thoughts. So what I will do is lay them down staccato style.
    Hitchens followed his concious with saintly (oops) conviction.
    He illustrated the sillyness of the chattering elite.
    His professional opinions have to be seen in the light of modern entertainment. Great wit does not equal truth.
    Hitchens’ brother Peter said recently ‘the one word that comes to mind when I think of him is ‘courage’….a courage which overcomes a real fear, while actually experiencing it. This courage enabled him to raise against tyranny and hypocrisy in religion and politics’.
    I was quite surprised one day when he said ‘literature not scripture sustains the mind and – since there is no other metaphor – also the soul (oops).
    When he savaged Mother Teresa, the thought struck me was, who would be more likely to be walking in the dark holes of Calcutta helping the poor, Teresa or Hitchens?
    Wikipedia quoted this line from Hitchens ‘a person could be an atheist and wish that belief in god was correct, but that an antitheist is someone who is relieved that there is no evidence for that assertion’.
    Hitchens touched many people in his lifetime, including a couple of males he cruised at the same time.
    Isn’t it odd that he he made his way through life with a monicker like Christ opher.
    Finally, if design is intristic to nature, is it not reasonable to accept the premise that there is a designer around.
    Hitch, if you truly believed in every thing you said, then you will end up in a good place.
    Have a nice trip, I’ve tried to put some balance into this comment. Remember,I will always defend your right to say what you said.
    Note to St. Peter – Please let him in, he knows not of what he saith.

  2. 2
    Neil McKenty Says:

    Jim,

    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts about Hitch. Perhaps he was like oysters. Only those with intelligent and sophisticated tastes could abide him.

  3. 3
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    I felt about Hitchens exactly as you describe him in your first paragraph, Neil. It was a treat to both read him and watch his performances on TV.

    If you want the best of Hitch, go to youtube and search “hitchens”. There are dozens and dozens of priceless clips.

  4. 4

    Jim: Bravo! You’ve said it all.

  5. 5
    jatheist Says:

    Jim asked: “who would be more likely to be walking in the dark holes of Calcutta helping the poor, Teresa or Hitchens?”

    It depends what your definition of “help” is… Mother Teresa would have helped the poor suffer more, she was good at that. Notice that when Teresa got sick she flew to the best clinics in the world avoiding her houses of pain like the plague!

    Hitch was awesome, plain and simple. He left an amazing legacy and will be missed.

  6. 6
    Jim Says:

    Jatheist – Your asinine remark that “Mother Teresa would have helped the poor suffer more”, is a remark that someone from the lunatic fringe would drool. You put your Atheist Cult to shame, and if any one of them is reading this, they may have you ousted. Re your asking for my definition of ‘help’, let me put it this way. Mother Teresa “helped” herself to some of the $1,500,000 she was awarded, by the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, to pay for her health needs. After all she ran over 600 clinics in over 100 countries and she had to get back soonest, to attend…..

  7. 7

    Jim wrote: “Teresa “helped” herself to some of the $1,500,000 she was awarded, by the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, to pay for her health needs.”

    She stole a hellofa lot more money than that Jim! She took millions from her friends the Duvalier family. When she got word that the money was stolen ~by~ the barbaric Duvalier family she refused to return it. The Duvaliers had been arrested, but she didn’t care. She also refused to have her finances, and her clinic’s finances, audits published.

    “After all she ran over 600 clinics in over 100 countries and she had to get back soonest, to attend…”

    (btw – jatheist is a handle I used on another blog, the comment by jatheist above is actually me.)

    Doesn’t it strike you as the least bit odd that when she herself got sick she flew, first class, to the best medical facilities in the world? Why not go to one of her clinics?
    It’s obvious that she wasn’t interested in ~her~ clinics because of the mantra she had in place: No pain relief is allowed. Suffering is a “gift” from God.
    Seriously – she wouldn’t allow ~any~ pain relief to be administered in her clinics… how cruel is that?!

    She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction. She was no hero – she was a sick sick narcissist.

  8. 8

    Oh – and the Duvalier family were the dictators from Haiti. Butchers and nasty beyond my ability to comprehend… but good good friends of Mother Teresa and the Catholic church.

  9. 9
    Jim Says:

    Sorry, I can’t address you because I don’t know which melon to direct my message. “What’s in a name,that which we call a weed by any other name, would smell as putried?

  10. 10

    In every group there seems to be a “conspiracy theorist”. There is always the story behind the story for them in every case. It matters not that she flew 1st class, she was very old. I don’t think that she lived high off the hog, judging by her wardrobe, so whatever she did with the money was probably a drop in the bucket when it comes to serving thousands with very basic needs. If she got money from the Duvaliers-good for her! She just redirected it. I don’t know what her estate was worth when she died or her beneficiaries.
    One thing for sure. I wouldn’t have the heart to work in the trenches the way she did! Bless her heart.

  11. 11

    @littlepatti:

    The whole point is that she HARMED these poor desperate people. She didn’t help – she refused to give them basic pain medication! She really thought it was in their best interest to suffer for God.

    She knew her clinics don’t actually help – why else would she avoid them when ~she~ got sick?

    And these aren’t “conspiracy theories” – they are facts which have never been refuted.

    She was an elitist… she spent a great deal of effort making sure divorce remained illegal in Ireland. She claimed divorce was a “great evil” in the world… but what did she say when her friend, Lady Di, got divorced from Prince Charles? She fully supported her friend’s divorce.

    The world was a worse place with her in it.

  12. 12

    Your theories have never been refuted because they are too stupid for words.
    Therefore I am not going to comment any further.
    PS: Your Grade 8 is showing!

  13. 13

    You could quit and call my words “stupid”… or you could hit google and actually look for yourself.

    There is no getting around the fact that Mother Teresa made people with terrible lives have to endure worse. She made people sicker, she made people endure more pain than they needed to. She was vile and a fraud – and if you’re too scared to look into it for fear of having your world shaken then that’s just a shame.

  14. 14

    Well, Joe, you knew there are always gonna be folks who don’t want to hear anything adverse about their purported heroes, eh? MT was NOT the “good person” her press machine made her out to be, but some folks just don’t wanna hear it…

    And in a choice between her or Hitch, I’d definitely choose Hitchens!

  15. 15

    littlepatti wrote: “If she got money from the Duvaliers-good for her!”

    What about the poor Haitians from whom this money was stolen? The money ~should~ have gone back to them… they clearly needed (and still need) it.

    Considering the state of the clinics MT opened the money wasn’t going there (why else were they in such bad shape?). An audit would show how the money was spent but she refused to divulge that information. The first clinic she opened, in Calcutta, was in worse shape the day she dies than when she opened it. It was a house of pain – not a medical facility.

  16. 16

    Thank you LadyJanus – I know it’s always hard for people to hear negative things about their heroes… responses turn to digs about one’s education level! 😉

  17. 17

    You know the adage, Joe: when you have no argument, use personal insults…that serves to derail the argument and distract your enemy (or so they hoped, anyway)… ;D

  18. 18

    Lady Janus wrote: “when you have no argument, use personal insults…”

    It didn’t take long to devolve into that this time… normally they scratch and claw to posit some sorry argument before calling me uneducated and stupid… I guess this is progress? 😉


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