RIP Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens has passed away . He died of pneumonia, a complication of his oesophageal cancer. He was 62.

Here is his last political column, written for Slate 3 weeks ago. His final personal column, written for Vanity Fair and the Jan. 2012 issue, is here.

Also at Vanity Fair, Graydon Carter writes Christopher Hitchens: In Memoriam. VF's Christopher Hitchens page is here.

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    this makes me sad (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 06:03:37 AM EST
    he could sometimes rub my rhubarb but he was one of the last intellectuals in the media universe.

    and there was far to many atheists in the world already.  I guess its now up to me and Maher

    I always loved how he gave the Right (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 06:14:42 AM EST
    hell about their Jesus addiction :)

    oops (none / 0) (#6)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 06:52:10 AM EST
    obviously I meant to say there was far to FEW atheists in the world

    IMO (none / 0) (#22)
    by NYShooter on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 11:07:52 AM EST
    "there was far to[o] FEW atheists in the world"

    that admit to being atheists....


    speaking of the last (none / 0) (#7)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 06:56:20 AM EST
    intellectual, I was having a conversation with my niece and sister yesterday about my nephew (great nephew actually).  the problem.  he is very smart.  smart enough that school work bores him and he ignores it.  when asked why he says when he shows he is smart people act weird toward him.  so he tries to dumb himself down.

    now, I did the same thing when I was his age to a certain extent but its still sad.  and I think its getting worse.  actually I know its getting worse. rent the movie Idiocracy.  its coming true all around us.  another reason to mourn Hitch.

    he is 11


    Strange (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 08:53:11 AM EST
    I had this conversation with my daughter yesterday too.  She said the same thing about her time in high school.  She also said that she thinks dumber people lead happier lives.  They don't see and understand that they are a rat in the wheel.  The smart people know they are rats in wheels and it makes them miserable.

    It was unpopular to be female and be intelligent when I was younger.  I thought it placed my life at risk in certain ways though to be a dumb girl, to submit to dumb unintimidating girl mentality.  I thought that must be challenged, but the feminist movement was fresh and strong then too and nobody had convinced women to begin to rationalize their strength away....bargain it away once again for false safeties.

    Knowledge and how to use it is power though, often the only power we will have in our lives sometimes.  Lusting to figure out how to use it ethically and well leads to character because so much falling down is involved, at least it has been that way for me.


    My nephew too has gotten himself in (none / 0) (#9)
    by ruffian on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 07:04:11 AM EST
    considerable trouble trying to fit in. I think with him part of it is that sometimes being very bright and being an extrovert don't mix very well.  He loves to read and study, and gets great grades, but he can do so with minimal effort and the rest of the time he is out raising hell.

    same here (none / 0) (#11)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 07:12:19 AM EST
    plus with this one I think we have the added bonus of inpending gayness.  I could be wrong but my gaydar usually works pretty well.

    All we can do is help them the best we can (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by ruffian on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 08:42:14 AM EST
    and hope for the best. My sister and I are dying to see if he becomes POTUS or the leader of a prison gang. Could easily go either way.

    I was taught (5.00 / 4) (#13)
    by honora on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 07:45:39 AM EST
    that if you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything.  Silence

    Gave me a chuckle (none / 0) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 08:55:16 AM EST
    While I appreciated his intellect... (5.00 / 4) (#14)
    by Dadler on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 07:54:38 AM EST
    ...I have a hard time forgiving him for shilling for the Iraq war in a manner both dishonest and sociopathic.  And I watched him do it on TV several times, and each time he was sweating, his jaw was twitching, he exhibited all the hallmarks of a guy who was spouting bullsh*t he really didn't believe.  At least I hope he didn't believe it, because if he did, well, his intellect wasn't an nth of what we thought it was.  Because it was Iraq that really gave him the chance to be a contrarian of merit, that gave him the opportunity to REALLY go against the tide.  And guess what?  He folded.  

    RIP, condolences to the family.

    From listening to his book I do believe he was (none / 0) (#21)
    by ruffian on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 09:38:11 AM EST
    honest in his belief that the war was the right thing to do. He did believe there was or was going to be a link between Saddam and Al Queda and that the idea of being able to control Saddam was ridiculous.

    I don't agree with any of that, but I do think he did believe it. The sputtering was because it was obviously impossible to prove. Must have been an odd position to be in -  someone who did not believe in god because of lack of proof trying to advocate for something just as unprovable.


    Did he (5.00 / 3) (#30)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 12:51:58 PM EST
    ever admit that it was a mistake though? His utter condescending sanctimony towards anyone who had doubts about Bush was just as obnoxious as Andrew Sullivan's.

    I really just don't have much good to say about the guy. He became the darling of the conservatives back in the 90's and then believed everything Bush said.


    Nope, did not think it was a mistake (none / 0) (#32)
    by ruffian on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 04:27:20 PM EST
    Just that the post invasion part was horribly mismanaged. Duh.

    Charlie Pierce has a good (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by ruffian on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 12:43:31 PM EST
    May he rest easier than (none / 0) (#1)
    by observed on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 03:19:34 AM EST
    Mother Teresa and Henry Kissinger.

    God May Not Have Been Great (none / 0) (#2)
    by john horse on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 05:50:57 AM EST
    but Hitchens was pretty damned good.  He will be missed.

    I could always stand to read him (none / 0) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 05:58:49 AM EST
    Might not agree much, and then there were the few times I agreed wildly, but he always could at least entertain me.  RIP Mr. Hitchens, you will be missed.

    RIP Hitch (none / 0) (#8)
    by ruffian on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 06:59:02 AM EST
    Like most here I did not always agree, but he always made the best arguments for his positions.

    I listened to the audiobook of his memoir, Hitch-22, a few months ago. Must have been one of the last things he did aloud before the cancer took his speech.  I recommend it - more and more I realize that the story of the last 60 years needs to be told from as many viewpoints as possible. Put his book together with Keith Richards' and you get a good picture of growing up in post-WWII England.

    RIP (none / 0) (#17)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 08:54:46 AM EST
    You going to write a defense of Hell now, Hitch?

    Perhaps (none / 0) (#19)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 08:55:53 AM EST
    Sad (none / 0) (#20)
    by koshembos on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 08:57:55 AM EST
    The death of a non violent and non destructive individual is always sad. Hitchens belonged to the cultural 1%. He was brilliant in writing and speaking, exceptional in hating (Clinton and Israel) and lacked depth as a thinker. His family and endless cultural one-precenters will miss him dearly. We the cultural 99% will not.

    ever written. Didn't know who he was until this thread. I guess I'll have to go read some of his stuff now. RIP.

    I hadn't either (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by CST on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 12:04:01 PM EST
    he certainly has a personal style

    I'd call it "smarter than you"

    That being said, I did find it an interesting read, and he definitely has a way with words


    In his memoir he talks about his college days (none / 0) (#28)
    by ruffian on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 12:30:08 PM EST
    at Cambridge trading puns and playing word games with Martin Amis, Anthony Powell and other literary boy geniuses. "smarter than you" was definitely the object of the game.

    Reading it, I was on one hand impressed and on the other hand appalled at the self congratulatory snobbery. But it did induce me to read some Martin Amis, and for that I am grateful.


    Just watching vids yesterday (none / 0) (#24)
    by waldenpond on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 11:16:35 AM EST
    I was re-watching several.... There are many well spoken atheists but Hitchens was one of the best at debating the church.

    I Always Thought He (none / 0) (#31)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 02:26:05 PM EST
    ...picked and made himself believe potions that sold, he lacked consistency, and was a grade A tool.

    But I loved him on Maher, he argued for the pure joy of infuriating people and did it with using reason.

    Unapologetic atheist (none / 0) (#33)
    by Dr Molly on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 05:26:02 PM EST
    who killed in debates with pure logic.

    Oh yeah (none / 0) (#34)
    by chrisvee on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 05:46:55 PM EST
    the dude that didn't think women are funny and that maybe it had something to do with birthin' babies.


    i usually disagreed, vehemently, (none / 0) (#35)
    by The Addams Family on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 09:04:24 PM EST
    with latter-day Hitch, but he was a fine writer & a brave man - he followed the dictates of his conscience & spoke his truth even though he knew it would cost him, bitterly, his decades-long friendships on the left

    Martin Amis must be brokenhearted today - the two of them had a platonic love affair for the ages

    RIP, Christopher Hitchens - the world is a poorer place for your departure

    I couldn't agree with you more (none / 0) (#38)
    by NYShooter on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 03:47:05 PM EST
    regarding your heart rending analysis, and comments, regarding  Hitch.

    And, if you look a little closer you may find some points analogous to OWS.


    Ian McEwan on Hitchens: (none / 0) (#36)
    by oculus on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 10:49:04 PM EST
    WSWS on scoundrel Christopher Hitchens (none / 0) (#37)
    by Andreas on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 09:55:50 AM EST
    Chatter about Hitchens as a "contrarian," an "iconoclast" and so on is simply self-deception, and comparisons to George Orwell, on the latter's worst day, are equally absurd. Hitchens, for the last decade of his life and more, aligned himself with the American state, its CIA and military, as Washington embarked on a murderous drive to conquer the globe.

    Journalist, scoundrel Christopher Hitchens dies at 62
    By David Walsh, 17 December 2011

    Glenn Greenwald re Hitchens: (none / 0) (#39)
    by oculus on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 04:06:12 PM EST
    Hagiography. (none / 0) (#40)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 05:15:57 PM EST
    How so? (Did have to look up definition. ) (none / 0) (#41)
    by oculus on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 05:24:45 PM EST
    Just an observation of the word, (5.00 / 0) (#42)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 06:05:00 PM EST
    as it was used in the article you linked to. I also had to look it up, third word in two days. If nothing else, Hitchens' death is expanding my vocabulary.