Friday, December 16, 2011

Christopher Hitchens 1949- 2011 RIP

Damn but we are losing some good ones. I hardly always agreed with "Hitch" (who could?) but AM inclined to agree with Jonathan Hanson: "The collective IQ of the planet just dropped noticeably."

Update: hunter, man of letters, and Catholic Tom McIntyre is another not uncritical admirer. He writes:

"According to NPR, Hitch's most important legacy is his atheism. Nothing about his support of the Iraq-Afghan wars and George W., his tremendous body of critical and literary essays, his courage to single out Islamo-Fascism as the evil it is (according to NPR, he equated all "evangelicals" with the mullahs–no difference), his devastating indictments of Kissinger and Clinton, his marvelous wit and command of English, his vast store of knowledge, no, it's the fact that when he was nine-years old he had the brilliant insight that there is no God. Have you ever noticed that people always base their atheism on the incredible discovery they, alone, made as a child or a teen–about the same time they learn there's no Santa Claus–and then cling to it doggedly the rest of their lives? In short, it's a jejune inspiration that they never grow out of. It isn't about atheism or no atheism but about putting so much "faith" in an idea you came up with when you were nine. I hope that I have at least examined some of the conclusions I arrived at at that age. According to NPR, Hitchens never wavered in his "belief."

"Personally, I really appreciated the broad range of all of Hitchens's prickly thought, agreeable, or comfortable, or not. A great, freewheeling yet rigorous intellect at work, hardly one solely devoted to the disbelief in a deity."


Anonymous said...

It's ironic that your RIP lists date of death as 2001.

For, indeed, The post 2001 Hitchens was a shade of his former brilliance. He did not merely call out Islamofascism — by seeking his own Spanish Civil War, he lent his pen warmed up in Hell to a misguided imperial project that was at least in part inspired by the same evangelical strain he despised.
An erudite, articulate man became increasingly simplistic in his argumentation and reduced himself to the status of a neocon pet.
Sad, really.
Taken as a whole, I would not consider Hitchens a "good one" at all.
Jim Cornelius

Steve Bodio said...

But for your last line I am not sure I would disagree. But he never lost the gift of being able to surprise the reader with a flash of brilliance or unpredictable opinion. And as far as I can see, he never tempered his opinions because anyone disagreed, even friends.

Also nobody seems to be pointing out his brilliant, un- political (a leftist who liked Kipling & Waugh, never mind Churchill!) literary essays, which will probably still be read when his political writings are a historical footnote.

BTW enjoying yr essays on Ben McCullough on Frontier Partisan-- check 'em out, folks!

Steve Bodio said...

McCulloCH, sorry! I once spelled my friend John McLoughlin's surname one letter wrong early in our acquaintance (McLAughlin), and heard about it for months!

Steve Bodio said...

... and looking at the previous spelling will just quit. No posting after just shoveling snow...

Anonymous said...

Well, the last line was probably over the top. I suppose I wouldn't care if he hadn't had value (and some impact on me), right? And You're right about the literary essays, of course.

Thanks for the kind word on the McCulloch pieces. I'll get Part III up after Christmas.

Wish I could say I'd been shoveling snow — it's been a most bizarre, dry December in Oregon.