Hitchens on the Art of the Feud – NYTimes.com:

according to some famous combatants, the death of the literary feud has been greatly exaggerated: the fighting will go on as long as there are writers willing to defend high principles, or at least able to pull off some devastating lines.

Perhaps no one has distinguished himself as a feudist in the past few decades more than Christopher Hitchens, who in an e-mail gave some helpful hints on how to start a feud — and, more important, how to keep it going.

A proper feud, Mr. Hitchens wrote, requires one of at least two things: a clash of strong and recognizable personalities, and a true clash of important principle. “A really first-rate bust-up must transcend the limits of ‘an entertaining side show’ and involve playing for high moral and intellectual stakes,” he said.

Hitchens’s musing on the wars of the muses comes in response to a report on the death of the literary feud, a fine art and one well worth aspiring to. If nothing else, it gives new meaning to “culture wars.”

Comments

  1. #1 Anonymous
    June 13, 2011

    Once Hitch has gone, there will be very few fierce standard-bearers of the type that could be such a vigorous ally to, for instance, Rushdie. I remember when Rushdie was a rallying cause for artists and intellectuals, and a shining example of free speech under pressure. I don’t see the same state of celebrity for Molly Norris, gone into hiding. We as artists/skeptics/literate citizens/liberals have failed her, and abandoned a once-precious ideal.

  2. #2 Laurent Weppe
    June 14, 2011

    according to some famous combatants, the death of the literary feud has been greatly exaggerated

    Nowaday, it is known by most under the name “Trollism”