Christopher Hitchens Has Died

By now I'm sure everyone has heard that Christopher Hitchens has died. I don't have much to add to what everyone else has said, so I'll keep this short. I regard God is Not Great as a masterpiece, and if that had been the only thing he ever wrote, then, as we like to say at Passover, dayenu. Whatever the topic, to read Hitchens, or to hear him speak, was to gain an appreciation for what the English language could me made to do.

Hitchens wasn't always right (his disastrous support for the Iraq war and his cartoonish hatred of the Clintons come immediately to mind), but he was so eloquent and intelligent about everything that it was impossible, upon learning that he was on the opposite side from you, to avoid the sinking feeling that maybe you were the one who was wrong. He will be missed.

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I recently picked up an old National Geographic from 1992, and read an article on the Kurds, including the depredations of Saddam Hussein on their populations in Iraq. I noticed the byline: Christopher Hitchens.

He spent quite a lot of time with Kurds, and perhaps absorbed their hatred of Saddam (for the very real cruelties inflicted by that dictator) to the point where he felt that anything that destroyed Saddam Hussein's power -- even under false pretexts -- was worthwhile.

Just a thought.

By Owlmirror (not verified) on 16 Dec 2011 #permalink

I'm clearly the anti-Jason. God is not Great is, to my mind, probably the only thing by Hitchens not worth reading. Even the pro-Iraq war stuff, while biassed, was at least insightful.
He'll be missed.

By Pseudonym (not verified) on 16 Dec 2011 #permalink

@Owlmirror:

I'd have to go back and look, but I believe he wrote in Hitch-22 that his support for the war in Iraq was indeed based in part on the plight of the Kurds.

Reposting what I wrote on Neil DeGrasse Tyson's FB page: I feel like a star has exploded and shrunk, and gives no more light, but still has mass, and heat, and a gravitational pull even while unseen. No supernatural here, just the effect of one man on other people. Thank you, Hitch.

... and stopped supporting the Ottomans

Well that's good. You shouldn't support ottomans, an ottoman should support you - or at least your feet.

By Bayesian Bouff… (not verified) on 17 Dec 2011 #permalink

It was so sad for me to hear the news about Hitchens' death right after I finally read his book "God is not Great". I can only imagine how Christians would justify the fact that he died of cancer.

@mnbmnb My grandfather was a smoker and alcoholic, and died of effectively-self-inflicted cancer well before his time. What kind of justification would you expect?

By Pseudonym (not verified) on 17 Dec 2011 #permalink

@Pseudonym

If you take everything that Christianity teaches into perspective, then people shouldn't even have any illnesses. However, they do, and the only explanation and justification that Christianity provides for this fact is that it is a punishment from God.