Christopher Hitchens: 13 April 1949 – 15 December 2011




Don't believe I've talked much about Christopher Hitchens here. That's because I never felt I had all that much to say. I read his God is Not Great a couple of years ago and found it rather a personal rant instead of the even-handed argument I'd hoped it would be. That's the first time he came onto my radar and my impression was what an angry, angry man.

Since then I've read the odd column here and there, and since his diagnosis with esophogeal cancer I paid him more attention, reading part of his Hitch-22, eventually buying Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens on CD – something I rarely do as it's so cost-prohibitive. But I felt this was something I really wanted to take time with, to pay attention to this volatile man who certainly had no lack of opinion, to learn more about a man I feel sorry I neglected in my reading.

I know bits and pieces about the man, that some of his opinions dovetailed with my own and others diverged wildly. I respect the journalist he was expressly because of his fervent, even rabid opinions, his inability to keep his mouth shut, his bravery in saying what he thought rather than bowing to political correctness. In some respects I wish I were more like him, though I follow that up quickly with "but not in ALL."

Summing up, I feel the loss of him. I was sorry to hear of his passing and seeing the news come through Twitter in the wee hours of this morning kept me awake 'til almost dawn. Honestly, I had the impression he would have more time on this earth. Alas, not.

Wherever he is now, if in fact he's anywhere at all, I hope he's found his peace, so richly deserved.


“Hatred, though it provides often rather junky energy, is a terrific way of getting you out of bed in the morning and keeping you going. If you don’t let it get out of hand, it can be canalized into writing.”

– Christopher Hitchens


Daily Hitchens

Vanity Fair


NY Times



4 thoughts on “Christopher Hitchens: 13 April 1949 – 15 December 2011

  1. I feel the same way about him as you do. My first experience was that awful book. I thought all he “proved” was that people poison religion. And that a few personal experiences and anecdotes obviously made him the expert. I found out he was a big Bush supporter and all that and wrote him off.
    But then I’d hear some quotes here & there that were quite articulate & eloquent & I thought “which person is this guy?” One minute he’d be saying something amazing & the next, something asinine.
    But he was who he was. I’m not awesome 100% of the time, either. I’d say “god bless him,” but I don’t really believe in god and he certainly didn’t, so… peace.


  2. He had a really tough life. I read somewhere his much-beloved mom participated in a murder/suicide pact with an ex-priest lover. Don’t know if that’s true but you can look in his eyes and see a sadness. No one with that much anger isn’t using it to mask terrible pain.
    His autobiography (it was pre-planned) comes out next year. I’ll definitely be reading that.


  3. “Did you hear about Christopher Hitchens?” I asked the Resident Fan Boy when he came home from work the other day.
    “Yes,” he said. “I had a little extra skip in my step today.”
    I don’t know if I’d take it that far. I didn’t know the man. But here’s something from someone who did:
    I don’t think he was a monster and I know he was very bright, but I have little time for anyone who looks down on people on the basis of their liberal views or their sex.
    Brilliance really doesn’t excuse boorishness and bullying, even if one is dead.


  4. Persephone – I can definitely understand why people have negative reactions to the man. It took me a while after ‘God is Not Great’ to try him again. And it wasn’t the atheism he espoused. I’m not much of a believer, myself. It was the anger that at times seemed aimed at whatever, or whomever, happened to step in front of his path.
    He probably wasn’t much different from many hard-drinking, blustering journalists. Hemingway comes to mind. He once crashed into an editor’s office and ripped off his shirt (Hemingway’s own, that is!) in a drunken rant about something or other. Not exactly your well-adjusted action.
    I still have this maternal sort of “underneath he must have been good” feeling about him. And I know his mind was razor-sharp. And, regardless of who he was, the cancer that killed him is vile. He most definitely suffered. And when he lost his voice he kept writing. I admire that. And I feel sorry for his pain.
    But yes, not someone to point to as a role model. Thoroughly agreed.


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