christopher hitchens dead at 62. [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

christopher hitchens dead at 62.

allpro
12-16-2011, 09:22 AM
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/16/us-christopherhitchens-idUSTRE7BF0FI20111216

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/16/arts/christopher-hitchens-is-dead-at-62-obituary.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&hp

r.i.p., hater.

Clydey
12-16-2011, 09:59 AM
Everyone knew it was coming, but it is absolutely gutting news. He will be sorely missed.

scoobs
12-16-2011, 10:01 AM
Very sad news.

I didn't agree with him on everything and I still think he was wrong to support the Iraq war, but we could do with more people like him, who will stand up unapologetically and puncture the myths and pretensions of the structures of organised religion.

gaitare
12-16-2011, 10:07 AM
He lost me in his writing at times because he quite often failed to convey the point to the very end, but a great stylist, always enjoyable to read and always made me think, so sad to see him go.

Waiting for the first "God punished him" post.

jonathancrane
12-16-2011, 10:15 AM
Sad news
Great writer & polemist
RIP

scoobs
12-16-2011, 10:37 AM
He lost me in his writing at times because he quite often failed to convey the point to the very end, but a great stylist, always enjoyable to read and always made me think, so sad to see him go.

Waiting for the first "God punished him" post.
I take comfort from the fact that such posts he would find deeply amusing.

JayR
12-16-2011, 10:54 AM
Very sad news.

I didn't agree with him on everything and I still think he was wrong to support the Iraq war, but we could do with more people like him, who will stand up unapologetically and puncture the myths and pretensions of the structures of organised religion.

Agree. Fine writer who was always prepared to stick his head above the parapet regardless of societal niceties.

habibko
12-16-2011, 11:06 AM
:sad: :sad:

habibko
12-16-2011, 12:38 PM
the last advice he gave to atheists in his final interview

http://images.newstatesman.com/articles/2011//20111213_hitchens0454_w.jpg


"Never be afraid of stridency"
13 December 2011

Richard Dawkins: One of my main beefs with religion is the way they label children as a "Catholic child" or a "Muslim child". I've become a bit of a bore about it.

Christopher Hitchens: You must never be afraid of that charge, any more than stridency.

RD: I will remember that.

CH: If I was strident, it doesn't matter - I was a jobbing hack, I bang my drum. You have a discipline in which you are very distinguished. You've educated a lot of people; nobody denies that, not even your worst enemies. You see your discipline being attacked and defamed and attempts made to drive it out.

Stridency is the least you should muster . . . It's the shame of your colleagues that they don't form ranks and say, "Listen, we're going to defend our colleagues from these appalling and obfuscating elements."

habibko
12-16-2011, 12:48 PM
Hitchens Dead at 62; New York Times Redraws A1 for Obit
By Nicholas Jackson

Dec 16 2011, 12:31 AM ET 8

He's the only writer that I've ever written a fan letter to. It was a year and a half ago, give or take a couple of months, and I was on the train heading deep into the suburbs of Chicago to visit my parents when I was moved to tears by a first person account of his struggle with cancer that he had written for Vanity Fair. Over the years, he had put together some stunning first-person accounts: getting waterboarded, reading his way through the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, and subjecting himself to audiobooks -- but nothing like this. Dealing with esophageal cancer, Hitchens kept on doing the only thing he was certain he knew how to do: write. He wrote his way through the disease. Unfortunately, some things, it turns out, are more powerful than words.

He fought, though, to prove that wasn't the case. His columns would appear (almost) every week in Slate. His first-person essays in Vanity Fair every month. And, on occasion, he would turn up to critique a new release (or releases) in the Books section of The Atlantic. His essays, as powerful as ever in terms of quality of writing and strength of argument, would feel like something else entirely because dear reader knew that his or her narrator was fighting to push out the words, to craft the sentences.

This shouldn't be surprising. Anybody bothering to read this knows that Hitchens' work ethic was legendary, his abilities unmatched. During lengthy interviews, the interviewer would ask for a break -- to visit the bathroom and fetch a glass of water -- and Hitchens would scurry off to his in-home office in Washington, D.C.'s Dupont Circle to pound out a piece (or two!) on his keyboard. In his last piece for Vanity Fair, Hitchens looks as gaunt and tired as ever, clearly fighting an unbeatable disease. But I was naive enough to think that he would never leave us -- and I don't think I was alone.

I have been more moved tonight over Twitter than ever before. I write this from a hotel in Austin. I had just finished drinking a very smoky scotch at the hotel bar with a fine lady from Minnesota (Hitchens, I think, would approve), when I returned to my room to learn of this news. And I cried. For the first time in a long time, I cried. I saw the messages pour in and realized that this man will be sorely missed. But he will not be forgotten.

Tonight, I have confirmed that the New York Times has stopped the presses to redraw A1. That is, the most influential newspaper in the world has put its work and printing process on hold to make room on the front page for the obituary of a single man. If that isn't a testament to his work, I don't know what is.

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/12/chris-hitchens-dead-at-62-new-york-times-redraws-a1-for-obit/250093/

gaitare
12-16-2011, 01:30 PM
The intro to the editorial of Polish ubercatholic journalist Tomasz Terlikowski:


"One of the most persistent personal enemies of our God, Christopher Hitchens, has died due to cancer. For years he was the anti-evangelist, the preacher of twisted gospel regarding God's death and bankruptcy of religion. Now he knows he was wrong."


http://www.fronda.pl/news/czytaj/tytul/bog_jest_wielki_i_milosierny,_oby_takze_dla_hitche nsa_17638


"Now he knows he was wrong." This is just too good.

buddyholly
12-16-2011, 01:39 PM
No "RIP's please.

On the other hand, go ahead. Christopher would have been amused.

Seingeist
12-16-2011, 01:43 PM
It's a bit of a shame that he didn't pull an Antony Flew.

buddyholly
12-16-2011, 01:47 PM
It's a bit of a shame that he didn't pull an Antony Flew.

It was Hitchen's body that broke down, not his brain. That is why.

emotion
12-16-2011, 02:09 PM
Hitchens hurt his reputation with Iraq War, but will still be missed heavily. It's fortunate Dawkins really surpassed him in influence before his death.

Seingeist
12-16-2011, 03:21 PM
It was Hitchen's body that broke down, not his brain. That is why.

Re: "brain"

Hitchens was always more editorialist than scholar. The same cannot be said of Flew.

buddyholly
12-16-2011, 03:57 PM
You know that Flew may have been mentally unstable when he ''turned'' to God, don't you?

A case of ''Tone Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest'' maybe.

Pirata.
12-16-2011, 05:30 PM
Great guy, will be sorely missed. Hilarious to see people who have no clue who he is talking about how now he's no longer suffering and "he's with god now"

abraxas21
12-16-2011, 05:41 PM
warmongering clown with a penchant for atheism with a trolling point of view

i won't miss him. then again i never cared much about him. I hope he had a good life.

abraxas21
12-16-2011, 05:46 PM
Great guy, will be sorely missed. Hilarious to see people who have no clue who he is talking about how now he's no longer suffering and "he's with god now"

you know, when voltaire was in his deadbed, a priest came along and said to him "do you regret your sins and deny Satan with all your strenght?", to which Voltaire replied with his sore dying voice "come on, father, this is not the time to make any enemies!".

i never liked voltaire's sarcastic view of mankind much but i always thought that reply was awesome.

Seingeist
12-16-2011, 06:31 PM
You know that Flew may have been mentally unstable when he ''turned'' to God, don't you?

Based on what, bh?

You're begging the question.

Har-Tru
12-16-2011, 06:47 PM
A remarkable human being. He will be sorely missed.

I was never a fan of his views. Of the so-called "Four Horsemen" of the New Atheism, he is the one I liked the least. Needless to say, most of his points were still rock solid, and he made some excellent propositions.

Politically, he was too expeditive for my liking.

However, and in spite of my despise for the painfully hollow custom of treating every recently deceased person as if he or she had been the ultimate role model, I do think one should underline the positive sides of the demised.

What I really admired in Christopher Hitchens was his disregard for the established rules and his deep contempt for political correctness. I wish everyone had that same spirit and attitude to life.

He was effortlessly charismatic, witty and relentless.

You will not be forgotten, Hitch.

buddyholly
12-16-2011, 10:42 PM
Based on what, bh?

You're begging the question.

Only went as far as Wikipedia, which referred to an article in the NY Times that claimed his book on his conversion was written by someone else.
But the main impetus was my fabulous pun, which you ignored.:ras:

Seingeist
12-17-2011, 05:37 AM
Only went as far as Wikipedia, which referred to an article in the NY Times that claimed his book on his conversion was written by someone else.

I've watched clips in which he discusses his conversion and the reasons for it, so even if his book was written by someone else (which is not at all unusual at that age, that is, having someone assist you in the more laborious parts of the process), it is not the main or only source of evidence for his conversion.

But the main impetus was my fabulous pun, which you ignored.:ras:

And I am a great lover of puns, but unfortunately, my potential enjoyment of that (admittedly nice) one was mitigated by the suggestion that theists have defective brains.

ibreak4coffee
12-17-2011, 05:58 AM
I drank two bottles of wine myself tonight in his honor

buddyholly
12-17-2011, 03:16 PM
I drank two bottles of wine myself tonight in his honor

Somewhat misguided, I'm afraid. Just read that he once said the worst phrase in the English language was, "White or red?"
Johnny Walker Black, no ice, was his poison of choice.

habibko
12-17-2011, 04:59 PM
D-ZUXyGWvJY

abraxas21
12-17-2011, 09:07 PM
He will be sorely missed.

mostly by intolerant atheists and warmongering clowns who hate islam

abraxas21
12-17-2011, 09:09 PM
Very sad news.

I didn't agree with him on everything and I still think he was wrong to support the Iraq war, but we could do with more people like him, who will stand up unapologetically and puncture the myths and pretensions of the structures of organised religion.

if there were more people like him, the world would be in an even sadder state of affairs than it is right now

thanks but no thanks

ibreak4coffee
12-17-2011, 09:52 PM
Somewhat misguided, I'm afraid. Just read that he once said the worst phrase in the English language was, "White or red?"
Johnny Walker Black, no ice, was his poison of choice.

He would have applauded the idea, not necessarily the poison of choice as you point out ;)

buddyholly
12-17-2011, 10:18 PM
mostly by intolerant atheists and warmongering clowns who hate islam

Count me in.

abraxas21
12-17-2011, 10:22 PM
i was counting you in

buddyholly
12-17-2011, 10:24 PM
You really hate life, don't you? You ooze hate, like envious green pus.

Of course, if you are schooled in the Castro method of rhetoric, you will accuse everyone else of hatred in order to hide the truth.

abraxas21
12-17-2011, 11:29 PM
dont get cranky now... 'envious green pus' sounds a bit like a CD comment

ibreak4coffee
12-18-2011, 12:36 AM
You really hate life, don't you? You ooze hate, like envious green pus.

Of course, if you are schooled in the Castro method of rhetoric, you will accuse everyone else of hatred in order to hide the truth.

dont get cranky now... 'envious green pus' sounds a bit like a CD comment

You'd almost think GlennMirnyi had a double account.

His ban and we havent missed a beat on these NT boards...

buddyholly
12-18-2011, 04:39 AM
You'd almost think GlennMirnyi had a double account.


Jorge, Glennmirnyi and abraxas are MTF's Latino Holy Trinity of frustrated desires.

habibko
12-18-2011, 02:38 PM
6CEsDIvB_G0

abraxas21
12-18-2011, 02:47 PM
On the announcement of his death, I think it’s fair to allow Christopher Hitchens to do the things he loved to do most.

Speak for himself:

[On the use of cluster bombs by the US in Afghanistan] If you’re actually certain that you’re hitting only a concentration of enemy troops…then it’s pretty good because those steel pellets will go straight through somebody and out the other side and through somebody else. And if they’re bearing a Koran over their heart, it’ll go straight through that, too. So they won’t be able to say, “Ah, I was bearing a Koran over my heart and guess what, the missile stopped halfway through.” No way, ’cause it’ll go straight through that as well. They’ll be dead, in other words.

Speak about himself:

I should perhaps confess that on September 11 last, once I had experienced all the usual mammalian gamut of emotions, from rage to nausea, I also discovered that another sensation was contending for mastery. On examination, and to my own surprise and pleasure, it turned out be exhilaration. Here was the most frightful enemy–theocratic barbarism–in plain view….I realized that if the battle went on until the last day of my life, I would never get bored in prosecuting it to the utmost.

Hitchens had a reputation for being an internationalist. Yet someone who gets excited by mass murder—and then invokes that excitement, to a waiting audience, as an explanation of his support for mass murder—is not an internationalist. He is a narcissist, the most provincial spirit of all.

Only a writer of Hitchens’s talents could do justice to the culture that now so shamefully mourns him.

http://www.salon.com/2011/12/17/christohper_hitchens_and_the_protocol_for_public_f igure_deaths/singleton/
is this the man that now garners so much admiration? seriously...?

i find it rather curious to notice that a man who spent a good portion of his life deriding and attacking religions gets a devotion-like fanatism by his admirers now that he's death. but like the article suggests, his position as a reasonable good natured man will be forgotten in a month and his most ridiculous ideas will be critically scrutinezed over time.

abraxas21
12-18-2011, 03:01 PM
i'd also like to post this little paragraph for the aforementioned article:

The day after Jerry Falwell died, Hitchens went on CNN and scorned what he called “the empty life of this ugly little charlatan,” saying: ”I think it’s a pity there isn’t a hell for him to go to.” As I said, those demanding that Hitchens not be criticized in death are invoking a warped etiquette standard on his behalf that is not only irrational, but is one he himself vigorously rejected.

it is indeed an interesting 'quality' of his character to desire endless torment to someone who died.

to dissipate doubts and possibly 'hater' tag comments from the likes of BH, i'll make clear that, as a Christian who does believe in heaven and hell, i hold no such ill natured wishes against hitch. needless to say, that won't prevent me from attacking his clownish and hateful ideas or the express my concern at everyone who now shows such a high degree of admiration towards him.

habibko
12-18-2011, 03:29 PM
he will be known for his intellectual honesty and for fighting the good fight, he isn't blindly worshipped like Christians do with their OT God, even his most ardent admirers realize his flaws

for instance and along with his questionable political positions, his life-style isn't exemplary and it's partially responsible for his early demise (along with genetic predisposition since his father died from the same cancer)

I don't see the problem with the first two quotes, it's consistent with what he's admonished all his life, and all of what he said on Falwell was spot on, not from the political correctness and emotional but-he-just-died angle, but who cares, fuck political correctness and undue respect, that's what Hitch was all about and what made him so great

abraxas21
12-18-2011, 03:50 PM
he will be known for his intellectual honesty and for fighting the good fight, he isn't blindly worshipped like Christians do with their OT God, even his most ardent admirers realize his flaws

for instance and along with his questionable political positions, his life-style isn't exemplary and it's partially responsible for his early demise (along with genetic predisposition since his father died from the same cancer)

I don't see the problem with the first two quotes, it's consistent with what he's admonished all his life,

consistent with a position of supporting a war that ended up killing thousands of innocent people for the price of oil, yes.

i don't care what his health lifestyle was like. i can admire the most drunken old man if he has the right ideas which are consistent with his behaviour. that's his path. then again, hitch's ideas were totally wacky and only serve to show his revengeful and provincial spirit. he was a polemist, no doubt about it, but so are many clowns here on MTF.

However, my main beef with the likes of hitch supporters is that they're like 'sure, he kind of fucked up when he supported bush but the rest of his work is great so no biggie'. to me, the iraq war was/is a huge thing that should be taken into a big account when it comes to evaluate this guy's work.

then again it isn't just that. his idiotic position on religion and his massive discourse against even more pathetic far right evangelist clowns and hardline sharia muslims only served to show how deeply hateful he was and how his intolerance got confused with a far critical sense unfettered by the need to be 'politically correct'. to all his fans out there, let me say one thing: it's not hard to look cool and intelligent when you're always confronting even bigger clowns than you.

i must say however that i was surprised to know that you like hitch so much, habibko. it does strike as surprising indeed that a man who grew up surrounded by Muslims now holds so much admiration towards a man that clearly despised Islam to the point of expressing his exhilaration at the thought of muslims dying while holding their Holy Book.

and all of what he said on Falwell was spot on, not from the political correctness and emotional but-he-just-died angle, but who cares, fuck political correctness and undue respect, that's what Hitch was all about and what made him so great

wishing hell upon a person isn't just an expression of unpolitical correctness that many seem to praise as if it was a good thing that defies the establishment these days, it's also an expression of hate and revenge that no man worthy of massive admiration should entail, imo.

then again, that's his legacy and i only highlited it as a sign to his admirers that his position on death is no impediment to wish the worst wishes upon the deceased one, much less when it comes to attack their ideas -as i do.

habibko
12-18-2011, 04:40 PM
i must say however that i was surprised to know that you like hitch so much, habibko. it does strike as surprising indeed that a man who grew up surrounded by Muslims now holds so much admiration towards a man that clearly despised Islam to the point of expressing his exhilaration at the thought of muslims dying while holding their Holy Book.

he wasn't talking about all Muslims there, he was talking about Taliban/AlQaeda troops, the whole thing was a sarcastic remark on the unholiness of their beliefs

you don't know him well enough to judge his morals, he had very close Muslim friends and he talked about this many times (especially Kurds as he vehemently supported their cause)

he actually was so intellectually honest that he didn't fall for the zionist propaganda even though he was a Jew himself, his anti-zionist views are well known so he can't be accused of racism against Arabs or Muslims

take this quote for instance:

"In order for Israel to become part of the alliance against whatever we want to call it, religious barbarism, theocratic, possibly thermonuclear theocratic or nuclear theocratic aggression, it can't, it'll have to dispense with the occupation. It's as simple as that.

It can be, you can think of it as a kind of European style, Western style country if you want, but it can't govern other people against their will. It can't continue to steal their land in the way that it does every day. And it's unbelievably irresponsible of Israelis, knowing the position of the United States and its allies are in around the world, to continue to behave in this unconscionable way. And I'm afraid I know too much about the history of the conflict to think of Israel as just a tiny, little island surrounded by a sea of ravening wolves and so on. I mean, I know quite a lot about how that state was founded, and the amount of violence and dispossession that involved. And I'm a prisoner of that knowledge. I can't un-know it."

buddyholly
12-18-2011, 06:53 PM
wishing hell upon a person isn't just an expression of unpolitical correctness that many seem to praise as if it was a good thing that defies the establishment these days, it's also an expression of hate and revenge that no man worthy of massive admiration should entail, imo.

then again, that's his legacy and i only highlited it as a sign to his admirers that his position on death is no impediment to wish the worst wishes upon the deceased one, much less when it comes to attack their ideas -as i do.

You miss the point. He wished ''hell' on Jerry Falwell, a ridiculous human being man who promised ''hell'' on millions in the name of Christianity. But Hitchens knew very well there is no such thing as the hell that Falwell promised us. He knew he was wishing for something inexistent, so he was just bouncing the empty life of Falwell right back at him. Falwell could'nt possibly suffer endless torment after death.

What probably annoys you most is that Hitchens was a Trotskyite before he matured.

abraxas21
12-18-2011, 06:56 PM
You miss the point. He wished ''hell' on Jerry Falwell, a ridiculous human being man who promised ''hell'' on millions in the name of Christianity. But Hitchens knew very well there is no such thing as the hell that Falwell promised us. He knew he was wishing for something inexistent, so it was just rhetorical.

"I think itís a pity there isnít a hell for him to go to", is what the man said.

but you're clinging at straws again.

buddyholly
12-18-2011, 07:04 PM
to dissipate doubts and possibly 'hater' tag comments from the likes of BH, i'll make clear that, as a Christian who does believe in heaven and hell, i hold no such ill natured wishes against hitch. needless to say, that won't prevent me from attacking his clownish and hateful ideas or the express my concern at everyone who now shows such a high degree of admiration towards him.

What you don't seem to realize is that by labelling just about everything and everybody a ''clown'' you are just reinforcing your own reputation as one of MTF's most monotonous clowns.
Or is this just more Castrospeak, whereby if you keep labelling everyone a clown, then obviously you can not be one? Won't work.

buddyholly
12-18-2011, 07:05 PM
"I think it’s a pity there isn’t a hell for him to go to", is what the man said.

but you're clinging at straws again.

An atheist joke. You wouldn't get it.

PS, Hitchens didn't hate Muslims. He hated the aspect of Islam that hated the good, like the fatwa against his best friend, Rushdie.
But since you Christians believe in hell, then you must believe it has a purpose for existing. Falwell would surely be a worthy guest there.
I never did understand if the Christian hell was made for non-Christians or just for bad Christians.

abraxas21
12-18-2011, 07:11 PM
he wasn't talking about all Muslims there, he was talking about Taliban/AlQaeda troops, the whole thing was a sarcastic remark on the unholiness of their beliefs

i'd believe that if only not for the exhilarating joy he expresses at the thought of them being killed with their holy books at hand. you can believe that his hatred was only extended to the taliban or other terrorist denominations but from his prose it's pretty evident that the man's hatred for Christianity, Judaism and Islam (the 'axis of evil', as he put it -probly in reminescence of bush rethoric) was so extreme that he couldn't help to have some degree of hatred for the ones who practiced those religions as well.

you don't know him well enough to judge his morals,

i hope you realize that when you say he was a great man you're also judging his morals.

he had very close Muslim friends and he talked about this many times (especially Kurds as he vehemently supported their cause)

i don't dispute the fact that he supported the kurds' cause but i do find hard to believe that he truly had 'very close Muslim friends' given that he was a well known islamophobic who derided Islam and their believers in many ocassions. this was a man who not only thought that Islam was a stupid excercise of religious faith, he also held the position that their religion inevitably leads to violent results.

he actually was so intellectually honest that he didn't fall for the zionist propaganda even though he was a Jew himself, his anti-zionist views are well known so he can't be accused of racism against Arabs or Muslims

i never have accused him of racism and i don't know enough about him to think he's one.

i fail to see why he's so intelectually honest just because he, as a jew, denounces the state of israel's atrocities. it's only normal and the stuff that any man with 2 working brain cells would do. then again, if that's the criterion for putting the 'intellectually honest' tag, then i'll take chomsky over hitchens anyday.

habibko
12-18-2011, 08:04 PM
it's pretty evident

not really, he wouldn't have befriended any Muslims, Christians or Jews if he thought all of them were his despised enemies

i hope you realize that when you say he was a great man you're also judging his morals.

why does everything have to be so black and white with you? he was charismatic and witty, less hypocritical and - most importantly - had more appreciation for humanism and the value of life than any other religious demagogue or apologist, he advocated science, reason and human solidarity rather than blind faith, the most overrated virtue as he put it, he helped so many people see through religion and overcome childhood brainwashing (me included)

in short, he's a great man

i do find hard to believe

doesn't make it false

this was a man who not only thought that Islam was a stupid excercise of religious faith, he also held the position that their religion inevitably leads to violent results.

and this isn't true because..?

looking forward to see you trying to teach me something that I don't know about Islam

i don't know enough about him to think he's one.

yet you keep judging him and making claims about him here, I should have asked how many books of him have you actually read before I started responding

i fail to see why he's so intelectually honest just because he, as a jew, denounces the state of israel's atrocities. it's only normal and the stuff that any man with 2 working brain cells would do. then again, if that's the criterion for putting the 'intellectually honest' tag, then i'll take chomsky over hitchens anyday.

I didn't pose that as the criterion for his intellectual honesty, just something I thought you don't know since you seem to know so little about him, you don't seem to be open minded enough to realize why he's so intellectually honest, and you'll also need to read his books to know that, but here's an article that emphasize this aspect of him:

Christopher Hitchens: A salute to intellectual honesty

By Sharon Waxman
Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:42pm EST

He wrote the best, most piercing, most clarifying prose of his career as he faced down the specter of his own demise.

As he dealt with fatigue and nausea, with the anger, disgust and frustration that must accompany what he knew was a death sentence, Hitch poured it all into words that were as painfully honest as they were hilarious.

"I sympathize afresh with the mighty Voltaire, who, when badgered on his deathbed and urged to renounce the devil, murmured that this was no time to be making enemies," he wrote in September 2010 in Vanity Fair, to those who hoped for a last-minute conversion to faith.

His illness was a terrible irony. Hitchens was at the peak of his career. For decades he had toiled in the margins of the intellectual elite, plunging into distant political conflicts that only a few Americans noticed, and hanging with the denizens of British literary journalism and highbrow fiction.

None of this paid very well, and despite Hitch's fancy accent, he did not come from money. But suddenly he got rich and pretty famous.

He was diagnosed with cancer just a few years after writing the 2007 bestseller "God Is Not Great." It turned out that attacking George Bush, Bill Clinton and Mother Teresa got him nowhere near the notoriety that he won for taking on God. (Or "god," as he always wrote it.)

Hitch became a constant presence on the debate circuit on the topic of atheism, a familiar face on the shows of Jon Stewart and Bill Maher (another vocal atheist) and a sought-after blogger, letter writer and columnist. ("It seems there is no utterance of mine that isn't worthy of publishing," he told me, when I asked him to think about blogging for TheWrap.)

And so: Cancer was very ill-timed.

"Rage would be beside the point," he wrote, on learning of his illness, in one in a series of columns in Vanity Fair that won him a national magazine award. "Instead, I am badly oppressed by a gnawing sense of waste. I had real plans for my next decade and felt I'd worked hard enough to earn it. Will I really not live to see my children married? To watch the World Trade Center rise again? To read -- if not indeed write -- the obituaries of elderly villains like Henry Kissinger and Joseph Ratzinger? But I understand this sort of non-thinking for what it is: sentimentality and self-pity. Of course my book hit the bestseller list on the day that I received the grimmest of news bulletins, and for that matter the last flight I took as a healthy-feeling person (to a fine, big audience at the Chicago Book Fair) was the one that made me a million-miler on United Airlines, with a lifetime of free upgrades to look forward to ... To the dumb question 'Why me?' the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply: Why not?"

WITHSTANDING THE GLOATERS

And of course, his religious detractors found much irony here, much about which to gloat.

But it was here where Hitchens rose to the challenge so few of us could imagine, using humor and a core intellectual honesty to face down the existential challenge that was suddenly of immediate relevance.

He absorbed many horrible insults, including those from observers who called his cancer some kind of divine retribution, something he somehow "deserved."

He responded thusly in September 2010:

"The vengeful deity has a sadly depleted arsenal if all he can think of is exactly the cancer that my age and former 'lifestyle' would suggest that I got. Why cancer at all? Almost all men get cancer of the prostate if they live long enough: it's an undignified thing but quite evenly distributed among saints and sinners, believers and unbelievers. If you maintain that god awards the appropriate cancers, you must also account for the numbers of infants who contract leukemia. Devout persons have died young and in pain. Bertrand Russell and Voltaire, by contrast, remained spry until the end, as many psychopathic criminals and tyrants have also done. These visitations, then, seem awfully random. While my so far uncancerous throat, let me rush to assure my Christian correspondent above, is not at all the only organ with which I have blasphemed ... And even if my voice goes before I do, I shall continue to write polemics against religious delusions, at least until it's hello darkness my old friend. In which case, why not cancer of the brain? As a terrified, half-aware imbecile, I might even scream for a priest at the close of business, though I hereby state while I am still lucid that the entity thus humiliating itself would not in fact be 'me.' (Bear this in mind, in case of any later rumors or fabrications.)"

I never could decide whether to laugh or cry at this prose. In the end, I could only marvel at Hitch's ability to pierce the heart of his own mortality with such detachment and wit.

He always jumped into the middle of great moral debates. And he never took the side that was easiest to defend. In fact, it was easy to suspect that he liked to take the opposite argument -- just because.

This aspect of Hitchens -- the gadfly who loved the spotlight -- used to annoy me. I first remember seeing him a couple of decades ago on a talk show like "Meet the Press," and he showed up a vision of scruffiness -- unshaven, and wearing Birkenstocks. I thought it stunk of anti-establishment grandstanding.

But I watched him over the years, and changed my mind when I got to know him during the release of my last book, "Loot," about stolen antiquities. The fate of the Elgin Marbles -- the Parthenon sculptures taken to England a century and a half ago -- was another of his thankless causes, rooted in that core of intellectual honesty.

(The sculptures were taken by stealth. They belong in Greece. Not a lot of Brits spent their time saying so. Hitch did.)

He came to debate the topic with me at a New York Times lecture in 2008, and after beating up the British cultural establishment for about an hour, we headed out to a lunch at an empty Italian restaurant. It lasted for four hours, and he drank his way through many whiskeys and regaled the table with tale after ribald tale of his adventures.

It was one of the most memorables afternoons I've spent, ever.

Farewell, Hitch. We salute your brilliant mind, and a moral heartbeat that pulsed so strongly throughout.

And that pen. Oh how we will miss that pen.

abraxas21
12-19-2011, 01:37 AM
why does everything have to be so black and white with you? he was charismatic and witty, less hypocritical and - most importantly - had more appreciation for humanism and the value of life than any other religious demagogue or apologist, he advocated science, reason and human solidarity rather than blind faith, the most overrated virtue as he put it, he helped so many people see through religion and overcome childhood brainwashing (me included)

in short, he's a great man

he also advocated for a war on terror that ended up with the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people

but no biggie. he's a great man :yeah:

abraxas21
12-19-2011, 02:11 AM
farewell from a former friend:

Farewell to C.H.

by ALEXANDER COCKBURN

I can’t count the times, down the years, that after some new outrage friends would call me and ask, “What happened to Christopher Hitchens?” – the inquiry premised on some supposed change in Hitchens, often presumed to have started in the period he tried to put his close friend Blumenthal behind bars for imputed perjury. My answer was that Christopher had been pretty much the same package since the beginning — always allowing for the ravages of entropy as the years passed.

As so often with friends and former friends, it’s a matter of what you’re prepared to put up with and for how long. I met him in New York in the early 1980s and all the long-term political and indeed personal traits were visible enough. I never thought of him as at all radical. He craved to be an insider, a trait which achieved ripest expression when he elected to be sworn in as a U.S. citizen by Bush’s director of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff. In basic philosophical take he always seemed to me to hold as his central premise a profound belief in the therapeutic properties of capitalism and empire. He was an instinctive flagwagger and remained so. He wrote some really awful stuff in the early 90s about how indigenous peoples — Indians in the Americas — were inevitably going to be rolled over by the wheels of Progress and should not be mourned.

On the plane of weekly columns in the late eighties and nineties it mostly seemed to be a matter of what was currently obsessing him: for years in the 1980s he wrote scores of columns for The Nation, charging that the Republicans had stolen the 1980s election by the “October surprise”, denying Carter the advantage of a hostage release. He got rather boring. Then in the 90s he got a bee in his bonnet about Clinton which developed into full-blown obsessive megalomania: the dream that he, Hitchens, would be the one to seize the time and finish off Bill. Why did Bill — a zealous and fairly efficient executive of Empire – bother Hitchens so much? I’m not sure. He used to hint that Clinton had behaved abominably to some woman he, Hitchens, knew. Actually I think he’d got to that moment in life when he was asking himself if he could make a difference. He obviously thought he could, and so he sloshed his way across his own personal Rubicon and tried to topple Clinton via betrayal of his close friendship with Sid Blumenthal, whom he did his best to ruin financially (lawyers’ fees) and get sent to prison for perjury.

Since then it was all pretty predictable, down to his role as flagwagger for Bush. I guess the lowest of a number of low points was when he went to the White House to give a cheerleading speech on the eve of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. I think he knew long, long before that this is where he would end up, as a right-wing codger. He used to go on, back in the Eighties, about sodden old wrecks like John Braine, who’d ended up more or less where Hitchens got to, trumpeting away about “Islamo-fascism” like a Cheltenham colonel in some ancient Punch cartoon. I used to warn my friends at New Left Review and Verso in the early 90s who were happy to make money off Hitchens’ books on Mother Teresa and the like that they should watch out, but they didn’t and then kept asking ten years later, What happened?

Anyway, between the two of them, my sympathies were always with Mother Teresa. If you were sitting in rags in a gutter in Bombay, who would be more likely to give you a bowl of soup? You’d get one from Mother Teresa. Hitchens was always tight with beggars, just like the snotty Fabians who used to deprecate charity.

One awful piece of opportunism on Hitchens’ part was his decision to attack Edward Said just before his death, and then for good measure again in his obituary. With his attacks on Edward, especially the final post mortem, Hitchens couldn’t even claim the pretense of despising a corrupt presidency, a rapist and liar or any of the other things he called Clinton. That final attack on Said was purely for attention–which fuelled his other attacks but this one most starkly because of the absence of any high principle to invoke. Here he decided both to bask in his former friend’s fame, recalling the little moments that made it clear he was intimate with the man, and to put himself at the center of the spotlight by taking his old friend down a few notches. In a career of awful moves, that was one of the worst. He also rounded on Gore Vidal who had done so much to promote his career as dauphin of contrarianism.

He courted the label “contrarian”, but if the word is to have any muscle, it surely must imply the expression of dangerous opinions. Hitchens never wrote anything truly discommoding to respectable opinion and if he had he would never have enjoyed so long a billet at Vanity Fair. Attacking God? The big battles on that issue were fought one, two, even five hundred years ago when they burned Giordano Bruno at the stake in the Campo de’ Fiore. A contrarian these days would be someone who staunchly argued for the existence of a Supreme Being. He was for America’s wars. I thought he was relatively solid on Israel/Palestine, but there too he trimmed. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency put out a friendly obit, noting that “despite his rejection of religious precepts, Hitchens would make a point of telling interviewers that according to halacha, he was Jewish” and noting his suggestion that Walt and Mearsheimer might be anti-Semitic, also his sliming of a boatload of pro-Palestinian activists aiming to breach Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. (His brother Peter and other researchers used to say that in terms of blood lineage, the Hitchens boys’ Jewishness was pretty slim and fell far outside the definitions of the Nuremberg laws. I always liked Noam Chomsky’s crack to me when Christopher announced in Grand Street that he was a Jew: “From anti-Semite to self-hating Jew, all in one day.”)

As a writer his prose was limited in range. In extempore speeches and arguments he was quick on his feet. I remember affectionately many jovial sessions from years ago, in his early days at The Nation. I found the Hitchens cult of recent years entirely mystifying. He endured his final ordeal with pluck, sustained indomitably by his wife Carol.

abraxas21
12-19-2011, 02:14 AM
he helped so many people see through religion and overcome childhood brainwashing (me included)

i wanted to highlight this quote especially.

given your impressive words of admiration towards the hitch, it seems to me that your religious 'childhood brainwashing' has been substituted by a 'hitch brainwashing' (my term, all rights reserved), so i'll just take the guess that the brainwashing problem that seems to affect you might be, well, with you rather than with religion itself... or even hitchens for that matter

abraxas21
12-19-2011, 04:23 AM
I used to warn my friends at New Left Review and Verso in the early 90s who were happy to make money off Hitchens’ books on Mother Teresa and the like that they should watch out, but they didn’t and then kept asking ten years later, What happened?

Anyway, between the two of them, my sympathies were always with Mother Teresa. If you were sitting in rags in a gutter in Bombay, who would be more likely to give you a bowl of soup? You’d get one from Mother Teresa. Hitchens was always tight with beggars, just like the snotty Fabians who used to deprecate charity.

i also wanted to highlight this quote because it's awesome on so many levels.

buddyholly
12-19-2011, 04:34 AM
And where did Mother Teresa get the money to buy soup?

abraxas21
12-19-2011, 04:36 AM
didnt come from hitchens, that's for sure

Pirata.
12-19-2011, 05:54 AM
Cockburn. Great name.

And where did Mother Teresa get the money to buy soup?

Watch out or Seingeist will badrep you for daring to criticise his idol :scared:

Kat_YYZ
12-19-2011, 06:34 AM
Gosh I haven't pulled up the Counterpunch website in ages. Thanks for the post :)

habibko
12-19-2011, 12:14 PM
i wanted to highlight this quote especially.

given your impressive words of admiration towards the hitch, it seems to me that your religious 'childhood brainwashing' has been substituted by a 'hitch brainwashing' (my term, all rights reserved), so i'll just take the guess that the brainwashing problem that seems to affect you might be, well, with you rather than with religion itself... or even hitchens for that matter

how exactly can you be brainwashed to become an irreligious person?

for instance I asked you to explain how his thoughts on Islam were wrong and you haven't replied, instead of labeling me as brainwashed you ought to prove me wrong

and it wasn't just him that helped change my attitude towards faith, so no "hitch brainwashing", unless I can be accused of a "Federer brainwashing" that is :lol:

abraxas21
12-20-2011, 02:25 AM
how exactly can you be brainwashed to become an irreligious person?

for instance I asked you to explain how his thoughts on Islam were wrong and you haven't replied, instead of labeling me as brainwashed you ought to prove me wrong

first and foremost because he's wrong on religion in general. hitch's problem is his lack of comprehension for human rationale and lack of rationale in general. it's well known fact that we aren't rational and every single one of our religions is a testament to this. however, and here's were i disagree with the likes of hitchens, we shouldn't aspire to be rational either. we should accept our nature as it is because that's what makes us great. our capacity to dream, to coinceive and to let our imaginations run wild with myths, legends and religions are part of who we are and a deep militant hitchens-like desire to turn us totally rational can only impoverish our spirts, much like it imporished hitchens' mind.

secondly, i get a bit suspicious on the real motives of the ones who used terms like 'londonistan' while showing his fear at the growing number of muslim immigrants in london, or who expressed their 'exhilarating' joy at the thought of militant muslims being killed with the Koran in their hands. hitchens was obviously a polemist who thrived on his own trolling and islam was a common target for him. but this is all rather anectodic once we ponder on the fact that this man endorsed bush's war on terror and called for a war that ended up killing thousands of innocents.

his alleged objetivity when it comes to criticize all religions equally is also not that clear to me. as a polemist, he didn't have qualms saying that we shouldnt be afraid of offending muslims but instead of making similar statements about jews, he insisted on referring to some anti-zionists as anti-semites. the double standards do make an appeareance at the end...

then again, how can a man like this be regarded as a 'great man' by you and others is entirely mistifying to me. the cult-like fanatism that some people have towards him is actually quite scary.


and it wasn't just him that helped change my attitude towards faith, so no "hitch brainwashing", unless I can be accused of a "Federer brainwashing" that is :lol:

i think you can be accused of both, tbh.

Seingeist
12-20-2011, 02:36 AM
Watch out or Seingeist will badrep you for daring to criticise his idol :scared:

There's no reason to be childish, Pirata, and to hold such a strange grudge here.

I do not "idolize" Mother Teresa, and it is silly to suggest that I do so on the basis of finding your attempts to demonize and impugn her fairly absurd.

There are innumerable people in this world whose actions deserve your condemnation; Mother Teresa is not one of them (Hitchens's desperate postures of iconoclasm notwithstanding).

Seingeist
12-20-2011, 02:55 AM
first and foremost because he's wrong on religion in general. hitch's problem is his lack of comprehension for human rationale and lack of rationale in general. it's well known fact that we aren't rational and every single one of our religions is a testament to this. however, and here's were i disagree with the likes of hitchens, we shouldn't aspire to be rational either. we should accept our nature as it is because that's what makes us great. our capacity to dream, to coinceive and to let our imaginations run wild with myths, legends and religions are part of who we are and a deep militant hitchens-like desire to turn us totally rational can only impoverish our spirts, much like it imporished hitchens' mind.

It is true that the core of the human being extends beyond rationality (and that our metaphysical presuppostions are decided on grounds that are pre-rational or a-rational), but this does not for one moment mean that we "shouldn't aspire to be rational," nor that we should delight in the irrational.

Nor would I concede, as you seem to, that "religion" is necessarily or intrinsically irrational. Again, while it is true that much of its proper content might be said to be a-rational, this does not mean that any given religion's claims should be protected from the tribunal of reason. Indeed, one of the many reasons that I find Christianity so compelling is that, taking the "whole picture" into consideration, it is the only worldview that satisfies the demands of reason.

Finally, you are actually giving Hitchens far too much credit by saying that "total rationality" has "impoverished Hitchens's mind." He was not, in fact, terribly rational at all. His books lacked intellectual sophistication and he was regularly trounced in the scholarly debates that he undertook. His undeniable urbane charm, however, was enough to please the choir and impress the unreflective.

buddyholly
12-20-2011, 04:22 AM
then again, how can a man like this be regarded as a 'great man' by you and others is entirely mistifying to me. the cult-like fanatism that some people have towards him is actually quite scary.






It is not so mystifying to the rest of the world. It is simply because your brain is so stunted that you can not grasp the fact that there is a possibility of opinions that differ from your own.

habibko
12-20-2011, 03:52 PM
we shouldn't aspire to be rational either. we should accept our nature as it is because that's what makes us great. our capacity to dream, to coinceive and to let our imaginations run wild with myths, legends and religions are part of who we are and a deep militant hitchens-like desire to turn us totally rational can only impoverish our spirts, much like it imporished hitchens' mind.

it's your choice if you want to live complacently with your delusions, luckily many people are smarter than this

i think you can be accused of both, tbh.

I can be called anything you want to call me, wouldn't make it true

there's a huge difference between choosing someone to admire when you are an adult compared to clinging to childish religious concepts that you were raised to blindly accept as the indisputable truth

abraxas21
12-21-2011, 09:37 PM
It is true that the core of the human being extends beyond rationality (and that our metaphysical presuppostions are decided on grounds that are pre-rational or a-rational), but this does not for one moment mean that we "shouldn't aspire to be rational," nor that we should delight in the irrational.

why is that? if we accept our irrationality as a part of ourserves, as it indeed is, then there's no need to aspire to be 100% rational as that would mean to aspire to deny a part of who we are, a part of our very nature.

Nor would I concede, as you seem to, that "religion" is necessarily or intrinsically irrational. Again, while it is true that much of its proper content might be said to be a-rational, this does not mean that any given religion's claims should be protected from the tribunal of reason. Indeed, one of the many reasons that I find Christianity so compelling is that, taking the "whole picture" into consideration, it is the only worldview that satisfies the demands of reason.
as a Christian man myself i've got to say that if you think that believing in a omniscient and invisible Holy Being who created everything and who can do anything is "the only worldview that satisfies the demands of reason", then you're simply deluded. I mean no offense or irony with this. in point of fact, i've gotta admit that your defense of religion as something that satisfies reason's demands is even somewhat endearing to me as I can tell how deep your faith is.

Finally, you are actually giving Hitchens far too much credit by saying that "total rationality" has "impoverished Hitchens's mind." He was not, in fact, terribly rational at all. His books lacked intellectual sophistication and he was regularly trounced in the scholarly debates that he undertook. His undeniable urbane charm, however, was enough to please the choir and impress the unreflective.

could be. i haven't read a single of his books nor do i plan to read one. in that regard, there are tons of other writers more worthy of my time than hitch.

abraxas21
12-21-2011, 09:43 PM
it's your choice if you want to live complacently with your delusions, luckily many people are smarter than this

your pretension that reality is something you can truly grasp and that believing in religions and myths is delusional or even stupid is also a bit endearing in its own right. :hug:


there's a huge difference between choosing someone to admire when you are an adult compared to clinging to childish religious concepts that you were raised to blindly accept as the indisputable truth

yes, and because of your own decisions you're sure that a bush war supporter is a 'great man'. it's cute.

rhinooooo
12-22-2011, 01:17 AM
He was a neocon warmongering clown who was all style over substance. Though that style was very entertaining.

abraxas21
03-07-2012, 02:12 PM
He was a neocon warmongering clown who was all style over substance. Though that style was very entertaining.

strage how thats the reason i hate quentin tarantino films...

it's all connected.

Topspindoctor
03-07-2012, 03:32 PM
Who is he and why should anyone care. Lots of people die every day and nobody gives a damn

Echoes
03-07-2012, 05:50 PM
He was a neocon warmongering clown who was all style over substance. Though that style was very entertaining.

Neocon and Trotskyist. He had every flaw. :p