12 thoughts on “Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011

  1. Yeah, we can thank Hitch for proving that Henry Kissinger was a war criminal* – but not much else in the last 15 years.
    I used to buy “The Nation” every week until he, like Jane Hamsher at FDL after him, went completely off the reservation, and didn’t stop buying it again until after he was gone as a regular presence.
    He was, at heart, a misogynistic Neocon who occasionally donned Liberal clothing.

    Goodbye, Hitch. But you won’t be missed nearly as much as you thought or wished you’d be.

    *Not that most sentient bipeds didn’t know that already. But remember, our rightie friends drag their knuckles, so I don’t think they count as bipeds.

  2. He sort of bought the neo-con later in his life. I suspect his hatred of religion played a role. He bought the lie that Islam was so much more egregious than the Judeo-Christian scam, an obvious flaw. I did love to watch him take apart a religious fundamentalist, he sure was not dumb.

  3. Wrong about Iraq, right about Kissinger and Theresa. A brilliant controversialist. I’ll miss him.

  4. He had strong, well-reasoned opinions and stated them. He deserves credit for them, though one might agree across the board. His defense of atheist, though too strident perhaps, was a breath of fresh air in a world where politicians can take flak for raising an INCLUSIVE holiday tree rather than a DIVISIVE “Christmas Tree”.

  5. Ian Welsh has a short note:

    I was going to keep my mouth shut, but the hagiography is making me hurl. Yes, he was a good writer. Yes, when he was young he seemed to want atrocities to stop. After 9/11, however, he realized that people like him could die senselessly and became an apologist for an unprovoked war (the same war crime the US hung Germans for) and for torture. Atrocities were ok to protect lily-livered upper class white people like himself.

    Christopher Hitchens helped make the world you live in, the one most of my readers spend time complaining about. As a prominent ex-lefty he was very useful to the powers that be in excusing their policies….

    …Hitchens was a war crimes apologist.

    If there is life after death, I hope Hitchens is treated kindly, because I don’t believe in torture. But for the last 10 years of his life he was a profoundly bad man.

  6. I really don’t think he was a good writer. The Brits turn out a dozen a day who are better at sentences and no worse at logic. He stuck to his opinions, but he formed them by lying to himself. He thought people who disagreed with him were weak. But on Iraq they turned out to be right and he turned out to be wrong, something he never acknowledged. On God … well, who knows? But I’ve known so many adolescent atheists that one more is not a thrill.

    • He stuck to his opinions, but he formed them by lying to himself.

      Most of Hitchens’s work that I have read was marked by deep intellectual dishonesty. He was the sort of person who formed and opinion first and then built supporting arguments underneath the opinion. In doing that, he was not terribly picky about whether his supporting arguments were based on verifiable fact. Instead, he’d grab whatever shiny thing he could find that complimented his biases and tack them in. Unfortunately, he could be very persuasive to ignorant people.

  7. Hitchens the public figure seems to be a good example of what happens when loudly opinionated self-styled “ideological” public intellectuals let ideology become an identity rather than a means of thinking thoroughly about the complexity of the world. Hence the crazy swings from Left to Right and a Moral Crusade for Atheism that about mirrored everything he hated about organized religion.

    I don’t consider him a great writer or thinker, and as such never read much of his work. But he certainly seemed to grab bulls by the horns, and I hope we should all be so forthright and opportunistic (I mean that in a good way).

  8. ” In doing that, he was not terribly picky about whether his supporting arguments were based on verifiable fact.”

    Well, he had to do that, didn’t he? Otherwise, they would have revoked his polemicist license!

  9. Hitch lost me on the Iraq War. c u n d gulag, I subscribe to the Nation primarily to read William Greider and Eric Alterman. Both are well worth the price, and I rather think Alexander Cockburn has taken the contrarian mantle from Hitchens.

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