Farewell, Snitch

A couple of literary postmortems of Christopher Hitchens that are must-reads — see Katha Pollitt and Michael Lind.

Hitchens was one of those people who seem to have become famous and admired and sought-after without actually doing anything to deserve it. He was the Kim Kardashian of punditry, an opinionated gasbag who passed for an intellectual.

As Lind writes, Snitch really was a gossip columnist who specialized in sensational trash talk. Although he pretended to be an iconoclast, he earned his bread and butter by speaking for the id of some elite consensus, whether neocons or atheists. He was a shallow and sloppy thinker who spoke more from bias than reason, but his fans loved him because he expressed their own biases so very strongly and authoritatively.

4 thoughts on “Farewell, Snitch

  1. I read Katha Pollitt’s article yesterday and she really put him in his place regarding his misogyny.

  2. Bonnie,
    Yeah, I read her column yesterday, too.

    Because he could be a great writer once in a while, you wanted Hitch on your side – until you didn’t, because he could turn on a dime faster than most, and prove to be the world’s first totally reversible asshole.

    I largely subscribed to “The Nation” in the early 80’s because of him – and ended it back in the Clinton era – because of him.

    He was a brilliant polemicist who didn’t know when to hold his fire. Though he was supposedly a good friend, he turned on anyone if he saw a good column or book, and changed his position(s) accordingly.

    I think, earlier, he took on the clothing of a Liberal, but at his core, he was a misogynistic Neocon who preferred battle and war with all others, even more than peace with himself and whatever passed for his conscience.
    His writing will not last long, since he, too often, became the ‘flavor of the month,’ just to agitate. And as smart as he thought he was, he wasn’t smart enough not to be taken for a fool by the Neocons and their Bush puppets.
    In the end, he was less Edgar Bergen, and more Charlie McCarthy or, as much as he’d hate me saying this – Mortimer Snerd. Only without the basic decency of either one of those puppets.

    But give the Devil his due – whatever subject he chose to write about, he brought passion and made it interesting. Too often, though, he was on the wrong side of history.
    And that is a sad epitaph for a very smart man who could have been so much more…

  3. I tried reading one of Hitchens’ books. Besides the fact that the publisher used a small type size (which made it hard to read), his own writing style was very dense and hard to follow. I took the book back to the library early.

  4. PurpleGirl,
    What I found stunning was that as I was reading, and enjoying, his book about Kissinger being a war criminal, he was actively out there supporting Little Boots’ cabal, who make Kissinger look like a piker!
    And I found it amazing that a man purportedly as smart as Hitch was didn’t see any irony or hypocrisy in his position.

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