Now that Christopher Hitchens is dead, the English speaking world is going to be able to get by with a little more bullshit. I'm going to have to find someone else, we all are, who can write well, tell the painful facts about the preservation of liberty and knock back a few like a man who appreciates life. When I began to be a writer, I learned something important which is that you don't have to have a humble opinion and you don't have to apologize for the one you have,unless of course you are wrong. What's fortunate is that we live in an era where it still appreciated around certain parts, that one can inform one's wrong opinion, and better men still do. Hitch was one of the best because his was about as informed an opition as anyone who is not a machine can be.
Hitchens reminds me of several virtues. The first, and probably foremost, is that if one is a man one should always remain a man. None could say that he was a dupe, or a tool, a fool or a lackey. He was his own man and he wrote his own words. He traveled to places and looked to see things with his own eyes. He had friends, and parents. I recall these things about Hitchens which are aspects of the lives of many other public figures that seem to disappear into their auras.
I must mention with some sadness the reviews I have readabout his passing, last and probably least of those passed on by Serwer by some heretofore unknown hack at Slate, a magazine which has become barely tolerable even as it wrecked Hitchen's last RSS feed. It seems that nobody I've read has seemed to find anything worth saying about him that outweighs his intolerance of the illogic of religious belief. It's as if he had no life or work worth mentioning before 'God is Not Great'.
For the time being, I am not the writer I used to be and am not trying to wax particularly eloquent on literary matters, although my tastes for good writing continues to serve me against the wailing of Hitchens' anklebiters. Still, I await Martin Amis' migration here and will continue to read what's good, little of which I expect to contradict the truths of Hitchens' life. In fact, until Amis writes his obituary, nothing will have been said, as far as I'm concerned. And yet it is that thing that I leave in limbo, my life as a writer, that is re-energized by the slavish and muddled opprobrium slap-dashed in Hitchens' general direction. Still, I should remember not to be defensive...
- Hitchens and I
- Theft And Failure
- The Conceit of Being Well Read
- Hitchens and Me Again
- Hitchens Outs Rauf
Let me add one more thing. I have never seen such scribbling after his death. It's quite Orwellian how much has been re-arraged of his online works over the past week.