And so, cruelly so close to Christmas, Christopher Hitchens has lost his battle for life.
I think its possible to be both a fan and an opponent of the same man. Very few people engender such feeling, but Hitchen’s was, in my opinion, one such man.
I’ll be raising a glass to him tonight, remembering his great wit, his seemingly endless intellect and faculty for conjuring a suitable quote for any occasion. He was not a man without faults (who is?). His War on Terror persona left many of his admirers cold. His poorly timed criticisms against his close friend Edward Said, did likewise. But i don’t think it fair to dwell on what we didn’t like about him, considering the entirety of the man. His demolition job on that most odious of characters, Henry Kissinger is a wonderful read. His iconoclasm of Mother Theresea in the rather cheekily named ‘The Missionary Position‘ certainly opened my eyes to a woman revered here in (quickly dwindling) catholic Ireland. His bravery (or machismo) in agreeing to undergo waterboarding put many other media proponents of the technique to shame.
For those of you who haven’t, I highly recommend his memoir Hitch-22, a fascinating read. Twas my book of choice for my honeymoon, and herself got annoyed at how much time my nose spent in it. Think i’ll now go and pull it of the shelf for a second helping.