Actually, I thought he died 10 years ago...(I could expand on that one but won't despite the fact that Chris Hitchens had no compunctions on speaking ill of the dead...)
Learned a lot from him about vocabulary--snotty Oxbridge vocab, that is--& how to argue obscure points. Particularly liked his books on atheism ( “What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.”), Paine ("These are the times that try mens' souls.") & Jefferson ( "Goo goo g'joob, goo goo g'joob, goo goo g'joob...").
Liked his positions on Kissinger, the Clintons.
He claimed to still be a Marxist as opposed to a "socialist".
He was pro the Bush/Obama wars "against Islamo-fascism", whatever that term means.
Of course he couldn't allow himself to see the world from a left-libertarian POV. That would've made too much sense. He had to be Hitchens (somebody had to) which means a curmudgeon.
Gore Vidal disclaimed him as his political-literary son. But I've a feeling Hitchens took that to the bank...
I've a sneaking suspicion that after his bank account became overly-fattened--probably around the same time he was brought over to Vanity Fair from The Nation magazine--he put away his Trotskyism (Permanent Revolution) for no good reason.
While I wanted to kick him sometimes I never hated him & came to see the moral correctness of many of his positions e.g. the right of the individual person to think & differ with the crowd, mob, collective.
If Thomas Paine was one of his heroes, as he is mine (favorite founding father/brother)--but Hitchens claimed not to have any except perhaps himself--was he then that massive of an ego? Furthermore, is it necessarily a bad verboten kinda thing to keep well-groomed, so to speak, check the dictionary habitually, clip the nosehairs daily, drink the best high octane, smoke cigarettes, have sex for the sheer pleasure of it with an occasional love affair thrown in just for good measure?
In the final analysis as I see it, Hitchens was a very fine writer. And teacher. I've a feeling he would've made a very difficult friend. But a loyal one e.g. Salman Rushdie.
He had balls. I'm sorry he's gone.
No RIPs necessary.
Smart ass Limey...
One of things I liked about Hitchens were a few of his books I was reading at the open all-night Happy Donuts in Palo Alto where I staked out a table, had plenty of piping hot coffee (& egg & cheese on sesame & everything bagel sandwiches) one cold winter's eve, that became the subject matter for a conversation with a very pretty very young Stanford student. She left her gay-appearing entourage & approached me (because I'm just so goddamned good-looking I guess) & I proceeded to lecture her. But hating lecturers myself--& knowing damn well nobody especially pretty young Stanford students at coffee shoppes in the middle of the night despise lectures by amateur full-of-themselves know-nothings-I quickly shifted into Q&A (as opposed to T&A) mode & pretended to be interested in every word she spoke rather than being mesmerized by her piercing lusty eyes staring right through my pants. Unfortunately nothing all that dramatic happened. The Goddess was not amused that night. We promised each other we'd meet again if the Fates would have it so. But no. They didn't. I tell myself: Just as well. Not really. I would've loved plowing her field. <em>Mais, c'est la vie...</em>
Anyway...Thank you, Chris Hitchens. At least for playing Cupid one cold dark night along the old Spanish King's Highway...a long time ago. She had absolutely no idea who you were.