Stare Into Space

Christopher Hitchens

Posted on | December 18, 2011 | Comments Off on Christopher Hitchens

Christopher HitchensHearing of the death of someone you don’t personally know, yet whom you admire, is always a little odd. You can feel that your distanced sense of loss is a little disingenuous; that it hasn’t been earned. When the deceased is well-known and likely to be the subject of much tribute, there’s also the natural disinclination to get swept up in some mawkish wave of Diana-like sentimentality. Surely any normal person would just have a quiet pint in salute to the deceased rather than blather on about them.

I will do that.

And I’ll blather on just a little.

I remember the first time I heard (and heard of) Christopher Hitchens. It was about ten years ago and he was on a drive-time, talk-radio show discussing some of the less-savoury deeds attributed to Henry Kissinger. Hitchens was hugely impressive. So much so, I ordered his book, The Trial Of Henry Kissinger as soon as my commute was done.

Hitchens journalistic skill—not to mention his brilliance as a writer—is certainly in no doubt. I’ve read a number of his books since then and dipped into the regular stack of columns and essays Hitchens tirelessly turned out. Even during those times when I found myself disagreeing with his opinions, I was at least certain that Hitchens had considered his views in more depth than most others, myself included.

After his ‘anti-theist’ treatise, God Is Not Great, it became very easy to find audio and video of Hitchens engaging in debate with believers of various faiths. If you haven’t seen him speak and argue, it’s worth your while having a dig around YouTube for some examples. It’s certainly schadenfreude to take pleasure at seeing so many trampled by Hitchens’ reason, rhetoric and encyclopaedic knowledge but I challenge you to feel differently.

Christopher Hitchens died on Thursday, aged 62.

I publish this post, slightly self-consciously. What right do I have to join the mass of tributes? Unearned—and, if I’m honest, somewhat selfish—though my own feelings may be, however, I’m saddened by Hitchens’ death. That the world spins on is irrefutable. That it is diminished in some way seems, to me a least, equally certain.

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Gerry Hayes

Gerry Hayes

I mostly sit around all day and drink tea. Occasionally, I write stuff and send it to strangers so they can humiliate me and deride my efforts. Other than the self-harm to dull the shame of failure, it's not a bad life. Like I say, there's tea.

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