Sunday, December 18, 2011

In Memoriam - Christopher Hitchens 1949 - 2011

The literary world has lost a brilliant writer and an intellectual giant with the passing of English author and journalist Christopher Hitchens. (M)

Christopher Hitchens was a man of many attributes, but definitely high on the list was his awesome intellect and skills of articulation. I have enjoyed everything I have read by Hitchens. While I definitely did not always agree with his point of view, I was always impressed by his command of the English language, his depth of analysis and his ability to make his point. I would have never wanted to be on opposite sides of a debate with him!

He has been a regular contributor to many prestigious magazines, such as Vanity Fair, The Nation, The Atlantic Monthly, Slate, and World Affairs Journal.

Perhaps for many readers, he is best known for his controversial 2007 book, God is Not Great: how religion poisons everything. (M) Hitchens became a very public and prominent member of the "New Atheism" movement, along with authors Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins. He is also somewhat infamous for his biting critiques of Mother Theresa.

Hitchens is also very well known for his political views. Over the course of his life, he shifted quite radically from the left to the right. He surprised many people with his ardent support of the Falkland war in1982 and later for the Gulf wars in Iraq. For me, one of the most memorable pieces of Hitchens' journalism was his waterboarding torture investigation. Hitchens decided that he would subject himself to this very controversial process. It still makes me queasy.

His memoir Hitch 22 (M) was released in 2010, shortly after which he was diagnosed with cancer. Since then he had been very vocal about discussing his illness, his impending departure and the importance of living life to the fullest, which I think he did remarkably well.

May he rest in peace.

No comments:

Post a Comment