Thursday, November 19, 2015

OBIT: Christopher Hitchens (Balliol) 1949-2011

Christopher Hitchens (Balliol), 1949-2011.
This is one of a collection of Oxford obits.

Was Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) as clever as Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter et al. said at Hitchens' Memorial at Cooper Union, NYC April 20, 2012?

If there is any question, I offer in evidence his 2006 appearance at a bookstore in Annapolis, the home of the U.S. Naval Academy (talking about his book on Jefferson). His appearance was part of the Annapolis Book Festival.

I was ready to go to sleep when I started watching this one-hour C-Span2 BookTV YouTube tape, and was wide awake when it ended. Click on it at your own risk.

For those who would like to take Hitchens down a peg, the Annapolis appearance can be compared with his La Jolla appearance. The two talks were certainly similarly structured. But a comparison will show how different they were.

Hitchens is classified as an eloquent left-wing radical whose anti-theist views led him to support military action against Islamic rogue states. He left the Nation after 9/11. He supported George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq, for which some have never forgiven him, although the Nation was out in force for his memorial.

No one's perfect. When Hitchens was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, he did not hesitate to concede that the cancer may have been in part a consequence of his heavy consumption of cigarettes and alcohol.

Ample details on Hitchens' life are here. He was named by the Guardian as one of Britain's top 300 intellectuals. He became a U.S. resident and then in 2007 a U.S. citizen, but retained his British citizenship.

Now that he has passed to his eternal reward, I am sure that the Almighty God I believe in forgives him for not wanting to believe in Him; there are surely worse sins.

(Thanks to Tim Sullivan for sending me the Annapolis and Memorial YouTube tapes.)

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