Christopher Hitchens: 1949 - 2011
I was saddened to read about the passing of Christopher Hitchens this evening. It was no secret that he was dying of cancer, and his biography book tour was cut short due to his diagnosis. While I didn't agree with many of the positions that he took, I found him to be a true man of letters. He was definitely one of the last of the best essayists. Christopher Hitchens wrote many great books on the subjects of government and religion. While I was infuriated with some of his points of view over the years, I found some of his work intriguing. One of my favorite pieces that he did was where he allowed himself to be waterboarded to see whether or not it was truly torture; he changed his position on the subject and agreed that it was torture in the worst way imaginable.
His positions when it came to religion were at times extreme, but many of them I agreed with. I don't believe we should have a war on Islam, but I feel many of the "God" religions to promote a war on reason. I also have problems with the theories that he and Dawkins professed on Tibet's situation.
Gore Vidal supposedly named Christopher Hitchens as his "heir" in the world of literature. Hitchens was once friends with Gore Vidal, and later on they had a nasty end to their friendship, which became part of a very nasty public feud where Hitchens seemed to suggest Gore Vidal was a crazy old conspiracy theorist while Gore Vidal concluded Hitchens had become a fascist.
Hitchens made a promise during his interview with Larry King that he would not leave this world crying out to God to accept him as a believer. I'm pretty sure he kept to that promise and left this world just as he was. If he did, I agree with what he said would be the circumstances of him doing so, being pumped full of those wonderful drugs to take the pain of death away.
R.I.P., Mr. Hitchens. We'll miss you, and thanks for the many great writings you have left behind.