Monday, July 07, 2008

The Hitchens obit

I'm not very familiar with Christopher Hitchens. I know he's supposed to be someone who goes beyond "Slate contributor" to "public intellectual" but I'm not certain as to why. His books have tended towards the slim and one of them was titled "A Long Short War: The Postponed Liberation of Iraq", published in 2003, when the war was still short. Even its cover art (the Saddam statue-toppling) failed to withstand the test of time.

But I give him credit for carving out maybe the coolest niche in journalism: the guy who writes scathingly negative pieces about the recently deceased. Today Jesse Helms got served, and if ever there were an easier mark...

1 comment:

reader_iam said...

In Hitchens' case, Wikipedia's entry does a pretty thorough job. I'm assuming you know that he was for a columnist for "The Nation" for many years, and got his start writing for "International Socialism" something like 40 years ago. Did you know that he met Bill Clinton when they both were at Oxford? That he signed on as one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed by the ACLU challenging warrantless domestic spying?

He is, and has always been, an interesting mix and fascinating character.

And I must say, in reading your post, it was with a start that I realized I've been reading Hitchens' stuff for 25 years now, in a wide range of publications. Damn, the oddest things make me feel old these days.