I know he’s not, but it can’t be long now and I’d like to get a head start for SEO purposes. I know some of you might find it tasteless, but some guy bought the domain christoperhitchensdead.com (or a name to that effect, I can’t remember 100%) the day the news was released that Christopher Hitchens was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Don’t get your knickers in a bunch, it’s just an experiment. It’s not like all the major news outlets don’t have his eulogy on file already. Just to clarify, Nelson Mandela is NOT dead at the time of this writing. President Obama sends his condolences.
I’m giving up on “God Is Not Great – How religion poisons everything.” by Christopher Hitchens for the second time. On my first attempt I made it to 23% on my Kindle; this time around I stuck it out to 32%.
I’m a great admirer of Hitchens, and if I were the type to cultivate heroes, he would be one of them. I’ve probably watched 20+ hours of him in various debates/lectures/interviews on YouTube and nothing is more entertaining than watching him destroy a Jesus freak with logic and merciless acerbic wit.
I don’t think there’s anything he has said that I disagree with (apart from his support for America’s unprovoked attack on Iraq, and the subsequent decade-long train wreck of a war), and there’s nothing I have said that he couldn’t have said better. I hold the man to be a true intellectual giant.
BUT, watching him demolish some poor creationist dimwit on stage doesn’t necessarily translate well to the written format. Un-reciprocated snark and belittlement has little entertainment value. While the man clearly is a good debater and wordsmith, it quickly gets annoying when he tries to make a point of, and prove, his superiority in this regard in every other sentence. It makes you look like an arrogant prick. Furthermore, this style is most probably a turnoff for the very audience he (presumably) aims to convert, which makes me doubt his motivation in the first place.
While I do not consider myself anywhere near his academic league and intellectual stature, I haven’t read anything of his that I haven’t thought, or reasoned, myself at some level, however murky and dim. He has, nevertheless, helped illuminate and clarify my own nebulous speculations, I’ll give him that.
While I enjoy him “live” and respect him greatly, there is a strong element of snobbery about him and he clearly takes some sadistic joy in figuratively disemboweling his opponents that may be entertaining in a debate, but tiresome in writing. I’m not at all sure I would have liked him in person (and he probably wouldn’t enjoy hanging out with me). I might still give one of his non-atheist themed books a try, e.g “The Trial of Henry Kissinger” or his indictment of Mother Teresa, “The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice“.
In conclusion, lest there should be any doubt; I believe the world is a better place for Christopher Hitchens having graced us with his presence, cut untimely short as it was.
How lucky we are that this guy, Sam Harris, emerges at the same time my “hero” Christopher Hitchens fades away. God’s ways are mysterious, indeed. Radically different personalities, humble and soft spoken versus giant ego, arrogant and even mean at times, they both are/were shining stars in their chosen fields. America needs to listen to this guy and more like him.
Partially from this speech, but also other speeches/debates I’ve seen on YT, I can’t help but feel that he may be flirting a tiny little bit with New Age ideas, Buddhism, and even a bit of Tony Robbins and pop psychology. I haven’t quite figured him out yet, but he is undoubtedly an intellectual
giant of promising stature
If you’re interested in the whos, whats, wheres, whens, hows and whys of your existence, you should absolutely check him out. As soon as I finish the rather boring, formulaic, fictional story of an English archer’s trials and tribulations in France during the Hundred Years’ War I’m currently reading, I will get some of his books and dig deeper in.
Remember, the unexplored life is not worth living.
The proof is in the pudding. NOT! The correct expression is “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”. “The proof is in the pudding” doesn’t even make sense, not in today’s enlightened world. Pudding has no inherent, truth-revealing qualities, any more than tea leaves or the viscera of a newly slaughtered goat.
By eating the pudding, the qualities of the pudding are revealed to us. It’s science. Scientific method. Investigate, observe, experiment, conclude from evidence and facts. Looking to pudding for proof is superstition. Christopher Hitchens would agree with me.
I just heard the sad news. Christopher Hitchens has succumbed to esophageal cancer. Creationists all over the world rejoice, thanking Jesus, while reasonable people are mourning. I would say R.I.P., but that would be an insult.
If the music died 02-03-1959, then reason and acerbic wit took a hit 12-15-2011.
I’m not old enough to remember where I was when John F. Kennedy was assassinated, but I do have John Lennon (sitting in a van listening to the radio, waiting for the post office at St. Olav’s Square in Oslo, Norway to open) and Christoper Hitchens (right here in front of my computer in Newtown, Connecticut). Oddly enough I don’t think they would have gotten along very well.
I regard Mr Hitchens a beacon of reason and logic and unsurpassed intellectual wit and honesty in a world that suffers from ignorance and superstition, not only abroad, but increasingly so right here at home. He was the standard bearer promoting atheism (he referred to himself as an “anti-theist”) and casting off the shackles of religion.
I didn’t agree with him on everything (America’s unwarranted invasion of Iraq in 2003 being the biggie), but the world needed his passion for truth now more than ever. The world is a much, much , MUCH better place for having been lucky enough to have him around.