Christopher Hitchens was a personal hero.
If you’re not familiar with his writing you should pick up his latest collection of essays. Hell you can even look though his old. He wrote so much and I haven’t even come close to reading everything he did. Maybe that’s why I don’t have a total sense of loss when I read moments ago that he finally succumbed to cancer.
His debate with Tony Blair is one of the most brilliant examples of how one can use wit to make a point. It’s a thing of beauty.
I didn’t agree with everything. He could come across as a pompous ass but even then I liked him when I was hating him. His stance on the invasion of Iraq for one thing, but the bastard was so smart he almost made me question my pacifism.
He made me smarter. Or maybe he just made me sound smarter when I’d try and quote him. I’ll leave you with a few of my favorites:
There is only one cure for world poverty that has ever been found or ever will and it’s very simple. And it could be phrased very simply too. It’s called the empowerment of women. Go to Bangladesh or Bolivia – I have to ask you to hold your applause though I love you – go to Bangladesh or Bolivia, give women control over their reproduce cycle, throw in a handful of corn if you can, make them not just the beasts of burden and the beasts of childbearing that they’ve become and the floor will rise, it just will. It never fails anywhere. Against this one solution, the Catholic Church has set its face. The efforts of the missionary Church in the Third World mean more people die, not less. It’s as simple as that. More famine, more disease, more ignorance, more random and avoidable death.
At another debate alongside his friend (And another hero of mine) Stephen Fry:
I say that homosexuality is not just a form of sex; it’s a form of love and it deserves our respect for that reason. In fact, when my children were young, I’d have been proud to have Stephen [Fry] as their babysitter and I’d tell them they were lucky. And if anyone came to my door as a babysitter wearing holy orders, I’d first call a cab and then the police.
And finally, on his beliefs in the face of death.
I will miss him.