Friday, 16 December 2011

Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011)

In lieu of the next review - I'll refrain from the usual stock and pious statements of regret and farewell.  I doubt he'd appreciate it.   Ultimately, cancer's biggest and worse symptom is the puritanical rubbish it evokes in those who don't believe we should be responsible for our own actions.  i.e. those with little talent and no self-reflection.  Only writers seem to know what writers do and why.  I, for one, am always open to those who aren't, to come on board and, as it were, finally 'see the light.'  For there is no absolute right or absolute wrong in this.  That isn't the point.  We simply live and die as a consequence of our own actions - that's it.  Yet it never fails to amaze me how many - at least in the UK and US - cannot seem to accept that; smiling smugly as if that is the sole view of some pampered, soft-handed elite.
  What's brought this on, you might ask?  Too many people I've known, respected, or both, have succumbed to one of cancer's variants over the past thirty years.  What has linked them - apart from an intellectual brilliance - is that each has taken this simple fact on board.
  I didn't agree with CH's position on the Iraq War (which he supported) and he'd occasionally drop the odd pernicious line into his arguments simply to prompt reaction.  Still, one never felt he'd lost control of an argument.  He appeared to know where he was going by his very openness to uncertainty; feeling his way forward intelligently, you might say.  Considering the breadth of subject matter he'd covered in detail over forty years that's extraordinary.  I'll miss his voice.

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