Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011


I feel I should say something about Christopher Hitchens, the brilliant mind that has left us way too early. There have been many tributes to him on virtually every newspaper I read today, all of it well deserved.

I first learned of him after having read, enjoyed and agreed with most of his thinking in 'God is not great'. As I learned a bit more about him, I became a fan. I would invariably take the time to read his Salon column every Monday morning (it would arrive via RSS) and always come out impressed with the breadth of topics he would cover, the poignancy of his comments and clarity of his thinking. I deeply admired his stance as his own man, not simply aligning himself 'right', 'left' or anything in between.

Watching him (unfortunately never live, but online or listening afterwards via podcasts) on debates such as Intelligence Squared and the Munk Debates was uplifting: here was the personification of 'applied intellect' - the perfect combination of erudite knowledge, moral clarity and unflinching delivery. One would almost - almost - feel bad for the opposing side. A lot more to be found at and google elsewhere.

There's surely others who will write much better prose to honor him, but let this be my simple contribution. Some of us will praise him for his positions, some won't, but we should all praise him for his courage and contributions.

Thanks Hitch, we'll miss you dearly.

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