Christopher Hitchens knew how to put the final boot into a corpse; he said of Jerry Falwell being so full of bullshit “if you gave him an enema you could burry him in a matchbox” as a parting shot on Fox News. Hitch mentioned that if you spoke ill of someone during their life time why stop when they are six feet under?
A year since the world lost this most prosaic of contrarians comes a biography: “Unhitched: The Trial of Christopher Hitchens” by Richard Seymour. It has a lot to say – accusing him of plagiarism, and being the pamphleteer of the Dubbya administration having prior to which Hitch had already moved to the right. “Amanuensis” is the actual accusation of propaganda. With this book be prepared to find new words to casually drop into everyday conversation to be considered an ostentatious nitwit.
Undergirding all of these accusations is the assertion that Hitchens was an opportunist, and that his supposed transformation from a radical into a “left-wing defector with a soft spot for empire” was a conscious rebranding assumed for reasons of self-promotion. Seymour claims that the narrative of a left-to-right shift, however, was wildly overstated, particularly by Hitchens himself, and that “not only was Hitchens a man of the right in his last years, but his predilections for a certain kind of right-wing radicalism … pre-dated his apostasy.”
My advice would be, if you have not already, read “Hitch22” for what Hitchens had to say about his detractors, and to read James Kirchick’s review of “Unhitched” where the above quote comes from. He points out that being against a right wing military junta invading a British Territory is not a matter of left or right, that the sources used in the book disprove the author’s conclusions, and that being against militant Islamification – which is killing three thousand people in two office towers is in stark contrast to militant atheism which at it’s best was Hitchens talking.
James Kirchick’s review can be found here.
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog
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