Viewing blog entries in category: Christopher Hitchens
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Best of the Hitchslap!
Two years ago today, Christopher Hitchens died. But his legacy is a force which still inspires me to think, and feel, and ask questions. Lots of questions.
Here is a short video which I think you will find to be inspiring as well.
Hitchens was one of a kind. His wit, intelligence, graciousness, class, humor, charisma, voice--oh that voice--were like none other. Such a loss. Tragic. A brilliant man's life cut short. A man that should have been the one saved on that hypothetical, over-capacity lifeboat. Some lives are more valuable than others, sorry. Don't believe me? Place Hitler next to Hitchens. Who do you save? Sometimes I feel like my compass is a little wonky without him. I'm on my own. It is sometimes difficult to navigate these current political and sociological waters. I am uncertain... looking at it all through my ignorant, humble lenses. I miss his powerful--yet gentle, insightful, and educated perspective. I feel shortchanged, as I was only privy to this man's greatness for a short five or so years, before his untimely death in December 2011. How I wished I had been there in the early days. It must have been wonderful to have known him when he was a student at Oxford. Or a journalist reporting on the conflicts in eastern Europe. I learned of him too late. And this I regret.
Thank goodness that the Hitch was around during the YouTube and Internet era. All those wonderful debates and interviews have been captured, preserved, and shared... like little intellectual memes spreading across the planet.
Hitchens was not a lyricist or a singer--like Morrissey. But his words, both spoken and written, had, and still have, the ability to capture and transform and enlighten both minds and hearts. There is no doubt in my mind that he is the freethinker's Morrissey. He has legions of loyal fans that literally do hang on his every word. I wonder if they too feel lost sometimes without Hitch as the rudder? There are probably communities out there discussing this very thing right now. But isn't one community enough for me? I really can't be bothered to participate in other online discussion forums. Solo is time consuming enough. I'd probably learn more elsewhere. But is that all it's about? Who knows what the future holds. Solo may close its doors one day. My interests may shift. It's all uncertain.
Here is a thirty minute video that has Hitch answering reddit.com's (top ten questions)...
Ask Christopher Hitchens Anything ~ taped in 2009.
Morrissey is not my hero.
Christopher Hitchens came close. But even he was a very flawed person. He drank too much, smoked too much, and wrote an essay that argued women weren't funny. Nobody is perfect.
But Hitch and I had a lot in common. So I think he would have made great company. Many state just that. That he lit up the room, was highly entertaining, and could hold court into the wee hours... never losing his edge. People adored him. He was charming and charismatic... but most of all, gracious.
Gracious is not a trait I associate with Morrissey... unless we are talking about animals, of course. Anyone who requests a fellow being to salt his fries so that he may be spared illness (imaginary, of course), is not someone I'd like to pal around with. Nor could I revere such a person. This act alone demonstrates a serious flaw in his moral character, imo. And before you say that this incident is unsubstantiated (as I have heard claimed before), it was reported in a magazine. If it was false, Morrissey would have let us know via TTY. It happened folks. That is who he is. He is fussy, demanding, and probably has some OCD traits. Not fun company. Not hero-like.
When I first discovered Morrissey... the young, sexy vocalist, who penned and sang the most unique and witty lyrics I had ever heard... I was fascinated... obsessed with his image... his persona. I wanted to know everything about him. And so I literally read every article and interview I could find. I learned much. Then I found Solo... and became a part of a community of fans. I have learned so much more about his music and history since then.
In 2005, I began to feel disillusioned. I realized that Morrissey was not the man I thought he was--hoped he was. His boycotting of Canada, talks of playing in Iran, remarks about the Norway shootings etc... changed my perception of him. I no longer saw him as a voice for me or my beliefs. I realized that we were different... very different. Our moral compasses pointed in different directions. He was not, nor could ever be a hero because I did not look up to him nor respect his thinking or way of life. He was not an ambassador for any meaningful cause... except animal rights. And even then, it seemed more self-serving than selfless.
And at the same time, I was discovering Hitchens. So the contrast of these two icons made it all the more apparent.
Morrissey is tops in my book as a brilliant and talented lyricist, vocalist, and stage presence. But he is not worthy of hero status. Heroes are folks who stick their necks out, serve as role models, fight for human rights and injustices... change the world... inspire others to make changes for the greater good.
Many of the fawning sycophants here claim they ARE inspired by Morrissey. His lyrics saved their lives, helped them through troubled times, made them give up eating meat. Great. But this is all very subjective and has no bearing outside of one's bedroom unless it is applied to accomplishing things that help others and make our world a better and more interesting place. What great accomplishments achieved by his fans, which serve the greater good of humanity, are the result of listening to his music or adopting his views?
We are told not to eat meat, to hate David and Victoria Beckham, and to see the Royal Family as evil. And then what? Give to charity? Help the homeless? Educate the illiterate? Build homes in disaster torn areas? Help raise money for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation? Nope. None of these things. Morrissey tells us to not eat meat, hate certain celebrities that he feels have not earned their statuses, buy his music... including the reissues, and fork out big bucks for concert tickets without any guarantee of a performance. That's it. How is this being a role model worthy of hero status?
So anyhow, no, I don't desire to meet Morrissey. If I did, I would not place him on a pedestal or ask for his autograph. He is no better than I. Different? Yes. But more worthy as a human being? No. Of course, I don't worship any TV, film, or musical celebrities. I see them for who they are--talented entertainers with gifts bestowed upon them by mother nature. Lucky folks who have embraced their talents and worked hard to nurture them and share the fruits of their labor with the rest of us. Wonderful! The world is a more interesting and amusing place as a result.
Why am I here, on Solo, if I don't think Morrissey is a god worthy of blind adoration? Because I love his music and I enjoy interacting with other folks who do as well. So please don't tell me I have no business being here. I do.
I am going to go get all of my books out of storage. Screw it if they have to be stacked floor to ceiling. That's how The Hitch displayed his fine collection.
From storage to hallway...
Stacked on marble table... gosh I miss my bookshelves...
V V V
December 15th, 2012 is the one year anniversary of my beloved Christopher Hitchens' death. Christopher was my intellectual hero. He was a brave, highly intelligent, articulate, charming, witty, and gracious fellow atheist. Although he had his detractors, he was greatly admired by many and respected by most.
It has been a year since Hitch last spoke, wrote, laughed... held court. I miss reading his latest polemical essays in Vanity Fair and other publications. I have countless books on my Kindle, old articles on the Net, and YouTube videos to keep me Hitch-filled. But admittedly, I feel a void, as I am certain many others do. We want Hitchens to be alive. Now. In person. Such a loss--this brilliant mind. Too bad it could not have been preserved for eternity. In the future when as is well, intelligence preservation may be possible. And I am certain Hitch would have approved and been the first in line to volunteer his gray matter to the cause.
Hitch was a pioneer both in his political views--fighting for the liberation of the Kurds at a time when their cries fell on deaf ears, and a militant, courageous anti-theist--championing the atheist cause wherever and whenever possible.
Nobody did it better. And sadly I believe, nobody will, in my lifetime anyhow.
We will meet up again, if only as, wind in the dust.
Hey guys. To celebrate my acquisition of a newer model Kindle, I have created a second follow-up book titled realitybites back. Pretty clever name eh? This eBook is a collection of my blog writings over the last year and a half.
Anyhow, I am giving it away for free in PDF format. It has images and links. You can read it on your PC or reading device. Looks great on my new Kindle--old model did not support PDF's very well. To download book, click HERE. File was too large to attach here. So it is downloadable from my online storage Box.
Also you can read the book right out of the Box. Haha.
Lastly, don't be afraid to download the book. It won't bite. And I have no way of knowing who downloaded it or where from. Box is a free online service and I am not privy to any of those transactions/functions. The only thing I get is an email at the end of the day with a generic summary saying someone viewed, or, two people downloaded etc. So feel free and safe to download or read online. Or not.
I have put together a collection of my writings on atheism. Download PDF by clicking attachment at bottom of page.
Author Martin Amis on coping with the loss of his best friend Christopher Hitchens...
When Christopher Hitchens died in December, Martin Amis lost his best friend. The British author says his immediate desolation gave way to a much greater love of life, something Amis believes Hitchens had in spades and bequeathed to him when he passed away.
Watch video and read complete article HERE.
*Update September 24, 2012 ~ Just finished Mortality. It is a short book... can be read in one or two sittings. I highly recommend it to all Hitchens fans and anyone else interested in the personal dialogue that goes on in one's head when dealing with cancer and terminal illness.
The late, great Christopher Hitchens' book, Mortality, is being published posthumously on September 4, 2012.
Remember, you too are mortal—hit me at the top of my form and just as things were beginning to plateau. My two assets— my pen and my voice—and it had to be the esophagus. All along, while burning the candle at both ends, I'd been "straying into the arena of the unwell" and now "a vulgar little tumor" was evident. This alien can't want anything; if it kills me it dies but it seems very single-minded and set in its purpose. No real irony here, though. Must take absolute care not to be self-pitying or self-centered.
"Based on his columns in Vanity Fair that chronicled his year-and-a-half battle with esophageal cancer, Mortality is Christopher Hitchens at his most honest and reflective. Thoughtfully meditating on the harrowing effects of illness and treatment on the body, and on the impermanence and acceptance of a life ending, Mortality is Hitchens' magnum opus, and in true Hitchens form, he has the last word." Source
Publisher’s note: These fragmentary jottings, published as the last chapter of Christopher Hitchens’ new book, Mortality, were left unfinished at the time of Hitchens’ death in December. Annotations by Slate editor David Plotz.
In her afterword to Mortality, Hitchens' widow, Carol Blue, writes of how she misses "the unpublished Hitch: the countless notes he left for me in the entryway, on my pillow, the emails he would send while we sat in different rooms in our apartment." For writers less productive than Hitchens—that is, all of us—the idea of unpublished Hitch is inconceivable. He was everywhere—on TV when he wasn't giving a speech, his latest book either just published or about to be published, the author of pieces in Slate, Vanity Fair, and theAtlantic in the same week. How could anything have gone unpublished? How could there be any stories, any jokes, any insults, any perfect Wodehouse citations that were never silver-tongued out into the world? Yet despite writing as much as he did, he left some behind, either for friends and family, or, in this case, as notes.
Read an edited version of Carol Blue’s afterword to Mortality: Christopher Hitchens: an impossible act to follow
Carol Blue speaks with Charlie Rose.
Here are some amusing quotes/statements that I shoplifted from The Skeptic's Dictionary online:
You're codependent for sure if, when you die,
someone else's life flashes in front of your eyes.
Seventy-two percent of people think that we use only 10 percent of our brain capacity, which proves that 72% of people are wasting the 10% of their brain that's working.
My Favorite Skeptic Trumps:
"...I am not so much an atheist as an anti-theist. I am, in other words, not one of those unbelievers who wishes that they had faith, or that they could believe. I am, rather, someone who is delighted that there is absolutely no persuasive evidence for the existence of any of mankind's many thousands of past and present deities."
~ Christopher Hitchens
It's been a month to date since Christopher Hitchens died. I'm already feeling the void. Although Dawkins, Harris, Dennett, and Krauss are all highly visible, intelligent, and articulate contributors to secularist ideals--particularly atheism, Hitchens was the ringleader. With poise, grace, wit, humor, charisma, infectious charm, and powerful debate skills, he captured your attention and held you hostage until he finished speaking. You were left both enlightened and delighted. Don't believe me? Give this video a watch. Already seen it a thousand times? Watch it again. It's still fresh and timeless--certain to become a classic, if not one already.
Hitchens Talks: Google Listens
Last night the world lost one of its greatest thinkers and wits. I am deeply saddened by the death of my intellectual hero Christopher Hitchens. After battling esophageal cancer for the last eighteen months, Hitchens' body finally succumbed to pneumonia. He died at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston Texas surrounded by family and friends. We will miss him dearly.
In memory of Hitch, I will be posting interesting articles, interviews, videos, tributes, obituaries etc. here as they surface on the Net.
First off is an interview of Hitchens by Richard Dawkins from the December 2011 New Statesman Christmas edition. I have attached the interview to this entry as a PDF document. File is located at the end of blog post. Click to open and read.
Also, Christopher Hitchens Remembered. Tributes
to the journalist and intellectual from Julian Barnes, Anne Applebaum, James Fenton and others.
Photos: In Memoriam of Christopher Hitchens, 1949–2011
The Longform.org Guide to Christopher Hitchens
A great journalist’s greatest magazine stories.
Christopher Hitchens Obituaries.
Author Christopher Hitchens on Charlie Rose.
Stream Entire Interview.
Hitchens Remembered Through 15 of His Most Memorable Quotes.
Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins at the Texas Freethought Convention 2011
Christopher Hitchens "Fighting Faith" 2011 Interview
The Thinking Atheist's Tribute to Christopher Hitchens
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