Ca va sans dire

A few days ago, I started Christopher Hitchens’ latest essay in Vanity Fair. I put it down before I had finished it, wanting to save it, wondering how many days he had left with us and, selfishly, wondering how many future articles of his to which I could look forward.

I cried a little this morning when I heard the news that he is gone. The world has lost an incredible writer, observer and a very brave soul. I have long admired his sharp intellect and courageous attacks. I have, like everyone, disagreed with him from time to time (I know many of his fans would choose the war with Iraq as their evidence of his fallibility, but instead I point to his silly essay about women comedians to state emphatically that women are funny; to wit: Tina Fey), but more often than not, I have finished a Hitchens article in awe of his biting intolerance for corruption, his confidence in his moral compass and his capacity for knowledge and truth. Mr. Hitchens, you will be missed by so many. Thank you for all of the gifts you gave us.

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4 Responses to “Ca va sans dire”


  1. 1 Terry December 17, 2011 at 11:41 am

    Thanks for expressing these thoughts and feelings. (And how great that you also picked the women and humor essay–that’s one of my top contenders, if not the top!). In times of overstatement and silly hyperbole, it seems risky to say that Hitchens’ death leaves a massive hole (in so many things, but rigorous thinking and acting in concert with those thoughts are on my mind the most) likely to remain unfilled in my lifetime. But I really don’t think that’s a stretch to make that statement.

    And he would like the title of your post….

  2. 2 kateandgracie December 19, 2011 at 10:25 am

    You know, I really don’t think it is a stretch, either. He really was one-of-a-kind. I loved Christopher Buckley’s story about how much WFB detested Hitchens because of his anti-Church writings, but then WFB thought Hitchens’ Chirac story was fabulous.

    I worry that we are losing, or – gasp – have lost, the ability to disagree with a person sometimes, but still to appreciate other work by the person. I mean, in our every day life, when do we ever agree with everything our friend, spouse, mother, coworker says? But we don’t stop listening to them or loving them or respecting them. But somehow, when a person is a public figure, we too often write them off when they have written or said something we find distasteful/incorrect/ridiculous/offensive. I know I am guilty of this, as well, but I try very hard not to do it.

  3. 3 Kristin December 19, 2011 at 10:53 am

    I started his last Vanity Fair essay yesterday, but it made me a bit too sad, so I put it down. I will go back to it. There really was no one like him. Even when I was disagreeing with him, I was always interested in what he had to say and how he said it (well, except about females and comedy – that was just plain dumb).

    I went on a bit of a Christopher Hitchens jag earlier this year when I was reading his memoir, Hitch-22. I found his debate on religion with Tony Blair on youtube (it’s a couple hours) and really enjoyed it. You should check it if you haven’t already.

  4. 4 kateandgracie December 19, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Good tip — thanks, Fee!

    And I finished the Vanity Fair article this weekend and it really was too sad; reading it after he is gone is awful. Ugh.


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