Speaking of Hitchenses,

today would have been Christopher’s 64th birthday had he lived.  As we all knew, nobody has emerged to replace him, for his combination of eloquence, erudition, independence, and effectiveness in debate cannot be matched.  In his honor, I post this nice picture of the good Hitchens (a photo I hadn’t seen) sent by reader Grania:

image 231

29 Comments

  1. gbjames
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    A toast.

  2. Dela
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    We miss u hitch

  3. spud2006
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Ah. That man :-(

  4. Posted April 13, 2013 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    I doubt that the venerable Hitchens would have punctuated that sentence as shown here.

    • Posted April 13, 2013 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      Same doubt here.

    • Jeff Johnson
      Posted April 13, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      This must have been transcribed from a speech or debate.

      It should probably read:

      “Take the risk of thinking for yourself. Much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.”

      • elisafdm
        Posted April 13, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        Almost. I bet he wouldn’t have had the comma after “beauty”.

        • Posted April 13, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

          Almost. I bet he wouldn’t have had the comma after “beauty”.

          Too right!

        • BillyJoe
          Posted April 13, 2013 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

          We’ll never know…because it was not something he wrote but something he said. It’s on YouTube somewhere.

          • Posted April 13, 2013 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

            elisafdm’s point was that Hitch wouldn’t have used the serial comma, which is standard here in the US but anathema (to put it politely) to almost all UK writers.

    • Posted April 13, 2013 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      The lines are taken from the end of following wonderful speech he gave. From his inflection, I’d say there’s either a period or a semi-colon after the word ‘yourself’.

      http://www.pangeaprogress.com/1/post/2010/11/hitchens-take-the-risk-of-thinking-for-yourself.html

      • Posted April 13, 2013 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        Well, here’s a youtube video with the transcript below.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaBfB-p9Cbg

      • BillyJoe
        Posted April 13, 2013 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for that.

        I listened to it again just now and was as moved as when I heard it the first time a couple of years ago. I think I’ll print it out and put it somewhere where I’ll come across it from time to time to remind me how much happier and fulfilling my life is now that I have lost the faith that infected my adolescence.

  5. Posted April 13, 2013 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    The trouble with that Hitchens quote is that cranks, conspiracy theorists and science denialists of every stripe assume it (and others like it) applies to them.

  6. Posted April 13, 2013 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Here’s the article which that photo originally accompanied:

    http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2004/02/hitchens200402

    “The essence of tyranny is not iron law. It is capricious law. Tyranny can be petty. And “petty” is not just [NY mayor] Bloomberg’s middle name. It is his name.

    “In the space of a few hours late in November, I managed to break a whole slew of New York laws. That is to say, I sat on an upended milk crate, put my bag next to me on a subway seat, paused to adjust my shoe on a subway step, fed some birds in Central Park, had a cigarette in a town car, attempted to put a plastic frame around a vehicle license plate, and rode a bicycle without keeping my feet on the pedals at all times….”

    • Jeff Johnson
      Posted April 13, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      Such laws were invitations to Hitch. :)

  7. Sadiq
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    I tend to think that people who advise you to “think for yourself” either don’t really mean it or haven’t fully thought out the consequences of this advice. In this case, thinking for myself has led me to extraordinarily elitist transhumanism, something that few will appreciate. You can say whatever else you want about this ideology, but it certainly isn’t the result of being brainwashed.

  8. Allautin@gmail.com
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    General query. Do the different icons assigned to everyone’s post (all seemingly a little different from each other) gesture toward an underlying principle of evolution —In the sense that each post is slightly different from every other posts in idea space?

    (Idea space mapping to ever-changing/variations of functionalities off-of the greater cerebral convexital surface and that is to say that off-of the six or so millimeters of surface gray tissue.)

    • gbjames
      Posted April 13, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      Say what?

      • Allautin@gmail.com
        Posted April 14, 2013 at 3:28 am | Permalink

        gb J

        Put forth in honor of Christopher. That is to sey in honor of his (Christopher’s, obviously admirable neocortex (AKA and preferred, as neo unwnatedly, in comparative neuoranatomy, implies de novo, also implies later and (importantly) neo can thereby and therefore evoke an (unwanted ‘great chain’ or systematic naturae) connotation) iso) or isocortex.

        quod erat demonstrandum

        😎

        • Allautin@gmail.com
          Posted April 14, 2013 at 4:02 am | Permalink

          He means (and when I say he, I mean I) his (Christopher’s) gray matter.

          Excuse 😡 the purple prose, as the superior matter of his (Christopher’s gray matter) is what I think matters. And I think this issue of Christopher’s tissue (gray) is (as evident in cited reference to Christopher — vide supra, beginning and mention of his birthday) black and white.

          😅

  9. Mary Canada
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    I’m very grateful for existing during his time.

  10. marcusa1971
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    We will never replace him. We can only ever hope to emulate him.

  11. Stacy
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    I miss that fucker.

  12. BillyJoe
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    My niece was born today!
    …unfortunately we are in Australia so the calendar has already slipped into the next day….damn!

    Maybe she will be the next Hitchens anyway…if you don’t mind waiting a few decades and you don’t mind a female version!

    • BillyJoe
      Posted April 13, 2013 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

      …actually, my niece’s daughter was born today

    • BillyJoe
      Posted April 14, 2013 at 3:05 am | Permalink

      I’ve just come back from the hospital to see my niece and her baby daughter. They named her Heidi. They already have a son called Harry…both have the same number of letters as “Hitch” and both start with a ‘H’.
      Heidi, Harry, and Hitch!

  13. Posted April 14, 2013 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    Cheers Hitch…


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