Smackdown!: Blair vs. Hitchens

We all know that Tony Blair and Christopher Hitchens are debating the question “Be it resolved that religion is a force for good in the world” in Toronto tonight; the action starts at 7 pm EST.  If you want to watch it live, and have five bucks Canadian to spare, you can sign up to buy a live stream here.  (Look at it this way: it’s cheaper than pay-per-view sports but infinitely more entertaining.)

But I suspect it’ll all be on YouTube soon.

26 Comments

  1. Posted November 26, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    After watching one overhyped, blustering chancer way past his best, get knocked out by a superior warrior the other week, I’m not sure I could watch another slaughter so soon.

    (Audley Harrison and David Haye, btw.)

  2. MadScientist
    Posted November 26, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    But Blair is sooooo dull! In more ways than one.

  3. Sigmund
    Posted November 26, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    It will be interesting to see this (on youtube!). Blair was a masterful parlimentary performer in the setting of Prime Ministers questions. It will be interesting to see him try the same tactics against Hitchens.

    • MadScientist
      Posted November 26, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      I wondered if Blair had gone to the Sir Humphrey Appleby School of Politics. He frequently will not answer even a simple question – he simply rephrases the question as a statement. Silly people nod as if he’s saying something intelligent – I half expect someone to say “I’m glad you answered my question” with Blair responding with “I’m glad you think so.”

  4. Posted November 26, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Also waiting for youtube to get it.

  5. TheBear
    Posted November 26, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    The society for ethical treatment of weasels have made a strong point that pit fights at least should be even or stacked to the benefit of the weasel if used for public amusement.

    The official view of the anti mustelid defamation league is that while we can sympathize with the view of SETW, Blair is a disgrace for all weasels and should be badgered whenever possible. Possibly wolverined too.

    It might be too horrible to watch though.

    • Diane G.
      Posted November 26, 2010 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps, just a one-hour martenizing…

      • Jeff D
        Posted November 27, 2010 at 3:13 am | Permalink

        Best pun I’ve read all week!

        • Diane G.
          Posted November 28, 2010 at 3:14 am | Permalink

          Thanks, :). Credit to TheBear for the set-up.

          Wasn’t sure how widely known “One Hour Martinizing” is, but just couldn’t resist. (Prob. just a US thing, and maybe only regional at that?)

  6. Andy Dufresne
    Posted November 26, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    I’ll wait for the YouTube clips. But, this is the kind of pay-per-view I can be down with. I pay five bucks for my Sunday NY Times print edition. I could easily see myself paying 100 nickels to watch two interesting debaters debate an interesting question, especially if one of them is Christopher (and the other is not David Berlinski).

  7. Posted November 26, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Paying for something on the internet?!? I’ll wait for the transcript/podcast/video to leak…

  8. Marella
    Posted November 26, 2010 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    I don’t pay for stuff on the net. There’s just too much of it. Once you start doing that bankruptcy is just round the corner.

  9. Atheist.pig
    Posted November 26, 2010 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    “Look at it this way: it’s cheaper than pay-per-view sports but infinitely more entertaining.”

    I couldn’t disagree more. I bet this debate will be word for word a carbon copy of the last Hitchens debate and the one before that, and the one before that, etc…

    We also might get to hear Hitchens tell us what a great leader Blair was and how he shouldn’t have stepped down as prime minister when he did (what Hitchens said) even though Blair had lost all credibility with the British electorate after he lied about Iraqi intelligence.

    • mdh
      Posted December 7, 2010 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      you know, it is possible to disagree with someone about a fundamental issue and still think he’d be a good leader. You should try it sometime, accepting the not-relevant to the job at hand imperfections of your allies yields you a lot more allies.

      castigating all who disagtee with you, endlessly, and at every opportunity, will leave yoy quite alone at the end of the day.

  10. Maria Jinich
    Posted November 26, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Blair kept telling us what religion should be like, NOT what religion is actually like. Chris was superb!!!!! Like never before!!!!!

  11. Lee
    Posted November 26, 2010 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    Synopsis

    Tony Blair: Faith and religion is bad, but can be good. Can’t you feel the love? I can.

    Hitchens: Religion is more than your personal take on it. Read the holy texts and listen to the preists, your authority and brethern. It’s fucking vile.

  12. Posted November 26, 2010 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    What a great debate. I’m with Hitch all the way, but Blair did well himself. Shameless Plug: If any Hitchens fans out there are interested in a a print of my recent portrait of the man, please visit my site at http://web.me.com/adriancovert/Adrian_Covert_Web/Christopher_Hitchens_Portrait.html

  13. Mirik
    Posted November 26, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    Lee summarized every debate on reason vs religion since the death of Jesus. He wins!

    Still going to watch it to see the slimy Blair grovel in the awesome rhetorical might of the Hitch.

  14. Miro
    Posted November 26, 2010 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    “Access the Archived Religion debate online until March 1, 2011, for just $2.99.”

    I doubt it will show up on youtube (and stay there) until at least March 1st.

    • MadScientist
      Posted November 27, 2010 at 1:15 am | Permalink

      They may be short a few M$ for Blair’s appearance. He’s like Palin without the boobs and guns (but like Palin, he *is* a boob).

  15. Shatterface
    Posted November 26, 2010 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    I’ll wait for YouTube. Having had the internet for some time now I’ve become accustomed to watching people being reamed for free.

  16. Robert MacDonald
    Posted November 26, 2010 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Just got back from the debate. Hitch was great.

    Blair was surprisingly personable, agreeable and modest, grinning and laughing with Hitch’s jabs at his expense. My summary of his argument would be “I know bad has been done in the name of religion but I know why I’m religious, and how believers all over are drawn to do good by their faith.” He wasn’t operating at Hitchens’ level, but he has his own winning way. Not that he won the debate — the pre-debate audience poll was already 2 to 1 against his side and at the end more of the undecideds broke Hitch’s way.

    I don’t think Blair had much more to draw on. But Hitch, as he reminded the audience, had tons more ammunition he wouldn’t have time to fire. Blair managed to mention the dreary mantra of Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot, though he didn’t expand on it.

    At the reception afterward there was the cash bar and free Munk Debate popcorn and Lindt chocolates — kind of a toney crowd, not surprising considering the ticket price, but it would have been nice to see a Pharynguloid horde. No book signing. Home on the streetcar.

  17. zackoz
    Posted November 26, 2010 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    Ipsos Reid did a poll on “Is Religion a Force for Good”, timed for the debate. You have to log in to see the details, but I gather (from Greg Laden’s blog) that the countries saying no are mainly Western-type ones. Saudi Arabia and Indonesia have the largest votes for yes.

    http://www.ipsos-na.com/news-polls/pressrelease.aspx?id=5058

  18. Arabiflora
    Posted November 27, 2010 at 2:35 am | Permalink

    I’ll confess that I have not seen the debate Blair v. Hitchens but, having seen the prior matchup (Berlinski v. Hitchens) I have no expectation that it will yield any new or even remotely novel perspectives on this age-old “debate”.

    I suppose that strawmen need to be taken down from time to time but Berlinski? and now Tony Blair? Thin reeds, indeed.

  19. Posted November 27, 2010 at 3:16 am | Permalink

    I’m still torn on this. I accept that religion is not overall a force for good in the world, but surely the question is: is it TRUE?

    Of course the answer to that latter (once we’ve qualified which religion we’re discussing) is NO, but I think that’s where the focus perhaps should be. Occasionally. We need Hitch-slaps on the immorality of religion too 🙂

  20. Posted November 27, 2010 at 4:32 am | Permalink

    Paul Harris of the Guardian rates it as a strong win for Hitchens: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/27/christopher-hitchens-tony-blair-debate


One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] Smackdown!: Blair vs. Hitchens « Why Evolution Is True […]

%d bloggers like this: