An Australian report on the Texas Freethought Convention

Australia’s SBS (Special Broadcasting Service) has put up a nine-minute “Dateline” video, “Fighting Faith” about the Texas Freethought Convention. Be patient; the video loads slowly, but it’s well worth watching.

You’ll recognize several people, including Genie Scott, P. Z., Barbara Forrest, Nick Lee, Michel Shermer, Margaret Downey (I think), and of course Hitchens and Dawkins.  The footage is new, barely overlapping anything in the videos I’ve posted previously.

Richard has an eloquent bit about “the diversity of opinion” around seven minutes in, and much of the video is about Hitchens.  He looks terribly ill and frail, with eyes resembling those of the survivors of Auschwitz.  As he says in his speech, “I’m not as I was”: the understatement of the year.  I fear it won’t be long now . . .

Nevertheless, his courage shines out, and toward the end there are some good scenes of him signing books and interacting with his fans.  At about 7:50 we see Mason Crumpacker, the subject of the previous post, talking to Hitchens, and Hitch wishing her “lots of love, take it easy—and remember the love bit.”

It all makes me tear up. We’ll not see his like again.


  1. Posted October 30, 2011 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    I don’t want this to be how 2011 ends. Muss es sein?

    • Jeremy Nel
      Posted October 30, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      Es muß sein! 😦

  2. NewEnglandBob
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    I am glad I am alone at the moment. Tears cloud my vision.

  3. Michieux
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    I wouldn’t be so hasty in writing Mr. Hitchens off. He’s fighting the battle of his life, and I’m sure we all extend our support and love in whatever way we can.

    The ravages of his illness will have him look better or worse from time to time; I’ve seen it in cancer sufferers, and know that looks can be deceiving. My own mother died of pancreatic cancer, and at times during her treatment she looked at death’s door, only to recover significantly enough to appear relatively healthy.

    I can’t predict the trajectory Mr. Hitchens’ illness will take, but I know that he’s receiving the best treatment known to us at this time. Let us hope that is is ultimately successful.

    Having said that, I’m hoping to see him in Melbourne next year.

  4. Aratina Cage
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    “Lots of love. Take it easy. — And remember the love…”
    Such touching words. Dawkins knows just the right thing to say, too. I love his use of the word “enthralling”:

    I’m against the propagation of outdated, rather unimaginative ideas about the world, which is so much less exciting, so much less enthralling, so much less thrilling than the truth.

  5. 386sx
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Oh, they made me a youtube partner! Watch out for hit atheist songs! Maybe even a Jerry Coyne song! (Con permisso of course.)

    Sorry for the spam but I proud of it, lol. Everybody go click on my ads. (I kid.) 😛

    • 386sx
      Posted October 30, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      He says, as if people give a crap. No more blog posts for me cause I’m tired of feeling like an idiot. Bye blog universe….

  6. Still learning
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    The greatest legacy is to make people’s lives better; the best gift is to be told you’ve made someone’s life better. Hitch has given and received. He’s a true mensch.

    Speaking of giving and receiving, I’m surprised his doctors let him mingle in crowds and shake hands. Because of his chemotherapy, his immune system is suppressed leaving him at great risk of catching a bug that could be devastating. At the very least, he should have had a mask on.

  7. Dawn Oz
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    As an Australian, I was proud that it was on our TV, however SBS is watched by those of us who are educated, so it wouldn’t have a wide audience. We have lots of freedom from religion here, and was impressed that the meeting was held in Texas. Lump to my throat watching Hitch. I have all his books on my iPad, as well as audiobooks.

    • George D
      Posted October 31, 2011 at 2:51 am | Permalink

      You’re proud because it was on Australian TV? What a bizarre example of parochialism. You also sound like a snob.

      • whyevolutionistrue
        Posted October 31, 2011 at 3:19 am | Permalink

        George D,

        What is the point of your comment–simply to denigrate another poster? Please refrain from name-calling toward other commenters on this site.

  8. Diane G.
    Posted October 31, 2011 at 1:38 am | Permalink

    It’s a treat to hear the precociously articulate Mason. 🙂

    Hitch sounds ever more humane; it does seem to take the threat of imminent mortality to bring that out in us, despite our being aware of our ultimate fate all along.

  9. George D
    Posted October 31, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Permalink


%d bloggers like this: