By Kyle | August 6, 2010
An Anderson Cooper interview with Christopher Hitchens, who is nearly hairless from chemotherapy as he faces (not “battles”) cancer. It’s kind of darkly funny how Cooper lobs standard showbiz interview lines at Hitchens, as if he was talking to Elizabeth Taylor instead of one of the great minds extant, only to be swatted down gently. “So you thought ‘why me’?” No, as Hitchens has written, he thought, “Why not me?” “So you are hopeful?” No, he isn’t. Hitchens believes he is probably going to die soon. “Haven’t wept yet. Maybe that’s to come. But I become moist when I think about my children.” Considering whether smoking and drinking might have led to esophogeal cancer, Hitchens says “it would be very idle to deny it” and adds, “If you can hold it down on the smokes and the cocktails, you might be very well-advised to do so.”
Hitchens won’t be participating in prayer groups convened on his behalf (“I don’t think that souls or bodies can be changed by incantation”) and says he will profess belief in God only if he should become half-demented by drugs or pain, and that any entity that would say such a thing “would not be me.”
By Kyle | May 2, 2010
On Page Six today, I give a little taste of what’s in Hitchens’ new memoir “Hitch-22,” coming next month.
By Kyle | April 25, 2010
Peter Hitchens takes on Christopher Hitchens in a new book that makes the case for God. Apparently the last time the brothers aired their differences publicly, they nearly came to blows. I’d buy a ticket to that.
By Kyle | March 8, 2010
Ho-hum, you say? More evidence of the English Vice, this time in Christopher Hitchens’ upcoming memoir, in which he confesses to schoolboy love affairs with Thatcher-loving dudes when he, of course, was a young Trotskyite. Our friends in the scepter’d isle are intimately familiar with each other’s scepters. I think there must be a mandatory class on the subject taught in English public schools. I’m sure Hunter Tremayne could tell you all about it. This information completes a rather warmish trifecta in the writing of those three old friends Ian McEwan, Martin Amis and Christopher Hitchens. I will write later on the disturbing quantity of semen appearing glistening on women’s faces (apparently it’s a wonderful moisturizer) in feminist Martin Amis’s sex novel “The Pregnant Widow” and the unspeakable penile abuse committed in McEwan’s global-warming novel, “Solar.”
By Kyle | January 12, 2010
An elegant takedown by Christopher Hitchens of the increasingly crazy-eyed gentleman of letters, Gore Vidal.
By Kyle | December 29, 2009
Over at Slate, Hitchens unloads on our absurd system of airline travel “security” as we all prepare for more red tape will be used to hogtie the innocent while known jihadists whose names appear on watch lists merrily continue to board planes. Sample:
In my boyhood, there were signs on English buses that declared, in bold letters, “No Spitting.” At a tender age, I was able to work out that most people don’t need to be told this, while those who do feel a desire to expectorate on public transport will require more discouragement than a mere sign. But I’d be wasting my time pointing this out to our majestic and sleepless protectors, who now boldly propose to prevent airline passengers from getting out of their seats for the last hour of any flight. Abdulmutallab made his bid in the last hour of his flight, after all. Yes, that ought to do it. It’s also incredibly, nay, almost diabolically clever of our guardians to let it be known what the precise time limit will be. Oh, and by the way, any passenger courageous or resourceful enough to stand up and fight back will also have broken the brave new law.
By Kyle | May 15, 2009
Not to me. To the Atlantic:
I take great solace in Christopher Hitchens’s eloquent essay revitalizing the teachings of Karl Marx (“The Revenge of Karl Marx,” April Atlantic). Over many years of following the stock market, I have found no more consistent sign that we are at the bottom of a bear market than a renewed interest in the teachings of the author of Das Kapital. I have therefore given appropriate directions to my stockbroker.
By Kyle | May 12, 2009
So sayeth Christopher Hitchens, on Wanda Sykes’ White House correspondents’ association dinner routine, where she called Rush Limbaugh the 20th 9/11 hijacker, accused him of treason and dreamed that his kidneys would fail him. My problem with Sykes: Her stuff isn’t very funny. Will Hitchens take heat for his remark? Naw. British exception! The Cousins are assumed to be witty and cosmopolitan, not mean-spirited or hateful.
By Kyle | May 11, 2009
Did Churchill torture German spies to get priceless information that could save lives? Ron Radosh, in response to Christopher Hitchens, points out that according to a Guardian report, German agents captured during WW II were not considered signatory to the Geneva conventions and were made to stand at attention for 26 hours and deprived of sleep for four days. It seems that the definition of torture keeps getting defined down. Methods the British used against the IRA just 30 years ago were no big deal then but seem shocking now.
By Kyle | April 23, 2009
Expert On All Things Christopher Hitchens is called upon (when is he not? And when does he refuse?) to provide an intro, in this case to a new volume of interviews with Hunter S. Thompson called, “Ancient Gonzo Wisdom,” from Da Capo. The book is due in July.
Hitchens visited Aspen in 1990 for a Bush-Thatcher summit that was thrown off course when Saddam Hussein declared Kuwait part of Iraq. Hitchens: “it was still possible to witness something extraordinary: the sight of Mrs. Thatcher publicly inserting quantities of lead into George Bush’s pencil.” Hitchens went to a party on a (literal) summit in Aspen, asked for a gin and tonic, and was told, “Sir, that wouldn’t be appropriate at this attitude.” Hitchens replied, “In that case I’ll have a double gin.”
Hitchens said he visited Thompson at Owl Farm only twice. But he captures something important about HST, something that very probably led to his premature demise. Hitchens speaks of
the strain imposed on him by visitors who wanted him to be outrageous, to do or say something that was way over the top: tourists in effect who wanted their own ‘Hunter’ anecdote to tell when they got home. This of course happens to many veterans and celebrities, but I fear that it may have had an especially enervating effect on someone to whom the authenticity and spontaneity of the moment had always been so essential….Wherever he goes….he is under pressure to perform, to be ‘Hunter,’ to do something ‘Gonzo.’ One can detect, in a certain dullness in his eye, a weariness with all this and a wish to be released from the demands of stereotype.
Hitchens goes on,
A question necessarily arises as to how one could tell when Hunter was, and was not, joking. This conundrum has bedeviled the satirical since Juvenal, and may be one of the reasons that the good Doctor eventually succumbed to terminal weltschmerz: It can be exhausting when people assume you are merely being outrageous when in fact your intention is serious and sincere.