About Me

Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

Buy A Christmas Caroline for $10! "for those who prefer their sentimentality seasoned with a dash of cynical wit. A quick, enjoyable read...straight out of Devil Wears Prada"--The Wall Street Journal

Rotten Tomatoes
Search Movie/Celeb

Advanced Search
  • Recent Comments

  • Categories

  • « | Home | »

    Last Call for Hitchens

    By kyle | December 27, 2011

    In case you were busy over the weekend, you might not have noticed that Christopher Hitchens got in a posthumous poke at Christmas in the Wall Street Journal, in which he bemoaned enforced seasonal joy.

    If you take no stock in the main Christian festival of Easter, or if you are a non-Jew who has no interest in atoning in the fall, you have an all-American fighting chance of being able to ignore these events, or of being only briefly subjected to parking restrictions in Manhattan. But if Christmas has the least tendency to get you down, then lots of luck. You have to avoid the airports, the train stations, the malls, the stores, the media and the multiplexes. You will be double-teamed by Bing Crosby and the herald angels wherever you go. And this for a whole unyielding month of the calendar.

    I realize that I do not know what happens in the prison system. But I do know what happens by way of compulsory jollity in the hospitals and clinics and waiting rooms, and it’s a grueling test of any citizen’s capacity to be used for so long as a captive audience.

    I once tried to write an article, perhaps rather straining for effect, describing the experience as too much like living for four weeks in the atmosphere of a one-party state. “Come on,” I hear you say. But by how much would I be exaggerating? The same songs and music played everywhere, all the time. The same uniform slogans and exhortations, endlessly displayed and repeated. The same sentimental stress on the sheer joy of having a Dear Leader to adore. As I pressed on I began almost to persuade myself. The serried ranks of beaming schoolchildren, chanting the same uplifting mush. The cowed parents, in terror of being unmasked by their offspring for insufficient participation in the glorious events…. “Come on,” yourself. How wrong am I?

    Santa as Kim Jong Il! Perfect. I believe there is at least one more posthumous piece coming from Hitchens, on G.K. Chesterton.

    Topics: Books, Christopher Hitchens | 3 Comments »

    3 Responses to “Last Call for Hitchens”

    1. kishke Says:
      December 27th, 2011 at 10:45 am

      This is just crochety belly-aching. Hitchens being a kvetch.

    2. K Says:
      December 27th, 2011 at 1:02 pm

      I didn’t realize that Christmas lights could be such an annoyance. I’ve never before put Christmas lights on my house – but with inspiration like this I’m definitely lighting it up next year.

      God bless and keep you Hitch!

    3. KS Says:
      December 27th, 2011 at 3:04 pm

      I agree with kishke. As Peter Hitchens concluded his moving December 18 blog post: “I think Christmas is a religious festival, and pointless without religion. But I wish you all, even the unbelievers, a peaceful and blessed Nativity, safe and warm amid the blast and tumult of our tottering civilisation.”