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Christopher Hitchens "All Of Life Is A Wager"


 

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I ended up watching the whole 53 minutes.

Me too.

Mr. Hitchens has always been a source for me. And often an echo chamber.

first time back visiting your site in years, and this video comes up... heartwrenching to see him like this. but so valuable to hear him reflecting in his way at this stage. Thank you for posting!

Thanks for posting this Red7. Like Frenetic I watched the entire 53 minutes.

It took a few pauses but I did too. I found it a bit frustrating that so many of his interviews spend so much time on his illness and not about what he is thinking about the world, but this interview as a discussion between what seems like friends was really relaxed and enjoyable.

I enjoy Brian Lamb's interviews.

thanks, red. i too watched the whole thing, and agree with your comment, and thanks for posting the interview.

memories: i first came across hitchens in, i guess,2006, here on 1gm. i was impressed by the intellect but had some personal objections which i expressed here vociferously (of course ;)) at the time. norm (of course) continued to post his stuff- articles and interviews- and i (of course) continued checking them out, gaining more and more respect for the guy and still objecting to bits of what i saw (and still do) as bits of bullshit sprinkled through his arguments. i found out basically at the same time he (hitch) did that he was actually jewish, in terms of jewish law (again, i think, on this site). this did not affect my opinion of him at all, and i continued to like him more and more, and object when i felt it was warranted to things he said/wrote.

i don't mean this to sound like some kind of eulogy- he should live to 120, as we say :) but i wanted to say that, given his current situation, i pay even closer attention to what he says. and if it weren't for 1gm i probably never would have heard of him.

i've been living in a world now (as have we all)without jerry garcia, frank sinatra,ken kesey, etc. for awhile and i hope i get to live a good while longer in a world with christopher hitchens in it. and i will continue to point it out if i think he's talking shit (which i haven't seen much of lately) and, not that he probably reads 1gm or knows of my objections (or those of others who have noticed and commented on the same things in more "visible" "media outlets"), i'm sure he wouldn't have it any other way.

one more thing: francis collins is one of his doctors? this is so weird and, uh, touching, i guess, i don't even know what to say about it.

Kurt Vonnegut, Frank Zappa, Warren Zevon, and so many other great voices and artists to add to that list.

tru dat, and more...:(

vonnegut was a particularly tough one for me, personally, btw. great heroes/influences, etc.

I saw him speak, when i was a teen. Interesting guy.

Once one looks death in the eye, it does focus one's attention. And others are curious about what death had to offer to ones consciousness.

Watching the Australian tennis open. It's similar to life... one ball at a time, one day at a time...

Where are we but here and now?

i assume that's a rhetorical question. :)

I was expecting Federer and Nadal in the final at the Australian tennis open for men. Now it's Djokovich and Murry.

One never knows..

Okay, so I'm assuming that Murry will beat Ferrer, and when one assumes one makes an ass out of u and me, so nevermind.

holy crap it's a shame they had to cut the two minutes or so of the Daily Show segment. Jon Stewart's jokes were brutal in hindsight of course. A bit of backstory was cut too. There's supposedly video here at the c-span site, but I don't know who in their right mind has RealPlayer these days, or would want to install that piece of crap.

Or, maybe easily, you can go to iTunes, there's the Q&A audio there.

Isn't the video here on 1gm also from utube? Comedy Central is very strict about allowing clips on utube or elsewhere.

Anyway, the Jon Stewart segment is no doubt amusing, but it is but a point of a point in this interesting interview. Andyo, you are probably too young and healthy to absorb the extent of this Hitchens/Lamb interview.

still watching it, but why do you say that?

I didn't mean to watch the segment cause the jokes were funny, but cause they were brutal when you watch them again now. It's basically Jon Stewart telling Hitchens he looks great for the life he's lived, making a point of it being odd him writing memoirs in his relatively young age. "You don't look like shit, and you should." I wonder if Stewart realized what he'd said after Hitchens' cancer had been made public.

Of course had Hitchens been healthy they would have been standard stewart jokes.

The youtube video I linked does have that segment though, there are at least two on youtube.

When I was watching the video here, the clip from Stewart that wasn't available had a quick note about it being eliminated from youtube or some such thing... at least that's what I thought I read according to my pathetic short-term memory. I just assumed that any youtube clip would also have it missing. Sorry 'bout that.

I've always found Hitchens to be too inconsistent in his views. He's was all over the damn place as far as America's current wars and he mostly was a drum-beater. That what a huge error on his part and I could never respect him much.

Let me amend my typo and word choice in that last sentence above:

That was a huge error on his part (being a proponent of the wars) and I could never admire him much. How could anyone as smart as Hitchens be so wrong about something so vitally important to the health and security of our nation? Almost all of us knew that the wars were a really fucking bad idea even before we invaded.

his arguement seems to be that he believes we need to have violent confrontation with Islam before they try to take over the world.

I think JB agrees.

Its not really inconsistant with his other beliefs.

I do judge him for those stances, but if you look back to him Exposing Mother Teresa as a fraid and Kissinger as a war criminal... Its pretty hard to deny his contibution to public debate on religion and politics.

I think JB agrees.

amendment: taking over the world is LITERALLY part of the muslim religion (not trying to go all "pam geller" on you here, and am aware of the few, innefective, scared moderates, etc.)

but it's not "we" who "need" to have a violent confrontation. "we", i think we can agree, would like to avoid such a thing. but (as has been pointed out here many times and not just by me) "taking over the world" is just part of the "dna" of the religion itself. and "we" need to be prepared to deal with that.

don't know if you've been following the news re: uprisings/turmoil in the ENTIRE arab world right now, but it's basically the internet, and intelligent muslims demand for full access, against the "fundies". and if the "fundies" win, "we" (and by this i mean "you") will be completely unprepared for the coming shitstorm. this could happen (either way) much more quickly than you might think, and you'll be glad to have your nominative "allies" in israel if it works out the wrong way. if it works out the "right" way, meaning arab leaders realize they are fighting a losing battle against modernity, than we can go back to obama's deferential talk about "mutual understanding" and such, and all will be right with the world. i make no claims as to how it will work out, since i make a point not to "infantalize" our enemies- but also to make it clear who they are, as does hitchens.

as far as what leftbanker said about "everyone" knowing it was a bad idea to invade- this is a lie. america, statistically, stood behind her government in both ('91 and 2002) invasions and i'm not saying there wasn't an opposition- many of them commenters here- but stop trying to pass the buck, mr. expat. part of what this blog is "about" is about how stupid americans, as a people, are, and you've made this point as much as anyone else here. hitchens, at least, provided reasonable arguments for his position, right or wrong. which is more than i've seen YOU do. you just left-poof, goodbye, and snipe from the sidelines from one of the most pro arab, anti israeli, anti american countries in europe. and yes, i'm aware of how your military experience affected your decision, and respect it. facts remain.

as far as what leftbanker said about "everyone" knowing it was a bad idea to invade-

Should we ammend it to, everyone that read any non-propaganda quickly realized it was about political and personal goals and not about actual threats to US or other's safety.

don't know if you've been following the news re: uprisings/turmoil in the ENTIRE arab world right now, but it's basically the internet, and intelligent muslims demand for full access, against the "fundies".

Yeah, its pretty amazing. I want to stop being busy and post some links about it. (well actually I did prepare a set of links the other night and my computer got unplugged before I clicked Save)

hmmm....your computer got "unplugged" while you were preparing a series of links about unrest in the arab world. sounds like a conspiracy to me. :)jk

Also, I think its pretty telling that as these two revolutions have occurred that the US is pretty much on the sidelines wringing their hands while facebook and the wikilinks groups have been giving tech support for the protestors. Which is why Egypt shut down most communications.

US foreign policy is amoral when it isn't immoral.

We only support the overthrow of dictators when they are pissing us off. Thank goodness the English Pissed off the French or I would probably live in the United States of New England and have a damn queen on my money.

Should we ammend it to, everyone that read any non-propaganda quickly realized it was about political and personal goals and not about actual threats to US or other's safety.

sorry, who the hell reads "non propaganda", and where can i find some?

still, i hope you agree with me that these "non propaganda readers" (whoever they may be and wherever they find their "non propaganda) were in the VAST (would that be the right word here?) minority at the time. both times.

and yes, i'd be interested in any posts you may have involving the current, and sudden "unrest" in the entire arab world. just remember, this is one of my particular areas of interest (living in a place particularly vulnerable to such fallout) and i've read quite a bit about it, just in the last few days- it's happening VERY fast- on other sites that are a bit more "real time" than 1gm, though not necessarily as thoughtful and anylitical.

julian assange... my "hero" who may just be leading the world into global military conflict. ironic. "truth" and "transparancy" are positive things for me, yet the "world" may just not be able to handle it.

i guess it's like my experiences with acid: there's some things that most people just can't handle being made aware of. just because i can doesn't mean everyone can. and the "everyone" in this case, unlike me, is heavily armed to the teeth and with their fingers on the triggers. (i, of course, admit my own chosen country of residency is one of them).

hoping for peace.

there's some things that most people just can't handle being made aware of

That is pretty much the arguement for religion, Isn't it.

I think its a frequent lie leaders tell themselves.

In here, we are smart, out there they are stupid. So lets cut education funding and lie to the public.

We all have about the same capacity for understanding and intelligence. The human race is remarkably genetically similar race.

No doubt it is hard to get billions of people to keep their shit together, but I don't think the people in there are any smarter than the people out here.

sorry, not getting your points here enough to even argue. "illogical, captain" etc.

I don't think the people in there are any smarter than the people out here.

if by this you mean 1gm, i wouldn't be wasting my time here. so that couldn't be what you mean. could it?

the rest of what you say sounds like gibberish to me.

"religion claims" that some people just can't handle the truth? wtf? "religion" claims exactly the opposite. and from there you just get weirder.

explain, if you feel like it. i'm always willing to be corrected. but this sounds like more off-the-cuff crazy to me.

Well, my first point was about religion, that alot of people defend it as a comfort and avoidances for the facts most people simply can't handle. Death, insignifigance, etc.

My second point was that it is a common lie that leaders tell themselves from where ever their seat of power is. But sort of the point of the two posts from earlier this week was that leaders aren't really any smarter than the people. LBJ couldn't sound any more like a regular guy when he is ordering his pants. I think it all adds up to the real arguement for science and democracy. The only times we seem to get things right is when enough people put a critical eye to something that individual biases get canceled out.

and this:

We all have about the same capacity for understanding and intelligence"

has got to be one of the stupidest things i've ever heard you say. and i only bother to point this out to you because, as i've said before, i respect your general intelligence.

why would i say this? because you're "just as bright as the next guy?" if this is what you really think (and i think you're lying to make a ridiculous and obviously disprovable point, out of some kind of leftie "all men are created equal" bullshit that you really believe) than i wouldn't be wasting my time with you.

you're better than this, reed. face it. and use it to make the world a better place. that's my 2 cents on this one.

Just to be clear, I don't think all people are of equal intelligence. I think we all at least start out with similar capacities.

With the exception of defects, injuries, and deterioration from abuse, our brains pretty much all function similarly.

My example would be the kid next to you in High School Math class that couldn't do Fractions, wasn't less nessecarily any less able, but instead just found it easier to believe it was impossible for them to learn.

So in my mind, stupid = intelectually lazy.

Not a trait I would assume is inherited.

red7, thanks for explaining yourself so calmly in the face of my perhaps overly combative questions/objections. i think i did misunderstand some of what you meant, and this was partly your fault, for not being so clear, and partly mine, for not taking my own advice to "try and understand what a person is saying rather than focucing on the actual words". i appreciate your explanations, and how you just got to the point and ignored my combative bullshit. (been having a few rough days, fwiw.)

i still disagree with you re:

"With the exception of defects, injuries, and deterioration from abuse, our brains pretty much all function similarly.". this has just not been my experience, though it may be ME who was "dropped on 'is 'ead as a small child", which could explain a lot. also, you may be using a much broader definition of "similar" than i would.

thanks again for the clarifications, and i'm trying (in life as well as on the internet) to be more civil.

while on the subject of apologies: leftbanker, i'm sorry i misunderstood your use of "we" to mean the readers here, and i did mention in my (bad grammar, ad hominum, blah blah) response that the readers here WERE exceptions. 1gm wasn't around in '91, btw.

and i don't know if hitchens is an "isreal supporter" (this is for you, too, joann), though i think he may think the "only true democracy in the middle east" thing is nothing to turn ones nose up at. he certainly is not an "israel supporter" in the sense this is usually used by the haters- meaning, one who supports any and all decisions/actions of the israeli gov't. in fact he is an extremely vociferous opponent of the jewish "settlements"- which, as most of you know, are where i live, so i've certainly never seen him as a political "friend of mine";).

and i certainly agree with you about the pointless and damaging invasions, as do most people here. and joann is right about the bit of hypocricy in my "bailing out and sniping from the sidelines" comment, although she cleverly left out the main point- the differences between the countries we respectively "bailed to". but i apologize for any nastiness there- i shoot from the hip, as do you, and i should have known better. but it's ok, i can take a punch, and still remain impressed with red7's ability to respond maturely. the fact that you and i aren't so good at it, and that there is no love lost between our respective countries of refuge...well, i guess we could all use some of those "grownup" pills red seems to be taking. he made me feel some shame, in a way that your response, and joanns sudden cattiness did not.

Most of the time, your arguementative nature is one of the things that keeps things interesting around here. Leftbanker seems to be able to stick up for himself, but we should do our best to aviod a flame war. If at all possible. Civil discussion is a noble goal, with the expectation that we will fail once and a while to keep things interesting.

agreed, and thanks for the backhanded "compliment". i'm working on the "argumentativeness" thing, but still trying to keep things interesting.

and yes, i have no worries about leftbanker's abilities to stick up for himself. if i did, i wouldn't "shoot from the hip" so often, since i'm really a softie at heart. :)

"all men are created equal", btw, is a misinterpretacion of the biblical verse that all men are created in the "image of god". this does NOT mean "equal", other than in the sense that all men (people) are to be accorded due respect as reflections of the divine. but the "divine", as has often been pointed out here, has many facets, not all of them "nice" or "fair" or even what we would call "intelligent". this is an argument you and many others have used here AGAINST religion- and now you want to fall back on it's pitiful misinterpretation by the "founding fathers"?

or are you saying genetic research/ science or something like that has "proven" that people are all about as smart as each other (or capable of being)? this is bloody horseshit and you know it. and god knows it, too, otherwise what would be the POINT of religion?

here, a jb special "translation" for you: "take care of your moronic brothers".

clear enough? you got a comeback? i'd like to hear it, because i "respect your general intelligence" and all. :)

we were talking before about naziism. their "take" was to EXTERMINATE their moronic brothers. so, i can see the bibles point of view, and even the nazis (though i disagree strongly) but yours? that we HAVE no moronic brothers, we're all basically capable of understanding things well enough? that i can't see. it just aint so. and anyone who sees things that way is pointing the way to hell on earth. so i'm hoping that i'm just misunderstanding you and you can clear this up for me.

as far as what leftbanker said about "everyone" knowing it was a bad idea to invade- this is a lie. america, statistically, stood behind her government in both ('91 and 2002) invasions and i'm not saying there wasn't an opposition- many of them commenters here- but stop trying to pass the buck, mr. expat. part of what this blog is "about" is about how stupid americans, as a people, are, and you've made this point as much as anyone else here. hitchens, at least, provided reasonable arguments for his position, right or wrong. which is more than i've seen YOU do. you just left-poof, goodbye, and snipe from the sidelines from one of the most pro arab, anti israeli, anti american countries in europe.

Where do I begin with this quasi-literate ad hominem? Just putting this passage into my word document practically crashed my computer with your egregious contempt for grammar and rules of diction. So I take it Hitchens is a big Israel supporter. Last time I checked that wasn’t a requirement for US citizenship.

And I said "all of us" meaning the people here at OGM. Did anyone here support these two wars at any point in their trajectory? I sure as fuck didn't, and I was totally opposed to the first Iraq war.

My point is that Hitchens gets paid for his opinions so they had better be damn good. He is nowhere in the same league as James Fallows or John Ralston Saul. Saul wrote about shit 18 years ago that has been becoming reality in the last decade. If you haven't read him you should...soon!

Hitchens couldn't read the writing on the wall about the utter hopelessness of these wars just a couple years ago. Intelligent, yes. Visionary, hell no.

Channeling pedants are us.

> so they had better be damned good.

thanks for the references. did a bit of internet poking around (not in the same league as actually, say reading a book, of course, just a few interviews and bios, etc.

fwiw, saul does seem to be some kind of "visionary", but not an "intellectual" on hitchen's level. his "vision" seems less than perfect, but impressive nonetheless, as hitchens anylitical skills/judgement/intellect also are impressive but flawed.

but ain't we all? the point i wanted to make was that i don't recall anyone here calling hitchens a "visionary", so i call strawman. his area is analysis and, strangely perhaps, moral judgement. and i've found him to be pretty "pretty damn good" at these things, and worth whatever they're paying him. his misjudgement regarding iraq, which has been discussed extensively here, was at least intelligently defended by him and we are free to agree or disagree with his analysis.

saul, on the other hand, simply seems to make "pronouncements" which you're right, seem often remarkably precient- but not always. and i'm not sure where you got the 18 year figure- nothing on wiki, at least from this far back seems to show any prophetic genius.

again: neither hitchens himself, nor anyone else to my knowledge, has claimed he is a "visionary". that's never been his job.

thanks again for the tips. i lead kind of a sheltered life, left secular academia long ago, and i'm sure there's plenty more geniuses/visionaries/whatever out there i've never heard of. always happy to be "hipped" to new ones. they usually turn out to be disappointments, though. i like ecclesiastes, myself. :)

but stop trying to pass the buck, mr. expat. part of what this blog is "about" is about how stupid americans, as a people, are, and you've made this point as much as anyone else here. hitchens, at least, provided reasonable arguments for his position, right or wrong. which is more than i've seen YOU do. you just left-poof, goodbye, and snipe from the sidelines

Well, jonathan, mr. expat, you just left, poof, goodbye, and snipe from the sidelines.

So I take it Hitchens is a big Israel supporter.

Bingo

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Chomsky and Hitchens need to debate.

I admire both men, even if their views are quite different on U.S. foreign policy.

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