Results tagged “#Hitchbitch” from onegoodmove

A Voice Goes Silent: Christopher Hitchens 1949-2011

To quote Ricky Gervais,"Saying atheism is a belief system is like saying not going skiing is a hobby." But if it were or if you think New Atheism has become something akin to a movement then Christopher Hitchens would have been our most charismatic and well spoken leader. He combined wit and reason in such a way, that he was an unbeatable debater and an unstoppable advocate. He took what is perhaps the ultimate human intellectual truth, that nothing can be known with absolute certainty, and used it to show that any person selling certainty will inevitably make a complete fool of themselves.

I will no doubt spend part of my holiday looking through his final words, his exchanges with Andrew Sullivan and some of his messages to friends to see what wisdom he left us in his final days and weeks. Death is inevitably the hardest thing to face in the human experience and in the face of it many don't stay true to themselves. Hitchens never showed that fear publicly, and hopefully he left us some of what gave him his strength. I almost wished for an "I have seen the mountaintop" sort of speech were he gave us his best advice about where the public debate on religion and so many other topics needed to go and how he would have proceeded in that direction, but I don't know that he ever saw himself as that sort of a leader.

If abandoning faith is a trend verging on a movement, then its pretty regrettable that the hitch won't be there to keep the whole business entertaining. In my opinion, his humor and writing make him as enjoyable to read as Mark Twain. He was Arrogant, erudite, and quite often an asshole, but he embraced those things in his humor and used it to make his arguments against faith, and for reason all the more powerful.

He exposed Mother Theresa as a fraud and Henry Kissinger as a war criminal. Both of those acts were great scandalous reporting, but I think they were also socially relevant acts. The idea that we can't simple trust churches to be a force of good is one he helped forge and you don't have to go to many anti-war rallies, or occupy protests to see that people now think that US officials can be war criminals and are often Hippocrates in regards to international law. He didn't change those things alone, but he made great strides.

I never met him, and clearly my words will be very far from the most profound recollections of his life and work, but I thought is was worth a moment to recognize someone that inspired me, and inspired my father. I recently heard Hitchens recount what he said to someone that introduced himself to Hitchens as a "Fan" Hitchens responded, "Don't be a fan, I don't need fans, what I need is critical readers."

Its a respectable aspiration.

  • Reed

Here are some Great remembrances popping up around the net:

Andrew Sullian: The Dish

Christopher Hitchens obituaries collected and Dawkins.net

Stephen Fry & friends on the life, loves and hates of Christopher Hitchens