Christopher Hitchens

August 11, 2010

-- Damon Linker wonders about Christopher Hitchens and the veracity of deathbed confessions. -- CBPP's Chuck Marr flags an "ominous warning" on the Bush tax cuts from the Senate last week. -- James Fallows, John Sides, Andrew Gelman, and Matt Yglesias discuss term limits for the Supreme Court. -- Ezra Klein finds a $500 million coin.

The Most Pressing Question
August 10, 2010

What is it, finally, that divides the believer from the atheist? The question comes to mind in observing renowned atheist Christopher Hitchens endure, in full public view, metastatic esophageal cancer.

Another Kind of Atheism
May 11, 2010

About 2-1/2 years ago I wrote an essay for TNR in which I criticized the so-called new atheists (primarily Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens). A few months later, I followed up with a critical take on Bill Maher’s Religulous. In both cases, my focus was politics. There was, I argued, something deeply illiberal about the new atheists’ intolerant hostility to the spiritual beliefs of their fellow citizens. I still believe that, as readers of my forthcoming book will discover.

Washington Diarist: Membership
November 29, 2009

Since the only pain we experience is our own pain, and since our own pain is often not the most hideous pain, particularly if we live far from history’s savageries and inside a middle-class existence that was designed to insulate us from all the pain that can be separated from the decay of the body and its death--since all this is the case, morality follows the imagination. This association may offend prudes and dandies, but the only way to be moved by misery with which one has no personal acquaintance is to imagine it.

"I Do Not Say That All Muslims Are Terrorists, But I Have Noticed That An Alarmingly High Proportion Of Terrorists Are Muslim"
November 17, 2009

These are Christopher Hitchens' words (in Slate), and so you are not surprised to find them sharp, even cutting. Doubtless, some of you are provoked. But please don't repair to the self-righteous. Self-righteousness is an awkward response to the truth. Given the "seven salient facts" about Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan easily assembled by Hitchens I doubt that even President Obama would want us to withhold judgement on the killer. He, too, as clearly made his own. Even unto grasping the justice awaiting the culprit in the hereafter.

The Hitch That Stole Christmas
December 19, 2008

Anyone who doubts that Christopher Hitchens' personal crusade against the god-who-is-not-great is motivated primarily by misanthropy will be disabused by his recent Slate column on the "moral and aesthetic nightmare of Christmas." It is the latter-day Hitch in all his glory: the fearless enemy of tyranny reduced to whining about the "totalitarianism" of kitschy Christmas carols piped into the doctor's office. Has it really come to this?

Hitchens On The Use Of 'terrorism'
December 08, 2008

I'm not claiming that I first pointed out the obvious when lots of journalists were doing it. But that fact is that I did when I wrote about the Financial Times attributing the Mumbai atrocity to Hindus.This was in a spine called "Clutching at a (Hindu) Thread."  I came back to the theme several times thereafter in "The Victims are Guilty," in "The Big Media and Terrorism " and, as late as today, in "How to Avoid Using the Word 'Terrorist'."Christopher Hitchens also entered the fray at noon today in Slate.

Hitchens On Hillary
June 16, 2008

I don't much like citing Christopher Hitchens, and when I do I confess to having regrets. But his piece in Slate today should put an end to Hillary Clinton's whining. And, yes, whining, is the correct word, as he explains. On the other hand, it won't really put an end to her whining or Bill's bullying, also the correct word and a corollary of Hitchens's argument about gender and vernacular. I am afraid we are stuck with them until Hillary loses her senate seat.

The Clintons And The Race Card
January 28, 2008

No one can deny that the Clintons play the race card. But it wasn't until the South Carolina primary that many people realized that they play it both ways. I have to admit that I myself only dimly recalled the smarmy stuff that Christopher Hitchens documented in Slate today. I also have to admit that I am loathe to be indebted to Hitchens for anything. But it can't be helped. He has the cynicism and self-righteousness of the couple down cold. Refresh your memory, think about the ugly analogy to Jesse Jackson, and shudder...Do we really want these two in the White House?

Ian McEwan And Giving "More Valence To Life Itself"
January 11, 2008

I have a small quibble with something Ian McEwan said in his (really quite interesting) interview on our site today. Towards the end of a discussion of how atheists--clearly propelled by the success of authors like Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris--now feel more emboldened to discuss their beliefs, the Atonement author explains:  "It is crucial that people who do not have a sky god and don't have a set of supernatural beliefs assert their belief in moral values and in love and in the transcendence that they might experience in landscape or art or music or sculpture or whatever.