Sunday, June 29, 2014

Remembering Christopher Hitchens

Those of you who have followed my blog for any length of time will know that I was [and still am] a big fan of Christopher Hitchens. When he died in 2011, I felt a profound sense of loss. There was so much left unwritten and unsaid in him -- and I find that I miss that voice of reason that I had come to rely upon, to fashion my own thinking in so many areas. Of course he was a very controversial figure, either loved or hated -- but strangely enough he also elicited both reactions [I think] in those who found it impossible to effectively argue against his pronouncements and pontifications, especially with regard to his ideas about the "poisoning" aspect of religion. What I mean to say is -- you may have not agreed with him dang nab it, but neither could you effectively counter him. His arguments were delivered so matter-of-factly and so eloquently that to dismiss him meant one had to simultaneously realize that a conscious choice was being made to favour one's own subjective wishful thinking. I have yet to see, or even envision a battle or debate with Hitchens that was, or would be, won on an intellectual level. And I am saddened that he has left the arena.
Over the years since his death I have watched as many videos and lectures as I could ever find about Hitchens -- and I have found that rarely are we given a glimpse of who he was, apart from his public persona. Even his own memoir tends to shy away from that level of transparency. But just last night I discovered a clip on YouTube that does just that. It's an interview with his wife and a small circle of his most intimate friends, and it reveals the more generous and yes, sweet side of Hitchens that could only have been described by those who knew him best.
It's 25 minutes in length and well worth watching if you feel, as I most certainly do, that we have lost one of the greatest thinkers of our time in the passing of Christopher Hitchens.

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