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December 16, 2011

Christopher Eric Hitchens (1949-2011): Warrior Essayist.

He will be admired most because he was authentic and incapable of following anyone's script: of the Right, the Left, America, England, the entire West. As hundreds of news items from all over the world note this morning, Christopher Hitchens, the frighteningly-gifted author, essayist, pundit and student of the world, died yesterday at the age of 62 after an eighteen month battle with cancer. Adored, reviled and never boring, Hitchens was a Brit who moved in 1982 to America, where he quickly set up shop as a fiery amalgam of H.L. Mencken and George Orwell (with a dash of Hunter Thompson). Reams of copy and second-guesses will be written on his books, essays, television appearances, works, travels, career, life and personality. His two most famous books, God is Not Great (2007) and his biography Hitch-22 (2010), only scratch the surface of what he achieved. My two favorite pieces on his death are in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Washington Post. But I think the word "contrarian" (a word Hitchens even used to decribe himself) in both articles is a misnomer. Oh, Hitchens was much more than that.


Posted by JD Hull at December 16, 2011 11:25 PM


He actually fought against being described as a contrarian. See for instance: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/02/AR2010060204649.html

Posted by: Dan Harris at December 16, 2011 08:56 PM

You are right, sir. I think I got that idea (wrong as it may be) from the title of one his essays, "Letters to a Young Contrarian", in which CH was not really using the word as a compliment. I stand corrected.

Posted by: Dan Hull at December 17, 2011 05:53 PM

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