Christopher Hitchens, 1949 – 2011

Hitchens died last night of pneumonia, a complication of his esophageal cancer. He was 62.

The Guardian on his passing, also Slate and Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter.

Update: Over at Pharyngula, PZ Myers writes the best headline for his Hitchens tribute: “Hitch is not in heaven.”

From his article….

I do not say farewell to Hitch. I do not say “rest in peace”. I definitely do not say that he has gone to a better place. I actually find myself already bracing myself for the next sign of deep disrespect that is destined to appear soon: the hackneyed political cartoon that draws him standing at the pearly gates.

Hitch is dead. We are a diminished people for the loss. There can be and should be no consolation, no soft words that encourage an illusion of heavenly rescue, no balm of lies. We should feel as we do with every death, that a part of us has been ripped from our hearts, and suffer pain and grief — and we are reminded that this is the fate we all face, that someday we too will die, and that we are all “living dyingly”, as Hitch put it so well.

Well put.

A few more of my favourite Hitchens clips after the jump, including Hitchens singing Eric Idle’s “Drinking Philosophers Song”.

Author: Paul Dechene

Paul Dechene is 5’10” tall and he was born in a place. He’s not there now. He’s sitting in front of his computer writing his bio for this blog. He has a song stuck in his head. It’s “Girl From Ipanema”, thanks for asking.

You can follow Paul on Twitter at @pauldechene and get live updates during city council meetings and other city events at @PDcityhall.

9 thoughts on “Christopher Hitchens, 1949 – 2011”

  1. Amusing tweet:

    Old Hoss Radbourn @OldHossRadbourn 3h
    RIP C. Hitchens. I shall publicly mourn his passing because doing so indicates just so subtly what a brilliant fellow I am for reading him.

  2. Often they’re the same thing.

    I think the intent is not to tweak people such as the writers here, as they’ve actually probably read a lot of his work, but the scores of people on Twitter/Facebook R.I.P.ing him when they’re likely read next to nothing (or nothing) of his work.

  3. Personally I’ve read some of his work, and though I didn’t always agree with his stance on issues, I found him interesting and thought-provoking. But at the same time, the new media world blows every news story out of proportion that it can be hard to distinguish between the important moments and the not so important ones. I’d say the reaction to this death has been about appropriate in mainstream media – respectable but not overblown – but on social feeds there are scores of people coming out of the woodworks who I’ve never seen post or comment on any of his work.

    Maybe I should not just check them as much.

  4. No doubt a TONNE of Tweeters are just trend-whores, however…if their tweets inspire somebody to check out this “Hitchings dude”, that’s cool by me.

    My Bro-in-law got a Hitchings book for Christmas (irony) last year and the jackass still hasn’t loaned it to me! What a dick.

  5. Or let the man have his moment and be happy people aren’t just posting more pictures of their dogs or complaining about something. Twas an asshole’s tweet after all on second thought.

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