Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christopher Hitchens

I am late with this news because of my enforced absence from the blogosphere due to lack of net connection. Christopher Hitchens died last week due to cancer, a disease that first made its presence felt in mid-2010.Here is a tribute. Here is his final column for Vanity Fair.

I have not read any of Hitchens' works. I first heard of him as one of the Four Horsemen. I have listened to many of his debates with apologists for religion that are available on the net. I had not heard such plain speaking about religion before and it came as a breath of fresh air. I am sure some believers would have been more than a little flustered by his dismissive comments about their cherished beliefs as exemplified by the Hitchslap, "What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof." He was contemptuous of the false comfort provided by religion even after he was diagnosed with cancer.

I used to be amazed at his command over literature and history. He could conjure up quotes and anecdotes without skipping a beat. He was a formidable opponent to debate against. He would have been great to have my kind of conversation with - the kind where I do all the listening and the other person does all the talking. I don't think I would have got bored.

He wrote some articles about prayer, 'cures' and etiquette which struck a chord in me. I could see where he was coming from. I came to know of him about when I was getting irritated with this 'respect' business so I was a receptive audience for his combative rhetoric, accusations of being 'strident' be damned. As Dan Dennett says, there is a time to be rude.

PS: Know who is a hitchling?


  1. Luckily for (almost) everyone concerned, CH was lucid enough to express his own thoughts on this matter till nearly his last day. I fully respect believers and non-believers and am comfortable listening to either point of view. What bugs me is how certain conditions (poverty, malnutrition, etc.) and life events (marriage, illness, death, for eg.) are so unethically used to score brownie points on earth and in "heaven".

  2. Kesu, you will like this:

  3. Kailash,

    Thanks. I read it five minutes before I saw your comment!