A voice of reason falls silent with the death of Christopher Hitchens

By Calvin Palmer

Writer and journalist Christopher Hitchens died yesterday after his battle with oesophageal cancer. He was 62.

He was an inveterate smoker and drinker and no doubt the health fascists will claim he got what he deserved, a typical riposte from such intellectual pygmies.

Hitchens was a Brit who made it in America, which shows what a difference real talent makes. I would gladly settle for one tenth of Hitchens’ talent.

It was during BBC America’s election night coverage of the 2008 US presidential election that he won a place in my heart and mind when he described Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin as “an insult to democracy”. As so often throughout his life, Hitchens was bang on the money.

I hope his spectre will continue to haunt similar presidential candidates who hold a Disney-like view on life and are driven by a god that Hitchens refused to acknowledge. In his book God is Not Great, published in 2007, Hitchens argued that religion is “violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism and tribalism and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry”.

May the ghost of Hitchens ensure that the likes of Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and other tea party idiots never gain centre stage in US politics. Like Palin, they too are an insult to democracy.

Hitchens was criticized in some quarters for not remaining loyal to his early left-wing beliefs but surely it is the mark of an independent mind to attack both Left and Right when they are wrong, praise them when they get it right and not be beholden to either of them. Any free-thinking mind cannot to be tied down by isms in any way shape or form.

In his later years his maxim became “it is an absolute certainty that there are no certainties”, save the one that befalls everyone from CEOs of massive corporations to homeless people wandering city streets — death.

If there is such a thing as the after life, I would like to think that when Hitchens crossed over to the other side, he was greeted with a gin and tonic, offered a cigarette and then held forth in his inimitable and forthright style.

Hitchens lived life to the full and richly filled the lives of others.

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3 responses to “A voice of reason falls silent with the death of Christopher Hitchens

  1. Daftburger

    Very nice Calvin.

    Pulis in!

    • calvininjax

      Thank you.

      I see Pulis pulled off a tactical masterstroke by subbing youngster Woodgate on Saturday. I hope that is the last game Woodgate ever plays at full-back. If he is a liability at the heart of the defence, he is a disaster on the flanks.

      I thought Pennant played well for someone who is supposedly disillusioned with his role at Stoke. Methinks the gossip-mongers may have got that one wrong.

      Call me a delusional old fool but I have a feeling Stoke will get a favourable result against Man City. Just like Bolton avenged their FA Cup drubbing by us, I think we may get revenge for our FA Cup Final defeat. A 2-0 scoreline in our favour would do nicely, along with a 4-0 scoreline in our favour against Villa who make Stoke look organized and adventurous.

      I feel optimistic just as long Pulis doesn’t try Jones at full-back and Delap in goal. 🙂

  2. OS.

    You’re not very good at predicting Stoke scores, Calvin. First Everton, and now Man City. 😉 But Palacious did look the part recently. We will have to wait and see how he continues to progress.

    I was gutted when I heard of the death of Hitchens. I didn’t always agree with everything he said, but never was their a more honest man, and I wouldn’t have picked an argument with him.

    Thanks for the Xmas card. May I take this opportunity to wish you and yours a better 2012.

    Pulis out!


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