Comments: Christopher Hitchens: Wow, What an Asshole

Not boring, not petty. Needed saying.

Happy new year!

Posted by Nell at January 1, 2012 09:53 PM

http://www.crikey.com.au/2011/12/19/rundle-the-war-decade-the-enlightenment-armed-and-101-uses-for-a-dead-hitchens/

Forwarded without comment.


C

Posted by poicephalus at January 2, 2012 12:07 AM

Hmm, Arab-Americans were "terrified" after 9-11. Oh well, so were a lot of people. How fortunate for them that they live in an open tolerant society that has not harmed them nor seen any significant violence acted against them, the lone Sikh guy excepted.

Every time a Muslim goes nuts like at Fort Hood or in Times Square, or the shoe bomber or the underpants bomber, the first thing we hear is that we must not draw any inferences from the act or see it as anything but the actions of an individual, despite their own insistence that they are waging a war. The Fort Hood army doctor's massacre was just classified as a instance of "workplace violence."

Muslims in America are freer than they are anywhere else in the world and even by their own calculations suffer insignificantly. Oh a bunch of imams made an ostentatious point of chanting Allahu Akbar and acting weirdly on the plane so they could get thrown off? Big deal. They received ample press and a monetary settlement for their hurt feelings.

De mortuis nihil nisi bonum. Let Hitch rest in peace.

Posted by seth at January 2, 2012 01:40 AM

Every time a Christian goes nuts like the 1995 event in Oklahoma City or the 2011 event in Norway, or the Olympic bomber or the abortion clinic bomber or the doctor murderer, the first thing we hear is that we must not draw any inferences from the act or see it as anything but the actions of an individual, despite their own insistence that they are waging a war. The Oklahoma city massacre was just classified as a instance of "political violence."

Christians in America are freer than they are anywhere else in the world and even by their own calculations suffer insignificantly. Oh a bunch of fundamentalists made an ostentatious point of chanting prayers and acting weirdly on the plane so they could get thrown off? Big deal. They received ample press and a monetary settlement for their hurt feelings.

Posted by Susan at January 2, 2012 02:54 AM

I think it is time to lock up more of those blood-thirsty Christians. If they stuck to just terrorist acts, that would be one thing, but no..... they also engage in wars of aggression, occupation of foreign countries, and drone bombing massacres around the world. Plus, they are destroying the environment world wide.

They are dangerous, they are sick, and we have got to put a stop to it.

Posted by Susan at January 2, 2012 02:58 AM

Good timing, Seth.

Posted by Jon Schwarz at January 2, 2012 04:07 AM

Thanks for writing this. There was a lot of Hitchens-praise in my circle when he passed, and it was hard to grit my teeth and soldier on without antagonizing my friends.

Posted by Aaron Datesman at January 2, 2012 07:29 AM

The funniest part of Hitchens' death is that it wouldn't even have registered in the mainstream if he hadn't switched teams. It's remarkable how quickly his previous sins were forgotten.

You said it: what an asshole.

Posted by John Caruso at January 2, 2012 10:43 AM

Yes, Hitchens became a real dick, and all that arab hating that seth likes so much is really disgusting, but alcoholism doesn't really bring out the best in people.

Susan's comment is brilliant.

Nice one by JS too, though Jon, do we have to quote Commission reports of any kind? They are always the worst sort of rubbish, and that one written by Condi Rice's pals in particular is tripe.

Posted by N E at January 2, 2012 10:46 AM

Oh, and this dead-on comment by Sheldon Rampton (from Husseini's blog posting) is worth reproducing here:

Personally, I thought Hitchens was overrated even before he turned into an apologist for the war. I thought he was more glib than literate, with a penchant to turn nasty for the sheer pleasure of exercising his aggressive impulses. He also seemed to chase controversy more for the sake of self-promotion than because of a conviction that he was writing about important matters.

Posted by John Caruso at January 2, 2012 10:46 AM

What about East Timor? And the tragedy of Andalusia? The Islamists never run short of grievances. And the fact that we have not had an Islamist attack of the scale of 9/11 within the US has not been for lack of effort.

Posted by jonathan at January 2, 2012 10:47 AM

But those Christians have been at it again:

"Authorities are investigating the Sunday night attacks in Queens as bias crimes. There were no injuries. Police say three of the attacks involved molotov cocktails."

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-01-02/Islam-attack-New-York/52325564/1

The attacks were against an Islamic Center and a Hindu worship center and two other sites.

I realize that I am being unfair to Christians here, because maybe some dumb atheists did this. But it is generally the Christians who think Hindus are really Muslims.

But I bet that if these attacks had been directed at a Christian Church and a Jewish Center there would have been MUCH more said about it. So much for the theory that attacks on Muslims get "ample press".

Posted by Susan at January 2, 2012 11:10 AM

And, if the Christian church and Jewish Center had been hit, they would be calling it "domestic terrorism" too.

Back on topic: Hitchens is an ass. He only looks good next to FRIED MAN.

Posted by Susan at January 2, 2012 11:13 AM

I'm not in favor of hating anyone, least of all Arabs whom I cherish as brother Semites.

But it is ridiculous to insist that America was wracked by anti-Arab pogroms following 9-11. If Muslims were "TERRIFIED" that may be because they were expecting the sort of reprisal violence that accompanies sectarian provocations in their ancestral lands, cf the massacre of Sikhs in India in 1984, or the clampdown in Egypt in 1981. Or the (first) flattening of Homs in Syria around the same time, etc etc ad infinitum. However, one can only go so far in incorporating someone else's paranoia into one's own responses before you find yourself in contortions of self-blame that don't reflect the reality of the moral register.

As for Jon's admiration for the clarity and purity of bin Laden's (pbuh) demands, consider his November 2011 letter in which he condemns the "criminal Kofi Annan" for forcing Indonesia to end its occupation of East Timor, victim as Chomsky points out of the largest genocide relative to population since the Nazi holocaust. East Timor according to the revanchist bin Laden, was is and will always be "Muslim land." As is presumably al-Andalus and the northernmost reaches of the defunct Ottoman empire. So much for reading bin Laden as a useful guide for tailoring US foreign policy. But thanks for trying, again.

Christopher Hitchens had a lot of opinions on a lot of matters, and he was always available for debate. Seems a bit cowardly on the part of all these toy soldiers to wave your tin swords over his grave and pretend you've slain the dragon that you didn't have the stones to confront while he lived. You remind me of all the Christian apologists who nodded their heads and wetly grinned: "See how much good his atheism did him?"

Posted by seth at January 2, 2012 11:21 AM

Christopher Hitchens had a lot of opinions on a lot of matters, and he was always available for debate.

And you can see from Husseini's example just how seriously Hitchen's took those debates and to what lengths he was willing to smear people in public in order to stifle anyone else challenging him.

Posted by darrelplant at January 2, 2012 11:47 AM

I must have missed the part where Jon praised the purity of Bin Laden's motives. If I had to take a wild guess, I'd say that Jon thinks Bin Laden is a mass murdering, bigoted asshole who used the legitimate grievances of Arabs to gain support for his own actions. And since even bad people are complicated, Jon might also guess that bin Laden really was outraged by American and Israeli crimes, just as some Americans who were outraged by 9/11 were in favor of torture and probably could have nuked Baghdad without a qualm.

"The funniest part of Hitchens' death is that it wouldn't even have registered in the mainstream if he hadn't switched teams. It's remarkable how quickly his previous sins were forgotten."

Yeah, the Atlantic quickly began publishing him. One phrase I remember their editors using about good old Hitch was "an honest and honorable man of the left". Because nothing says honest and honorable like an enthusiastic display of bloodlust towards America's enemies.

Posted by Donald Johnson at January 2, 2012 11:58 AM

Unfortunately, after September 11, 2001, some very well known sane individuals changed and for the worse...... including William Shawcross, Oriana Fallci, to name just a couple!

Posted by Rupa Shah at January 2, 2012 12:03 PM

Oh, the "bad people" in the above comment refers to bin Laden and those pro-torture Americans, though I leave it open to Seth to interpret that as a reference to Jon if he chooses to.

And this stuff about how Muslims never had it so good sounds a lot like white racists I used to know comparing the plight of blacks in America with people who lived in Uganda under Idi Amin. Great minds and so forth.

Posted by Donald Johnson at January 2, 2012 12:03 PM

From the "List of Islamophobic Incidents (USA)" wiki:

In the aftermath of 9/11, hate crimes against people of Middle-Eastern descent increased from 354 attacks in 2000 to 1,501 attacks in 2001.[83] Among the victims of the backlash was a Middle-Eastern man in Houston, Texas who was shot and wounded after an assailant accused him of "blowing up the country"[82] and four immigrants shot and killed by a man named Larme Price who confessed to killing them as "revenge" for the September 11 attacks.[84] Although Price described his victims as Arabs, only one was from an Arab country. This appears to be a trend; on account of stereotypes of Arabs, several non-Arab, non-Muslim groups were subjected to attacks in the wake of 9/11, including several Sikh men attacked for wearing their religiously mandated turban.[85] According to a report prepared by the Arab American Institute, three days after the Oklahoma City bombing (which was committed by a Caucasian man), "more than 200 serious hate crimes were committed against Arab Americans and American Muslims. The same was true in the days following September 11."[82]
Zohreh Assemi, an Iranian American Muslim owner of a nail salon in Locust Valley, New York, was robbed, beaten, and called a "terrorist" in September 2007 in what authorities call a bias crime.[86] Assemi was kicked, sliced with a boxcutter, and had her hand smashed with a hammer. The perpetrators, who forcibly removed $2,000 from the salon and scrawled anti-Muslim slurs on the mirrors, also told Assemi to "get out of town" and that her kind were not "welcomed" in the area. The attack followed two weeks of phone calls in which she was called a "terrorist" and told to "get out of town," friends and family said.[86]
While en route to Chicago, Shahrukh Khan, a well-known Bollywood actor, was held for what he described as "humiliating" questioning for several hours in Newark Airport, New Jersey because of his common Muslim surname Khan. He was released only following the intervention of the Indian embassy.[87][88]
On August 25, 2010, a New York taxi driver was stabbed after a passenger asked if he was Muslim.[89]
The Dove World Outreach Center church in Gainesville, Florida planned to burn Qurans on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Despite warning from the military leadership in the Afghan War, Terry Jones, the pastor of the centre, said it would be "tragic" if anybody's life was lost as a result of the planned Quran burning. While he added "Still, I must say that we feel that we must sooner or later stand up to Islam, and if we don't, it's not going to go away." His church's website claims to "expose Islam" as a "violent and oppressive religion;" it also displays a sign reading "Islam is of the Devil."[90]

Posted by tom allen at January 2, 2012 12:21 PM

Jon's admiration for the clarity and purity of bin Laden's (pbuh) demands

It seems Seth is really itching to report me to the authorities. No wonder he liked Hitchens so much.

Posted by Jon Schwarz at January 2, 2012 12:42 PM

But it is ridiculous to insist that America was wracked by anti-Arab pogroms following 9-11. ... You remind me of all the Christian apologists who nodded their heads and wetly grinned: "See how much good his atheism did him?"

Speaking of assholes, leave it to Seth to beat one straw man with another.

(Though he arguably has a point that it's harder for Arabs in even more intolerant, hate-filled societies like Israel's where their attackers get away with racist violence all the time.)

Posted by John Caruso at January 2, 2012 12:51 PM

Oh, and this dead-on comment by Sheldon Rampton (from Husseini's blog posting) is worth reproducing here:

Personally, I thought Hitchens was overrated even before he turned into an apologist for the war. I thought he was more glib than literate, with a penchant to turn nasty for the sheer pleasure of exercising his aggressive impulses. He also seemed to chase controversy more for the sake of self-promotion than because of a conviction that he was writing about important matters.

I feel the same way, sort of. I honestly never liked his pre-2001 writing, even when I generally agreed with it, and I thought it was a net negative for our side (whoever they are). He seemed much more interested in showing off how smart he was than communicating with people who didn't go to Oxford. The references, the tone, even his plummy British accent might as well have been calculated to turn off regular Americans.

None of that was necessary to write about politics, or even write beautifully about politics. George Orwell's writing is beautiful because it's so incredibly lucid, honest and insightful, but anyone who knows how to read will find it welcoming rather than off-putting like Hitchens'.

Posted by Jon Schwarz at January 2, 2012 12:51 PM

Let's have a contest. We will build a bonfire and throw in a Koran, a Torah, a Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, Dianetics by L Ron Hubbard, the Analects, etc etc and shout "Go!" Whoever is the first to riot over how gravely insulted they are wins. I'm giving even odds on the religion of Peace...any takers?

Posted by seth at January 2, 2012 01:14 PM

Seth,one can criticize Islamic extremism without supporting Hitch's self-righteous bloodthirsty rhetoric. Read the preceding sentence over several times and see if you understand it.

Posted by Donald Johnson at January 2, 2012 01:21 PM

Read the preceding sentence over several times and see if you understand it.

I would guess that a significant part of Hitchens' embrace of the dark side was due to brain damage caused by his years of smoking and alcoholism. I also believe that mild brain damage (generally due to tiny strokes) causes the common turn toward right-wing inflexibility and fear found in late middle age men. (See: Mamet, David.)

Why this has happened to Seth so early is a mystery. Maybe he played linebacker for the Buffalo Bills.

Posted by Jon Schwarz at January 2, 2012 01:41 PM

"Unfortunately, after September 11, 2001, some very well known sane individuals changed and for the worse...... including William Shawcross, Oriana Fallci, to name just a couple!"

It seems to me that the willingness to accommodate your views to changing realities and new inputs is the sign of a healthy mind. Refusal to see what's in front of one's nose is, as Orwell reminded us, the real insanity.

Posted by seth at January 2, 2012 01:45 PM

"It seems to me that the willingness to accommodate your views to changing realities and new inputs is the sign of a healthy mind. Refusal to see what's in front of one's nose is, as Orwell reminded us, the real insanity."

Completely agree. And speaking of that, what'd you think of the first sentence of my 1:21 post? Did it make you realize that one could be appalled by the actions of Islamic extremists and still not like what Hitchens became?

Posted by Donald Johnson at January 2, 2012 02:03 PM

I don't expect a sincere reply, seth, as you seem to be trolling, so I'll bow out. But you could surprise me.

Posted by Donald Johnson at January 2, 2012 02:04 PM

What's boring and petty about justified passion?
We get inundated with enough unjustified "passion" (AKA paid assholery) to deserve a whole cocktail of antidotes--good data, valid theory, humor, nicety-niceness, social movement, and justified passion. Good riddance to that imperialist not-anywhere-near-silent-enough-generation fart Hitchens, and thanks for the post. Happy new year!

Posted by Iuncta Iuvant at January 2, 2012 02:13 PM

"Seth,one can criticize Islamic extremism without supporting Hitch's self-righteous bloodthirsty rhetoric."

I agree with this elementary proposition entirely. Personally I was active in the anti-sanctions movement in the 90's and opposed the invasion of Iraq. I didn't think Hitchens was correct in his support of that war.

My posts here today were largely inspired by the idea that US Muslims have been the primary victims of jihad because of the violent backlash that has terrorized their communities, all of which is fantasy propounded by CAIR and its ilk, for obvious reasons.

Posted by seth at January 2, 2012 02:29 PM

But you could surprise me.

Given my own experiences with Seth, I would put the odds of you being surprised at 17 trillion to one against.

Posted by Jon Schwarz at January 2, 2012 02:39 PM

@seth

"the willingness to accommodate your views to changing realities and new inputs is the sign of a healthy mind"

I really do not understand what you mean by "accommodating your views" and "changing reality".
To me, 'accommodating one's views' signifies compromising one's long held beliefs to suit what is currently in vogue.... not critical thinking and then changing one's beliefs.
And what is 'changing reality'? 19 Muslim men hijacking planes and flying into the World Trade centers.......did that make 0ne billion+ muslims around the world into 'potential hijackers' overnight?

In fact, those who changed for the worse, were prejudiced, ignorant and lacked total understanding of what the REALITY was.

Posted by Rupa Shah at January 2, 2012 02:39 PM

Even WHITE FOLKS can be indefinately detained as much as ANY Muslim or Hindu or whatever as of yesterday. RACIAL EQUALITY has FINALLY come to America. Them A-rabs got it good here, NOW.

Posted by Mike Meyer at January 2, 2012 02:41 PM

Seth's Muslim-hatred is instructive, but shouldn't we get back to discussing what an asshole Christopher Hitchens was?

Posted by John Caruso at January 2, 2012 02:51 PM

I'm going to stick up for Hitchens here...a bit. His literature book reviews were always great reading. But authorship and politics rarely mix.

Havel was an exception, just ask Mario Vargas Llosa.

Posted by otto at January 2, 2012 03:13 PM

He seemed much more interested in showing off how smart he was than communicating with people who didn't go to Oxford. The references, the tone, even his plummy British accent might as well have been calculated to turn off regular Americans...

... and impress the cocktail crowd. He always struck me as a social climber and name-dropper. The British accent and Oxford mindset seems to have some effect in the Georgetown salons, as Sullivan and Ferguson can attest.


Posted by Happy Jack at January 2, 2012 03:27 PM

Y'know, I never went to Oxford, or finished college here in the midwest, but I never had any trouble understanding Hitchens. I realize I shouldn't admit that I understand big words... it's so elitist. To each his own, but I thought he did some good work in his pre-9/11 career. Still, yes, he was an asshole, a racist, and a misogynist pig. One reason I love him is that he's a useful counter to the notion that hysteria about sex and the body, let alone misogyny, comes from religion. (It's more like the other way around, but even that's oversimple.)

That being said ... jonathan:

"And the fact that we have not had an Islamist attack of the scale of 9/11 within the US has not been for lack of effort." We have, however, had numerous Christianist attacks on the scale of 9/11 outside the US. Those are less noticeable in US media.

And seth, baby, it's good to see you back. "My posts here today were largely inspired by the idea that US Muslims have been the primary victims of jihad because of the violent backlash that has terrorized their communities, all of which is fantasy propounded by CAIR and its ilk, for obvious reasons." Y'know, as you've written here, you're saying that "the idea that US Muslims have been the primary victims of backlash" inspired your posts, not that you wrote in opposition to that idea, which is presumably what you meant.

Anyway, you do like the straw man approach, don't you? Do you practice, or does it come naturally? Jon didn't say that American Muslims were the primary victims of jihad. What he said was that immediately after 9/11 they were terrified, because of what might happen and to a lesser extend did happen. Happily, there was no anti-Muslim jihad in the US, though as noted there have been numerous incidents, and frothing anti-Muslim rhetoric has been all too common. Anti-Muslim jihad outside the US, waged by the US and its partners, is another matter. To say nothing of our even longer history of recruiting Islamic fanatics to wage war for us, usually against other Muslims.

So glad to hear that you opposed sanctions and Bush's war of aggression against Iraq. I can't help wondering how you managed it.

Posted by Duncan at January 2, 2012 05:50 PM

I never had any trouble understanding Hitchens. I realize I shouldn't admit that I understand big words... it's so elitist.

It's not that most people couldn't understand Hitchens, it's that I think there's an inherent conflict between writing like that and advocating for a more egalitarian world. I suspect people subconsciously take away an impression that those kinds of writers don't actually want the world to change much, they just want themselves and their friends to run it. Moreover, I think this impression is probably right.

Posted by Jon Schwarz at January 2, 2012 06:14 PM

Utterly unconvincing. The most you can hope for is preaching to the choir.

Posted by Steve Bryan at January 2, 2012 06:28 PM

Mario Vargas Llosa? I read a terrible book by him once. Then he became a conservative politician. Maybe he had some tiny strokes, or played linebacker opposite seth.

Posted by N E at January 2, 2012 08:07 PM

He's dead you know...? ;-)

Posted by Carl Weetabix at January 2, 2012 10:29 PM

Adherents of the religion of peace oppose Crusader in a glorious victory.

http://m.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jan/03/man-father-frost-killed-tajikistan?cat=world&type=article

Posted by seth at January 2, 2012 11:21 PM

Sam,

Get over it.

Posted by Ursula at January 3, 2012 12:51 AM

Now,now, Jon. Show some respect. That asshole is no longer around to defend himself.

Posted by Paul Avery at January 3, 2012 08:08 AM

So, just a personal anecdote: a friend of our family's, coincidentally named Saurabh, who was working as a pizza delivery guy in Massachusetts, was kidnapped by a bunch of young men when he showed up to their house with a pizza. They, apparently convinced he was an "Iraqi" because of the ownership of the pizza joint, locked him in the trunk of their car and were taking him away to an unknown point to do god knows what to him. He managed to escape when the car stopped and got off with only a broken jaw, which had to be wired shut. All because of how he happened to look. Oh, yes, and that climate of fear and hate.

Fuck off and die, seth.

Posted by saurabh at January 3, 2012 11:27 AM

2ND AMENDMENT, Folks! (Its not the huntin'or snakes, crackheads, murders or the government, its the neighbors.)

Posted by Mike Meyer at January 3, 2012 12:09 PM

Saurabh--it is terrible that the US government and population at large condone and encourage such crimes. Were the attackers given medals? Oh, they are still in prison now 8 years later and will be for decades to come? That is strange.

I didn't say that there have never been outrages committed against Arabs and Indians by lunatics and idiots. However, "Islamophobic" violence can scarely be seen as widespread in the United States.

"Fuck off and die" is certainly strong language.

By the way, has anyone here considered Hitchens' decades of work for the Kurds, a Muslim ethnic minority that has been relentlessly persecuted by their Muslim hosts?

Posted by seth at January 3, 2012 02:02 PM

I hope Seth will read this. While it's likely too late for him, he may consider donating his brain to science to help prevent his awful fate from befalling others.

Posted by Jon Schwarz at January 3, 2012 03:48 PM

Well, it will surprise everyone that the NYPD found and arrested the savage Islamophobe who threw frappucino bottles of lit gasoline at the Queens mosque and a local bodega.

Turns out he was aggrieved because the mosque wouldn't let him use their bathroom.

I don't know if that means he will be added to the Wikipedia list of hate crimes or not.

http://m.nypost.com/;s=OUpzV2aVG6cXYCo9pHTGt32/f/mobile/news/local/queens/suspect_being_questioned_in_queens_aYvr8A7kYk45WMhUCcBh2N

Posted by seth at January 3, 2012 09:06 PM

Incidentally I fully support the right of houses of worship to restrict bathroom usage to their members...seems like a First Amendment issue...freedom of assembly maybe?

Posted by seth at January 3, 2012 09:08 PM

"By the way, has anyone here considered Hitchens' decades of work for the Kurds, a Muslim ethnic minority that has been relentlessly persecuted by their Muslim hosts?"

Whatever good he did turned to ash when he supported a war that caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and created four million refugees. He also supported those sanctions you opposed.

Posted by Donald Johnson at January 3, 2012 10:08 PM

There is this notion that Hitchens' "support" or lack of it had an impact on whether the US invaded Iraq or not. It is absurd...obviously it made no difference.

The reason everyone here hates Hitchens so much is not because of his unilateral declaration of war on Iraq but because of his lack of purity. Robespierre Schwarz and the rest of the crew cannot tolerate any divergence from the party line.

Hitchens never retreated from his earlier stances. He didn't go soft on Kissinger after 9-11 or embrace the Israeli occupation or tell the Kurds to fuck off. He opposed Bush's domestic spying, etc etc. But political puritans go nuts when someone betrays the ideology.

Posted by seth at January 3, 2012 10:34 PM

Ever read "Darkness At Noon"? Its ALL propaganda, Comrades. Perhaps Mr. Hitchens' propaganda wasn't up to snuff this century or no longer fit as well as the last century. I must confess, I've never read him that I recall nor Rolling Stone for that matter. BUT I've had EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE with whiskey and cigarettes and KNOW they can dull one down. Withdrawall from either is distracting and can take a feller's mind off business.
Then agin' could be he was really just another asshole, world's full of 'em.

Posted by Mike Meyer at January 4, 2012 01:19 AM

"Robespierre Schwarz and the rest of the crew cannot tolerate any divergence from the party line."

Madame Defarge and her knitting circle will be instituting the Reign of Terror at 11, so please stand by.

Posted by N E at January 4, 2012 06:58 AM

Hey Mike, let's not be slandering whiskey just because Hitchens may have had some. You can rag on the cigarettes all you want, but if you have to pick on booze too, please blame gin.

You're right about those assholes though.

Posted by N E at January 4, 2012 07:02 AM

Robespierre Schwarz and the rest of the crew cannot tolerate any divergence from the party line.

Hey, things are looking up! I used to be Stalin/Mao/Pol Pot.

Posted by Jon Schwarz at January 4, 2012 09:47 AM

Actually, seth, wrong again. Hitchens allied himself with the very faction that he had criticized back in the 80's. He criticized Kissinger on East Timor, and then allied himself with Paul Wolfowitz, who had his own connections with the atrocities committed against the Timorese. link

People don't like Hitchens because he became a mass of ugly self-contradictions, and as we didn't need Jon to point out, he was on top of all that a bully.

Posted by Donald Johnson at January 4, 2012 01:02 PM

Also seth, if Hitch shouldn't be criticized for supporting the Iraq War because he made no difference, then why should any pundit be criticized or praised for expressing any opinion? Why are you even here?

Posted by Donald Johnson at January 4, 2012 01:07 PM

Sure, everyone merits criticism for their positions or contradictions. I guess I am just surprised at the relentless hate piled on this guy's fresh grave because he took a stance on one issue that seems at odds with the rest of his career.

Posted by seth at January 4, 2012 04:04 PM

Well, obviously a lot of it's a reaction against all the encomia, plus in my case I'll admit there's some transference going on.

Posted by godoggo at January 5, 2012 01:04 AM

My only substantial exposure to Hitchens was No One Left To Lie To. I wasn't a great fan of the Clinton family -- still am not -- but it struck me as a remarkable heap of balderdash, of which the climax was Hitchens' extensive explanation about why it was more important to criticise Clinton over his sex life than over his foreign or domestic policy.

Let's not be unfair to Hitchens and say that he became an arsehole after 9/11. He was always an arsehole. It just happened that for a while he was an arsehole who supported the Left.

And, by the way, as far as I can make out William Shawcross became an arsehole about five minutes after Sideshow went to press.

Posted by The Creator at January 5, 2012 07:15 AM

"Sure, everyone merits criticism for their positions or contradictions. I guess I am just surprised at the relentless hate piled on this guy's fresh grave because he took a stance on one issue that seems at odds with the rest of his career."

Revealing a private correspondance with a Palestinian-American days after 9/11, implying that they are connected to terrorists, and threatening to turn them in or they should "shut the fuck up" is not taking a stance on one issue. You can choose to ignore, I don't know, the entire blog post you're responding too, but that doesn't change the post itself.

If you think what Hitchens did was fine, just say so, but I would have to have to I disagree with you.

"Let's have a contest. We will build a bonfire and throw in a Koran, a Torah, a Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, Dianetics by L Ron Hubbard, the Analects, etc etc and shout "Go!" Whoever is the first to riot over how gravely insulted they are wins. I'm giving even odds on the religion of Peace...any takers?

Tell you what. let's add up all the occupations of Muslim countries by Christian or Jewish countries in the past 30 years, and then add up all the occupations of Christian or Jewish countries by Muslims in the past 30 years. If the Muslims have more, we'll agree that they're the most violent group, if the Christians and Jews have more, we'll believe they're the violent ones...any takers?

Or perhaps you think riots on the other side of the world are worse than the invasion and occupation of your country?

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