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Posts Tagged ‘Christopher Hitchens

What a funny day this has been!

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Jeremy Paxman, British journalist and broadcas...
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It started with me tearing after seeing my current real hero, Christopher Hitchens, being interviewed quite sympathetically by Jeremy Paxman.

How come so many interviews in the UK seem so civilized while those in North America seem either pandering or aggressive? I think that is one way of defining the cultural divide between the UK and North America.

It used to be Alistair Cooke who personified that divide. Of course, Hitchens has been living in the US for about 30 years now so he crossed the divide in many ways long ago.

Now it seems likely that he will die in the US and that will be another curiosity about that divide. The fact is that Hitch sounds so British and so civilized so I would have expected that he would choose to die nearer his home turf somewhere on that “blessed Isle” but he prefers to live in America and made that choice of his own volition those 30 years ago.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2010/12/05 at 09:02

I can never read enough about Chris Hitchens

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Christopher Hitchens
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I found an excellent long interview essay in The Guardian’s Culture section under the byline of Andrew Anthony.

The better bit that I found and had to reread was this:

Hitchens once wrote a line that has almost gained the status of philosophical epigram or even scientific dictum: “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” Although it echoes Wittgenstein‘s famous injunction regarding the ineffable – “Whereof we cannot speak, therefore we must be silent” – Hitchens’s version is less a “no entry” sign than a civic reminder to place rubbish in the bin.

Hitch sure sounds OK in the interview, but who knows in that terribly risky journey through an oesophagul cancer cure!


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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2010/11/14 at 08:06

A perceptive review of the Hitchens memoir

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Christopher Hitchens
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I read the whole piece in the London Review of Books after seeing the link in Ross Douthat’s NY Times column about the Hitchens memoir and persona.

Yes, I kind of like Christopher Hitchens and especially the person/journalist described by Runciman!

What’s not to like about a contrarian talker like Hitch? I like most of him and his contrarianess!

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Chris Hedges wrote “I don’t believe in Atheists”

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I was just browsing through author essays posted in the Powell Books web site and bumped into an essay by Chris Hedges discussing his thoughts about right wing Christians and New Atheists, like Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and Chris Hitchens.

I have spent a lot of time reading New Atheists and about them and  I have wondered about what I should or can believe. Since Hedges graduated from Harvard Divinity School and spent a lot of time doing war journalism, especially in the Middle East, I feel that he has the mental and emotional wherewithal to say useful things about what’s wrong with belief systems in our Western society. Here is an excerpt from his essay that resonated for me:

These New Atheists and the Christian radicals they so resemble have built squalid little belief systems that are in the service of themselves and their own power. They urge us forward into a non-reality-based world, one where force and violence, where self-exaltation and blind nationalism go unquestioned and are considered good. They seek to make us afraid of what we do not know or understand. They use this fear to justify cruelty and war. They ask us to kneel before little idols that look and act like them, telling us that one day, if we trust enough in God or reason, we will have everything we desire.

I Don’t Believe in Atheists is a call to reject simplistic and utopian visions. It is a call to accept the severe limitations of being human. It is a call to face reality, a reality that in the coming decades is going to be bleak and difficult. Those who are blinded by utopian visions inevitably turn to force to make their impossible dreams and their noble ideals a reality. They believe the ends, no matter how barbaric, justify the means. Utopian ideologues, armed with the technology and mechanisms of industrial slaughter, have killed tens of millions of people over the last century. They ask us to inflict suffering and death in the name of virtue and truth. The New Atheists, in the end, offer us a new version of an old and dangerous faith. It is one we have seen before. It is one we must fight.

I often feel the “severe limitations of being human”. And I often feel the need to work through to a clearer sense of the reality of living and being a moral person versus being a religious person. I often feel that I must fight that “old and dangerous faith” based on dogmatic truths and beliefs about the higher morality of virtue in human affairs.

Chris Hedges
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“Let Sarah be Sarah” and let the chips fall where they may!

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John McCain being pulled out of Truc Bach Lake...

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After reading a Robert Draper blog post it seems amazing to me that there are still commentators out there who wonder why McCain campaign operatives are still struggling to “manage” la Palin. Why was it considered necessary to do that in the first, and second, place?

McCain, whose body language and facial reactions don’t hide very many of his own doubtful internal reactions to what she says and how she says it on many videos, repeats his mantra that she is great and her record complements his so well. Who is he kidding?

Christopher Hitchens says it so well when he describes her as a ” proud boastful ignoramus”! I would add “singlemindedly ambitious” and unblinking in her readiness to take advantage of all opportunities thrust on her.

For his part I believe McCain is willing to do and say anything to win this election, his last hurrah! But I feel pity for him, especially when I see how physically awkward he is on stage with his own wife. Because of this obvious situation it is sad and ironic that her personal fortune has been the most constant support in his political quest and he can’t even show natural affection for her.

Is this a case of his blind ambition leading him from an awkward connection with his wife to just another one with his VP running mate?

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2008/10/28 at 10:53

Hitchens hits it outta the park re McCain/Palin

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In his latest Slate post, Christopher Hitchens says in his usual pungent way what he likes least about la Palin and her brand of politics:

This is what the Republican Party has done to us this year: It has placed within reach of the Oval Office a woman who is a religious fanatic and a proud, boastful ignoramus. Those who despise science and learning are not anti-elitist. They are morally and intellectually slothful people who are secretly envious of the educated and the cultured. And those who prate of spiritual warfare and demons are not just “people of faith” but theocratic bullies. On Nov. 4, anyone who cares for the Constitution has a clear duty to repudiate this wickedness and stupidity.

He’s not one for the PC soft-pedal. But I like the pungency!

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2008/10/28 at 07:25