Wit and wisdom of Christopher Hitchens (1949 - 2011)
Following his death from cancer, here's 'Hitch' on Mother Theresa, Princess Diana, Dubya Bush et al
THE ESSAYIST, polemicist, provocateur and atheist Christopher Hitchens has died in the United States following a battle with throat cancer brought on by a life of booze and cigarettes. He was 62. Once an International Socialist, he ended up "betraying" the left when he supported the American invasion of Iraq following 9/11, which he blamed on "Islamofascism". He even supported George Bush's re-election in 2004.
Graydon Carter, editor of Vanity Fair for whom Hitchens wrote some of his best work after leaving England to make his home in New York, called him a man "of ferocious intellect, who was as vibrant on the page as he was at the bar."
Here's a selection of Hitch's best lines....
On George Bush:
"He's unusually incurious, abnormally unintelligent, amazingly inarticulate, fantastically uncultured, extraordinarily uneducated, and apparently quite proud of all these things."
"Is there anything so utterly lacking in humour as a mother discussing her new child? She is unboreable on the subject."
On Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize:
"It would be like giving someone an Oscar in the hope that he would one day make a good motion picture. It's a virtual award. It's for good intent."
On Mother Theresa and Princess Diana:
"Both had spent their careers in the service and the pursuit of the rich and powerful. Both had used poor and sick people as ‘accessories' in their campaigns. And both had succeeded in pulling off the number one triumph offered by the celebrity culture – the achievement of a status where actions are judged by reputation and not the other way round."
"The bombers of Manhattan represent fascism with an Islamic face, and there's no point in any euphemism about it. What they abominate about ‘the west', to put it in a phrase, is not what Western liberals don't like and can't defend about their own system, but what they do like about it and must defend: its emancipated women, its scientific inquiry, its separation of religion from the state."
On battling cancer:
"I sometimes wish I were suffering in a good cause, or risking my life for the good of others, instead of just being a gravely endangered patient."
On New York, his adopted home:
"New York barmen, taxi drivers and policemen may labour too hard to give the impression of having seen it all before. But there is always a nagging suspicion that they actually have."
On Bill Clinton:
"One reason a gentleman may be obliged to lie is to protect the reputation of the woman. Clinton has lied in order to trash them."
On drinking martinis:
"On the whole, observe the same rule about gin martinis – and all gin drinks – that you would in judging female breasts: one is far too few, and three is one too many. Do try to eat the olives: they can be nutritious."
"If asked my opinion about virginity, I would say 'I'm opposed to it'." ·