Christopher Hitchens 1949-2011

sexta-feira, dezembro 16, 2011

Writer Christopher Hitchens Dies At 62


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Writer and commentator Christopher Hitchens died Thursday. He was 62.

December 16, 2011

The influential writer and cultural critic Christopher Hitchens died on Thursday at the age of 62 from complications of cancer of the esophagus. Hitchens confronted his disease in part by writing, bringing the same unsparing insight to his mortality that he had directed at so many other subjects.

Over the years, Hitchens' caustic attention was directed at a broad range of subjects, including Henry Kissinger, Prince Charles, Bob Hope, Michael Moore, the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa.

"If you're at Vanity Fair and you're talking about some of the things that Christopher has taken on, at the top of the list is going to be Mother Teresa," said Graydon Carter, editor atVanity Fair and a longtime friend.

In 1994, Hitchens co-wrote and narrated a documentary on her called Hell's Angel.

"This profane marriage between tawdry media hype and medieval superstition gave birth to an icon which few have since had the poor taste to question," he said in it.

Hitchens wrote about her for the magazine, too. Carter says it didn't go over so well.

"That's a tough topic to go after," he said. "It was quite negative, and we had hundreds of subscription cancellations, including some from our own staff."

Christopher Eric Hitchens was born in 1949 — the son of a British naval commander and a navy nurse — and by his own account was trained to join the British elite. He studied at a prestigious private school and then at Oxford, picking up along the way a love of smoking, drinking, politics, philosophy and argument. In 2010, Hitchens reviewed his life's path on NPR's Talk of the Nation as he talked about his latest memoir.

"I mean I thought of, at one point, entitling the book Both Sides Now, to describe the various ambivalences and contradictions that I've been faced with, or that I contained: English and American, Anglo-Celtic and Jewish, Marxist and — what shall we say — I've been accused of being this, accused of being a neoconservative and not always thought of it as an insult; internationalist but in a way patriotic," he said.

In his student days, he was a leftist, opposed to the Vietnam War; he later wrote for the New Statesman before coming to the U.S. in the early 1980s to write for The Nation magazine. His anti-American writings, informed by his socialism, yielded over time to a muscular defense of Western and particularly American values. During another of his frequent NPR appearances, Hitchens said he sought to counteract people he considered apologists for Islamo-fascism.

"Because I think it's the principal threat and because I think that it tests our readiness to say that we think our civilization is worth fighting for and is better than those who attack it," he said. "And I look — not just with politicians but full time with commentators, intellectuals, friends, for any note of apology, any sort of weakness or indecision on that point which I've come to consider to be morally and ideologically central."

Read more here/Leia mais aqui: NPR



RIP Christopher Hitchens! Fiquei impressionado com o seguinte parágrafo escrito por um amigo pessoal de Hitchens:

"I repeat my side of our old argument, insisting that what Christoper experienced today was not, as he insisted it would be, extinction--and that, just as I told him he would--told him as he shook his head in amused disbelief--he has now had a happy if temporarily embarrassing surprise, finding himself in the presence of the only Being with the capacity to love him even more than did his friends. I repeat my side--but never--never--have I so regretted have the last word"