Christopher Hitchens, R.I.P.
The sad news from Vanity Fair:
Christopher Hitchens—the incomparable critic, masterful rhetorician, fiery wit, and fearless bon vivant—died today at the age of 62. Hitchens was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in the spring of 2010, just after the publication of his memoir, Hitch-22, and began chemotherapy soon after. His matchless prose has appeared in Vanity Fair since 1992, when he was named contributing editor.
“Cancer victimhood contains a permanent temptation to be self-centered and even solipsistic,” Hitchens wrote nearly a year ago in Vanity Fair, but his own final labors were anything but….
Indeed. While I had a great respect for Mr. Hitchens as a man and a thinker, as someone who had gone through cancer myself, I grew to respect him even more by the way he handled himself once he was given the bad diagnosis. Too many in our condition wallow in the bad break they’ve been given and selfishly ignore the loved ones around them who suffer more then we do from mental distress. Christopher [if I may permitted, not having known him] most certainly did not do either as he battled what John Wayne called ‘The Big C’.
Stacy McCain has up an excellent aggregation over at TOM and offers an anecdote that captures part of what made the man so damn likable to an SOB like me.
Ed Driscoll does too.
Like Orwell, Christopher Hitchens fearlessly took on his own when he saw the Left strangling the Truth, but he was most certainly not without his flaws [typical for such a powerful thinker, those he had were doosies].
I’m reminded of Ben Franklin’s description of John Adams:
He means well for his country, is always an honest man, often a wise one, but sometimes, and in some things, absolutely out of his senses.
I’ll be raising a bourbon to him, several, actually, to make the tribute fitting.
Requiescat in pace.