Christopher Hitchens has died, but will live on...

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Christopher Hitchens has died, but will live on...

Christopher Hitchens passed away tonight.  He will be missed.  We will remember him for what he accomplished, he knew this going in to tonight.  He knew that he would live on through his work, and that there doesn't need to be a heaven or hell to live on past death.  We will be recommending his books for many many years to come, and remembering how much he taught us.

Please post any links to anything Hitch.  Say whatever is on your mind, this is the official thread to remember Hitch on RRS.

 

Washington Post wrote:

Christopher Hitchens, the author, essayist and polemicist who waged verbal and occasional physical battle on behalf of causes left and right and wrote the provocative best-seller “God is Not Great,” died Thursday night after a long battle with cancer. He was 62.

Hitchens death was announced in a statement from Vanity Fair magazine. The statement says he died Thursday night at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston of pneumonia, a complication of his esophageal cancer.[1]

 

Christopher Hitchens had a friendly relationship with an Evangelical and he wrote about their relationship  (thanks ktulu)

 

Quote:
When he was asked what he thought of me, a Christian, and an evangelical at that, Hitch replied: “If everyone in the United States had the same qualities of loyalty and care and concern for others that Larry Taunton had, we'd be living in a much better society than we do.”

 

Christopher Hitchens last article in Vanity Fair (Jan, 2012) takes on Nietzsche and mortality.  

 

“Do I fear death? No, I am not afraid of being dead because there's nothing to be afraid of, I won't know it. I fear dying, of dying I feel a sense of waste about it and I fear a sordid death, where I am incapacitated or imbecilic at the end which isn't something to be afraid of, it's something to be terrified of.”
― Christopher Hitchens

 

Watch this video, it'll remind you how hard hitting Hitch was on religion.  Try to embrace a little Hitch when you speak out. 

 

Someone said we should coin "Christophermas."

Buy a Christopher Hitchens book as a Christophermas (or Hitchmas if you prefer) gift for someone today.  He will live on.

 

Photo: Jason Torpy

- Brian Sapient


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Sage_Override wrote:We still

Sage_Override wrote:

We still have PZ Myers, Richard Carrier and Dan Barker with the remaining rat pack so, that's good. 

Yea but we lost our best Malcolm X. Even atheists hated him for his blunt criticisms, but those atheists too never took notice of the religious community that did like him and value him, as a friend.

His entire approach was Jeffersonian and I happen to agree with Hitch. Dont be afraid of the intellectual battle and don't assume that because one is blunt on one issue, doesn't mean they hate everything about the person making the claim, it just meant for Hitch that he wasn't going to be dishonest about his position on that particular claim.

To me when atheists criticize blasphemy and fall for that false sense of "fairness" when the blasphemy is not an act of hate, but a challenge to wake up "do you realize what you are claiming". They also do a disservice to themselves by allowing that well intended sense of "fairness" to become the very tool for taboos the majority wants them to have in order to maintain the status quo.

He didn't hate people MERELY because they believed. He hated the claim, not the person.

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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ex-minister
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One of the Best

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/


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 It made me very sad to

 It made me very sad to hear of Mr. Hitchens death. God is Not Great came out right around the time I came out as an atheist, and it helped me make my position quite a bit. I have not been active in the atheist community for a long while due to work and school, so I was unaware of Mr. Hitchens death. I saw a very small write up by an essayist in my local newspaper reflecting on his life. It is extremely sad that such a great intellectual didn't get more than that. Rest in peace, Mr. Hitchens. I shall miss your wit.


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Gracefully

 http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/18/opinion/christopher-hitchens-consummate-writer-brilliant-friend.html?scp=1&sq=Christopher%20Hitchens,%20Consummate%20Writer,%20Brilliant%20Friend&st=cse

 

I am a behind on my emails, but someone sent me this article. I found it touching.

 

Christopher Hitchens, Consummate Writer, Brilliant Friend

By IAN McEWAN

NewYorkTimes wrote:
THE place where Christopher Hitchens spent his last few weeks was hardly bookish, but he made it his own. Close to downtown Houston is the Medical Center, a cluster of high-rises like La Défense of Paris, or London’s City, a financial district of a sort, where the common currency is illness.

This complex is one of the world’s great concentrations of medical expertise and technology. Its highest building denies the possibility of a benevolent god — a neon sign proclaims from its roof a cancer hospital for children. This “clean-sliced cliff,” as Larkin puts it in his poem about a tower-block hospital, was right across the way from Christopher’s place — which was not quite as high, and adults only.

No man was ever as easy to visit in the hospital. He didn’t want flowers and grapes, he wanted conversation, and presence. All silences were useful. He liked to find you still there when he woke from his frequent morphine-induced dozes. He wasn’t interested in being ill. He didn’t want to talk about it.

When I arrived from the airport on my last visit, he saw sticking out of my luggage a small book. He held out his hand for it — Peter Ackroyd’s “London Under,” a subterranean history of the city. Then we began a 10-minute celebration of its author. We had never spoken of him before, and Christopher seemed to have read everything. Only then did we say hello. He wanted the Ackroyd, he said, because it was small and didn’t hurt his wrist to hold. But soon he was making penciled notes in its margins. By that evening he’d finished it. He could have written a review, but he was to turn in a long piece on Chesterton.

And so this was how it would go: talk about books and politics, then he dozed while I read or wrote, then more talk, then we both read. The intensive care unit room was crammed with flickering machines and sustaining tubes, but they seemed almost decorative. Books, journalism, the ideas behind both, conquered the sterile space, or warmed it, they raised it to the condition of a good university library. And they protected us from the bleak high-rise view through the plate glass windows, of that world, in Larkin’s lines, whose loves and chances “are beyond the stretch/Of any hand from here!”

In the afternoon I was helping him out of bed, the idea being that he was to take a shuffle round the nurses’ station to exercise his legs. As he leaned his trembling, diminished weight on me, I said, only because I knew he was thinking it, “Take my arm, old toad...” He gave me that shifty sideways grin I remembered so well from his healthy days. It was the smile of recognition, or one that anticipates in late afternoon an “evening of shame:” — that is to say, pleasure, or, one of his favorite terms, “sodality.”

That must be how I came to be reading Larkin’s “Whitsun Weddings” aloud to him two hours later. Christopher asked me to set the poem in context for his son, Alexander — a lovely presence in that room for weeks on end — and for his wife, Carol Blue — a tigress for his medical cause. She had tangled so ferociously with some slow element of the hospital’s bureaucracy that security guards had been called to throw her out of the building. Fortunately, she charmed and disarmed them.

I set the poem up and read it, and when I reached that celebrated end, “A sense of falling, like an arrow-shower/Sent out of sight, somewhere becoming rain,” Christopher murmured from his bed, “That’s so dark, so horribly dark.” I disagreed, and not out of any wish to lighten his mood. Surely, the train journey comes to an end, the recently married couples are dispatched toward their separate fates. He wouldn’t have it, and a week later, when I was back in London, we were still exchanging e-mails on the subject. One of his began, “Dearest Ian, Well, indeed — no rain, no gain — but it still depends on how much anthropomorphising Larkin is doing with his unconscious... I’d provisionally surmise that ‘somewhere becoming rain’ is unpromising.”

And this was a man in constant pain. Denied drinking or eating, he sucked on tiny ice chips. Where others might have beguiled themselves with thoughts of divine purpose (why me?) and dreams of an afterlife, Christopher had all of literature.

Over the three days of my final visit I took note of his subjects. Not long after he stole my Ackroyd, he was talking to me of a Slovakian novelist; whether Dreiser in his novels about finance was a guide to the current crisis; Chesterton’s Catholicism; Browning’s “Sonnets from the Portuguese,” which I had brought for him on a previous visit; Mann’s “Magic Mountain” — he’d reread it for reflections on German imperial ambitions toward Turkey; and because we had started to talk about old times in Manhattan, he wanted to quote and celebrate James Fenton’s “German Requiem”: “How comforting it is, once or twice a year,/To get together and forget the old times.”

While I was with him another celebration took place in far away London, with Stephen Fry as host in the Festival Hall to reflect on the life and times of Christopher Hitchens. We helped him out of bed and into a chair and set my laptop in front of him. Alexander delved into the Internet with special passwords to get us linked to the event. He also plugged in his own portable stereo speakers. We had the sound connection well before the vision and what we heard was astounding, and for Christopher, uplifting. It was the noise of 2,000 voices small-talking before the event. Then we had a view from the stage of the audience, packed into their rows.

They all looked so young. I would have guessed that nearly all of them would have opposed Christopher strongly over Iraq. But here they were, and in cinemas all over the country, turning out for him. Christopher grinned and raised a thin arm in salute. Close family and friends may be in the room with you, but dying is lonely, the confinement is total. He could see for himself that the life outside this small room had not forgotten him. For a moment, pace Larkin, it was by way of the Internet that the world stretched a hand toward him.

The next morning, at Christopher’s request, Alexander and I set up a desk for him under a window. We helped him and his pole with its feed-lines across the room, arranged pillows on his chair, adjusted the height of his laptop. Talking and dozing were all very well, but Christopher had only a few days to produce 3,000 words on Ian Ker’s biography of Chesterton.

Whenever people talk of Christopher’s journalism, I will always think of this moment.

Consider the mix. Constant pain, weak as a kitten, morphine dragging him down, then the tangle of Reformation theology and politics, Chesterton’s romantic, imagined England suffused with the kind of Catholicism that mediated his brush with fascism and his taste for paradox, which Christopher wanted to debunk. At intervals, Christopher’s head would droop, his eyes close, then with superhuman effort he would drag himself awake to type another line. His long memory served him well, for he didn’t have the usual books on hand for this kind of thing. When it’s available, read the review. His unworldly fluency never deserted him, his commitment was passionate, and he never deserted his trade. He was the consummate writer, the brilliant friend. In Walter Pater’s famous phrase, he burned “with this hard gem-like flame.” Right to the end.

I hope to go so gracefully into the dark night.

 

 

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/


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ex-minister

ex-minister wrote:

 http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/18/opinion/christopher-hitchens-consummate-writer-brilliant-friend.html?scp=1&sq=Christopher%20Hitchens,%20Consummate%20Writer,%20Brilliant%20Friend&st=cse

 

I am a behind on my emails, but someone sent me this article. I found it touching.

 

Christopher Hitchens, Consummate Writer, Brilliant Friend

By IAN McEWAN

NewYorkTimes wrote:
THE place where Christopher Hitchens spent his last few weeks was hardly bookish, but he made it his own. Close to downtown Houston is the Medical Center, a cluster of high-rises like La Défense of Paris, or London’s City, a financial district of a sort, where the common currency is illness.

This complex is one of the world’s great concentrations of medical expertise and technology. Its highest building denies the possibility of a benevolent god — a neon sign proclaims from its roof a cancer hospital for children. This “clean-sliced cliff,” as Larkin puts it in his poem about a tower-block hospital, was right across the way from Christopher’s place — which was not quite as high, and adults only.

No man was ever as easy to visit in the hospital. He didn’t want flowers and grapes, he wanted conversation, and presence. All silences were useful. He liked to find you still there when he woke from his frequent morphine-induced dozes. He wasn’t interested in being ill. He didn’t want to talk about it.

When I arrived from the airport on my last visit, he saw sticking out of my luggage a small book. He held out his hand for it — Peter Ackroyd’s “London Under,” a subterranean history of the city. Then we began a 10-minute celebration of its author. We had never spoken of him before, and Christopher seemed to have read everything. Only then did we say hello. He wanted the Ackroyd, he said, because it was small and didn’t hurt his wrist to hold. But soon he was making penciled notes in its margins. By that evening he’d finished it. He could have written a review, but he was to turn in a long piece on Chesterton.

And so this was how it would go: talk about books and politics, then he dozed while I read or wrote, then more talk, then we both read. The intensive care unit room was crammed with flickering machines and sustaining tubes, but they seemed almost decorative. Books, journalism, the ideas behind both, conquered the sterile space, or warmed it, they raised it to the condition of a good university library. And they protected us from the bleak high-rise view through the plate glass windows, of that world, in Larkin’s lines, whose loves and chances “are beyond the stretch/Of any hand from here!”

In the afternoon I was helping him out of bed, the idea being that he was to take a shuffle round the nurses’ station to exercise his legs. As he leaned his trembling, diminished weight on me, I said, only because I knew he was thinking it, “Take my arm, old toad...” He gave me that shifty sideways grin I remembered so well from his healthy days. It was the smile of recognition, or one that anticipates in late afternoon an “evening of shame:” — that is to say, pleasure, or, one of his favorite terms, “sodality.”

That must be how I came to be reading Larkin’s “Whitsun Weddings” aloud to him two hours later. Christopher asked me to set the poem in context for his son, Alexander — a lovely presence in that room for weeks on end — and for his wife, Carol Blue — a tigress for his medical cause. She had tangled so ferociously with some slow element of the hospital’s bureaucracy that security guards had been called to throw her out of the building. Fortunately, she charmed and disarmed them.

I set the poem up and read it, and when I reached that celebrated end, “A sense of falling, like an arrow-shower/Sent out of sight, somewhere becoming rain,” Christopher murmured from his bed, “That’s so dark, so horribly dark.” I disagreed, and not out of any wish to lighten his mood. Surely, the train journey comes to an end, the recently married couples are dispatched toward their separate fates. He wouldn’t have it, and a week later, when I was back in London, we were still exchanging e-mails on the subject. One of his began, “Dearest Ian, Well, indeed — no rain, no gain — but it still depends on how much anthropomorphising Larkin is doing with his unconscious... I’d provisionally surmise that ‘somewhere becoming rain’ is unpromising.”

And this was a man in constant pain. Denied drinking or eating, he sucked on tiny ice chips. Where others might have beguiled themselves with thoughts of divine purpose (why me?) and dreams of an afterlife, Christopher had all of literature.

Over the three days of my final visit I took note of his subjects. Not long after he stole my Ackroyd, he was talking to me of a Slovakian novelist; whether Dreiser in his novels about finance was a guide to the current crisis; Chesterton’s Catholicism; Browning’s “Sonnets from the Portuguese,” which I had brought for him on a previous visit; Mann’s “Magic Mountain” — he’d reread it for reflections on German imperial ambitions toward Turkey; and because we had started to talk about old times in Manhattan, he wanted to quote and celebrate James Fenton’s “German Requiem”: “How comforting it is, once or twice a year,/To get together and forget the old times.”

While I was with him another celebration took place in far away London, with Stephen Fry as host in the Festival Hall to reflect on the life and times of Christopher Hitchens. We helped him out of bed and into a chair and set my laptop in front of him. Alexander delved into the Internet with special passwords to get us linked to the event. He also plugged in his own portable stereo speakers. We had the sound connection well before the vision and what we heard was astounding, and for Christopher, uplifting. It was the noise of 2,000 voices small-talking before the event. Then we had a view from the stage of the audience, packed into their rows.

They all looked so young. I would have guessed that nearly all of them would have opposed Christopher strongly over Iraq. But here they were, and in cinemas all over the country, turning out for him. Christopher grinned and raised a thin arm in salute. Close family and friends may be in the room with you, but dying is lonely, the confinement is total. He could see for himself that the life outside this small room had not forgotten him. For a moment, pace Larkin, it was by way of the Internet that the world stretched a hand toward him.

The next morning, at Christopher’s request, Alexander and I set up a desk for him under a window. We helped him and his pole with its feed-lines across the room, arranged pillows on his chair, adjusted the height of his laptop. Talking and dozing were all very well, but Christopher had only a few days to produce 3,000 words on Ian Ker’s biography of Chesterton.

Whenever people talk of Christopher’s journalism, I will always think of this moment.

Consider the mix. Constant pain, weak as a kitten, morphine dragging him down, then the tangle of Reformation theology and politics, Chesterton’s romantic, imagined England suffused with the kind of Catholicism that mediated his brush with fascism and his taste for paradox, which Christopher wanted to debunk. At intervals, Christopher’s head would droop, his eyes close, then with superhuman effort he would drag himself awake to type another line. His long memory served him well, for he didn’t have the usual books on hand for this kind of thing. When it’s available, read the review. His unworldly fluency never deserted him, his commitment was passionate, and he never deserted his trade. He was the consummate writer, the brilliant friend. In Walter Pater’s famous phrase, he burned “with this hard gem-like flame.” Right to the end.

I hope to go so gracefully into the dark night.

 

I don't know if I will be that graceful. I hate pain and am a wimp when it comes to pain. But I am with him that if I die slowly from some terminal illness, that will affect my thoughts and brain capacity, I will say now, like he did, if I reverse, that will not be me in a lucid period and not worth considering because it will not be me at that point.

"Rage against the dying of the light" a famous poem once said. Hitchens came along and said "Rage to be you while you have life" But when you know death is coming "Rage" is a distraction away from the pragmatism of trying to delay the finality, and the pragmatism of enjoying that time despite knowing what you cant avoid in any case.

I will do what any human would want, and look for ways to prolong my life. But I will not wallow in myth or delusion in that process. I also would not to be kept alive if a vegetable. Life is and that is all it is, and the best any of us can do is enjoy the time we have while we have it.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


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G K Chesterton.

In the 60 Minutes interview with Christopher Hitchens, he said, in response to an afterlife question, that he liked "surprises".

 

I found that an unusual response.

 

Now, we see him deeply engaged with fellow wordsmith, GK Chesterton, the great Christian apologist. 

 


The sages have a hundred maps to give

That trace their crawling cosmos like a tree,

They rattle reason out through many a sieve

That stores the sand and lets the gold go free:

And all these things are less than dust to me

Because my name is Lazarus and I live.

G. K. Chesterton (1922)

 

 


 


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I just heard Russell Glasser

I just heard Russell Glasser on "The Atheist Experience" podcast read Hitchens' letter to this year's American Atheist convention, and found it incredibly moving, more so than I think I would have while he was still alive.

Here is a link to where PZ Myers' posted it on his blog, in case you haven't seen it:

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/04/hitchens_address_to_american_a.php

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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BobSpence wrote:I just heard

BobSpence wrote:

I just heard Russell Glasser on "The Atheist Experience" podcast read Hitchens' letter to this year's American Atheist convention, and found it incredibly moving, more so than I think I would have while he was still alive.

Here is a link to where PZ Myers' posted it on his blog, in case you haven't seen it:

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/04/hitchens_address_to_american_a.php

 

 I meant for you to start a new thread titling his letter. I think it deserves it's own thread, you goofball.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37