Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Hitch Remembered

Christopher Hitchens was a unique man of immense intellect. All one needs to do is type his name into YouTube and tune into one of the dozens of videos to get a sample of his incredible command of language, his rational approach to any debate, and his wit. Hitchens achieved his greatest fame when he tackled the issue of religion, and it was not until the last five years or so of his life that he became a real household name. As one of his contemporaries describes, Hitchens hated dictators and he gradually progressed in his writing towards the greatest controlling dictator of them all: God. It was his book God is Not Great that really brought him into the limelight, probably due to the negative reaction of so many religious people. But, as they say of The Hitch, love him or hate him, you could not ignore him. Sadly, Hitchens passed away last December.

Martin Amis was by all accounts Christopher's closest friend. Just hearing each of them describe their friendship makes one envious of the strength of their relationship. The following video clip is Martin Amis giving the eulogy at a Christopher Hitchens memorial, in which he attempts to unearth why Hitchens was so beloved by so many. With his characteristic dry humour, Amis recounts a few tales of this four-decade long friendship with Hitchens: 

The previous evening, Charlie Rose spends an hour interviewing four of Hitchens' friends, writers Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan, James Fenton, and Martin Amis. These are the men who knew Hitchens the best. Some of them knew him since he was a young man at Oxford. Though this clip is an hour long, it is a very good window into the character of "The Hitch", it is also very funny at times, and of course sad when they discuss his eventual death. Well worth watching and remembering what the world lost when The Hitch passed on:

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