Friday, December 16, 2011

Christopher Hitchens

Well, it wasn't like we didn't know it was coming. The Telegraph's Toby Young: "The Cicero of the saloon bar"; the Guardian; the Mail (which also has a piece by Hitchens' brother Peter on becoming a Christian and coming to terms with his brother's atheism); Vanity Fair (which also has a surprisingly unamusing video compilation of some of Hitchens' "immortal rejoinders"); the Huffpo (just because it notes the NYT stopped its presses to run Hitch's obit on A1); and, for completeness, the NYT.

I've read only a couple of his books (Why Orwell Matters and Hitch-22), and his strident atheism got old in a hurry, but I've read many of his essays, and the one I'll always love him for is his appreciation of one of my longtime favorite comic novels. Here it is, as it appeared in The Atlantic in 2002: "The Man of Feeling: Lucky Jim, Kingsley Amis's comic masterpiece, may be the funniest book of the past half century."

It is. And much more than Hitchens' nearly traitorous (to the left) warnings of the danger posed by Islamofascism, or his support of the Iraq war, his love for that book made me feel like I really knew, and liked, the man.

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