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Christopher Hitchens is Dead at 62


Journalist and outspoken atheist Christopher Hitchens is dead at 62 of pneumonia, a complication of esophageal cancer.

The NYT: "...a slashing polemicist in the tradition of Thomas Paine and George Orwell who trained his sights on targets as various as Henry Kissinger, the British monarchy and Mother Teresa, wrote a best-seller attacking religious belief, and dismayed his former comrades on the left by enthusiastically supporting the American-led war in Iraq..."

Graydon Carter remembers him at Vanity Fair. Christopher Buckley remembers him over at The New Yorker.

The Soft Side of Christopher Hitchens, and the Brilliance of Mason Crumpacker [tr]
Report: Christopher Hitchens Will Reveal His Bisexuality [tr]

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  1. R.I.P. good rational man...

    Posted by: George F | Dec 16, 2011 7:21:16 AM

  2. a true hero, brilliant writer, speaker & humanist. RIP

    Posted by: EO | Dec 16, 2011 7:32:40 AM

  3. Bye Hitch, you never wrote or uttered a boring or inelegant sentence. I won't pray for you. Not one word.

    Posted by: Steerpike | Dec 16, 2011 7:33:17 AM

  4. Profoundly sad news. we've lost one of the great men of our time.

    Posted by: chad | Dec 16, 2011 7:54:30 AM

  5. im glad all the people on here apparently forget his support for the iraq war and the hundred thousand iraqis killed. but hey he yelled at christianists so lets not forget he was a fascist.

    Posted by: Adam | Dec 16, 2011 8:07:04 AM

  6. @Adam

    He achieved a hell of a lot more than posting snarky comments on websites.

    Posted by: Brandon | Dec 16, 2011 8:27:56 AM

  7. How very appropriate that he died the day we declared victory and pulled out on the war he was so impassioned about
    His fervent and completely unapologetic support of the Iraq war overshadows his other accomplishments and work
    It impacts on how he will be remembered
    He helped to give intellectual cover to the neo con warmongers
    Too bad he died at 62 – but there are thousands who died far younger in a pointless war he helped support – and never changed his mind about – & no apologies, no regrets, no revision – he still thought it was the right thing to do

    Posted by: jw | Dec 16, 2011 8:50:08 AM

  8. What a brilliant mind, one of the few genuine intellectuals left. A supporter of equality for gay people who died far too early. I loved the way he dismantled the Roman Catholic church. I would love to have seen him debate William Donohue of the Catholic League and other right wing religious wackos. He will be sorely missed. RIP, Christopher.

    Posted by: Robert in NYC | Dec 16, 2011 8:58:31 AM

  9. I rejoice at the death of a pompous warmongering phony.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Dec 16, 2011 8:59:39 AM

  10. It was good to have a loud voice speaking against Christianism. Hopefully, there will be another loud voice to replace his.

    Posted by: Chadd | Dec 16, 2011 9:16:13 AM

  11. David

    yes he was a fool on Iraq

    but he was right on religion

    Posted by: say what | Dec 16, 2011 9:55:38 AM

  12. i wonder when he started smoking.

    for a believer in rationality, why would he smoke? it almost certainly caused his death. 80-90% of some types of cancer are due to smoking. very sad. perhaps he was already addicted when the truth about smoking & cancer became widely accepted.

    Posted by: redball | Dec 16, 2011 10:06:32 AM

  13. His was a rational voice (and a loud one) in a world full of religious and superstitious nonsense. We could use more of those.

    Posted by: jaime jones | Dec 16, 2011 10:22:01 AM

  14. I won't shed a tear for (thank you David) this pompous warmongering phony either. His deathbed attempt to take down the memory of Jackie O revealed just how desperate for attention he was right up to the bitter end.

    Posted by: Christopher | Dec 16, 2011 11:53:55 AM

  15. His knowledge about the Iraq war, I am sure, is far more than anyone that posts on this blog. He actually went there many times, met people and studied the war first hand. He took the evidence that he obtained and created a opinion. I may disagree with him on iraq, but to call him a fool is idiotic. Where did you get your information on the iraq war? A liberal media station? Wikipedia? You have no ground at all to stand on to call Christopher Hitchens a fool. He could debate any of you about the war and win. Why? Because he uses facts and first hand knowledge to defend his beliefs, what do any of you have?

    Posted by: Bryce Ageno | Dec 16, 2011 12:28:07 PM

  16. As a fundamentalist atheist, he did very little to lift the discourse between truth claims (religious or otherwise) above the fray of shouting and vitriol - in fact, he gleefully made a career out of contributing substantially to the bedlam. With any hope a flood of secular humanists who are committed to the eradication of extremist elements within any religion - be it Christianity, Islam, or even Atheism - will rise up and guide the world in a more civil dialog about worldviews and (in the words of Paul Tillich) "ultimate concern[s]." May the progressive movements within religious traditions, the agnostics, the skeptics, the rationalists, and the peace-lovers everywhere drown out the pompous, self-serving grand-standing that come from the likes of the now late Mr. Hitchens and others of his ilk and lead us to what Eboo Patel calls "common action for the common good" [See his best-selling books, ACTS OF FAITH].

    Posted by: Philosophy | Dec 16, 2011 12:31:48 PM

  17. Christopher Hitchens R.I.P.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Dec 16, 2011 12:48:27 PM

  18. On the other hand, Jefferson owned slaves.

    I'll grant Hitchens the humanity of not always being right, and of not having what I think are mistakes obliterate what I think are wonderful achievements. Human. Mixed.

    Thanks, Bryce Ageno, for pointing out Hitchens spent quite some time in Iraq. I can't imagine how someone of his intellectual heft could have been in favor of that war, but I gladly acknowledge he had more information about it than I ever will.

    Posted by: Zlick | Dec 16, 2011 12:55:03 PM

  19. Not that any of you will be doing this, but please avoid any Baptist church this Sunday, as they will be filled with smug, gloating pastors who have furiously written 'Hitchen's in hell' type sermons.

    Posted by: Gregoire | Dec 16, 2011 1:01:50 PM

  20. The last soldier to die in the Iraq war?

    Posted by: anon | Dec 16, 2011 1:02:44 PM


    ..and the canonization of St. Christopher Hitchens has officially begun.

    Posted by: Christopher | Dec 16, 2011 1:28:55 PM

  22. @CHRISTOPHER Great retort. Just proves my earlier statement.

    Posted by: Bryce Ageno | Dec 16, 2011 2:05:35 PM

  23. Just to make it clear for people who obviously didn't read Hitchens' books. Christopher Hitchens supported the war on Iraq but was a critic on how it was carried out. I agree that his view may not have been completely rational. His arguments concerning the war were emotion driven. In his memoir he discusses the atrocities he witnessed in Iraq that he could never morally reconcile with. He adopted the stance that Saddam Hussein and his crime family needed to be destroyed and as quickly as possible. He argues that a better time to have done it was when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, instead of waiting till he became more powerful.

    Posted by: Bryce Ageno | Dec 16, 2011 2:24:13 PM

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