I finally read the New Yorker profile of Christopher Hitchens tonight -- it's not online, but if you haven't read it in the magazine, you've probably read about it here or here.
Yes, he's a drunk; yes, he seems mentally unstable -- but I'll give him this: his ability to yammer about himself as if he's a hero of legend survives intact.
For this reason, he reminds me of a character from contemporary popular culture -- also a legend in his own mind: Dwight Schrute from The Office.
Sounds odd, I know -- but here are thirteen quotes, taken from the New Yorker profile, an earlier Hitchens profile in New York magazine -- and these two Dwight Schrute quote pages.
Can you tell?
IS IT CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS -- OR IS IT DWIGHT SCHRUTE?
1. You know, recognizing an enemy -- it's not just your mental cortex. Everything in you physically conditions you to realize that this means no good, like when you see a copperhead coming toward you. It's basic: it lives or I do.
2. A hero kills people, people that wish him harm. A hero is part human and part supernatural. A hero is born out of a childhood trauma, or out of a disaster, and must be avenged.
3. I come from a long line of fighters, my maternal grandfather was the toughest guy I ever knew. World War II veteran. He killed twenty men and then spent the rest of the war in an Allied prison camp... My father battled blood pressure and obesity all his life... different kind of fight.
4. For the first time in my life, I felt myself in the position of the policeman.... What does one do when the forces of law and order have let you down, and the whole of society is stunned and terrified? Simply, I must find out what it's like to think like a cop.
5. This is the polite version. Go away.
6. You can go to hell and I will see you there. Burning. Fine.
7. They want me to immolate myself.
8. I don't care if people despise me; it's a badge of honor.
9. Blood alone moves the wheels of history!
10. I know what I'm doing with it. And I can time it. It's a self-medicating thing.
11. Through concentration, I can raise and lower my cholesterol at will.
12. Reject a woman and she will never let it go. One of the many defects of their kind....
13. That little cow. And I've always been fond of her.
1. Hitchens (New Yorker)
4. Hitchens (New Yorker)
5. Hitchens (New Yorker)
7. Hitchens (New Yorker)
8. Hitchens (New York)
10. Hitchens (New Yorker)
13. Hitchens (New York)