DRY-EYED IN RESPONSE TO HITCHENS'S DEATH
Yes, you're not supposed to speak ill of the dead, but I don't understand why that should apply to Christopher Hitchens, who lashed out at so many people in such a self-satisfied way throughout his life. His writing was almost always about getting you to admire its own cleverness and viciousness, and only secondarily about his subjects. He picked ridiculous fights -- with female humorists, with Princess Diana. (Even when he was mostly left-leaning, his contempt for women oozed out of his Nation columns denouncing abortion.) And I'll say this because I think he would have the bad taste to say it about himself if he weren't himself: I feel as if he sustained his vices with such great energy primarily because he wanted to wave those vices in our faces -- I will not knuckle under to your abstemious pieties about chain smoking and all-day drinking! He brandished his hatred of Henry Kissinger as a Get Out of Jail Free card that was supposed to make us forgive his enabling of the right -- the Newt Gingrich right -- in the 1990s, and that was supposed to give moral weight to his Bush/Cheney bootlicking a decade later. I'm glad he came around on waterboarding, but he would never question the whole enterprise of the Iraq War, the worst thing any president in my lifetime has ever done. By the end he was like Donald Trump or Gene Simmons, or, for that matter, Gingrich -- someone who not only thought he was brilliant, he wanted you to know he thought he was brilliant, and wanted you to admire him for his self-admiration, to find that amusing and delightful. I'm sorry he suffered at the end, but I won't miss him, and I don't feel a loss.