Sunday, May 18, 2003

If you've read a lot of his work, it's fairly obvious that Christopher Hitchens is repulsed by women -- but is his peculiar misogyny so all-consuming that it would find its way into a review of a book on the writing of the King James Bible?


Writing about Adam Nicolson's God's Secretaries in The New York Times Book Review, Hitchens says of the year 1604,

The once refulgent reign of Queen Elizabeth had come to a stale and frustrated end in the preceding year, and a new monarch had been imported from Scotland, emerging from the rather questionable uterus of the old queen's former rival, the amorously notorious Mary, Queen of Scots.

Excuse me? "Rather questionable uterus"? How can a uterus be questionable? And what on Earth does this have to do with the Bible?

I suspect that, for Hitchens, all uteruses are questionable. Not content with merely critiquing tales of Mother Teresa's saintliness, he wanted (scroll down) to call his book about her Sacred Cow; it was ultimately published as The Missionary Position. Years ago, he appeared on U.S. television -- Nightline, as I recall -- and repeatedly denounced Princess Diana as "that loathsome Spencer woman." (Sorry -- I don't have a link for this, but it's a vivid memory, and I'm uncertain only of whether the adjective was "loathsome," "repulsive," or "vile.") Katha Pollitt can't quite remember whether he used to refer to women as "douchebags." And while he was not the only person to loathe Bill Clinton from the left, he was probably the only leftist (rather than liberal or liberal-centrist) to embrace the far right wholeheartedly, and the proximate cause was not Clinton's advocacy of welfare reform or NAFTA but his dalliance with Monica Lewinsky.

Hitchens has, as they say, issues -- though I never expected them to surface in this context.

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