Not that I can add anything particularly erudite to the many thousands of obituaries, blog posts and news reports. However I can acknowledge, like so many others, how much the educated world has now lost with Hitchens’ death.
I know that I have enjoyed Hitchens’ books and articles, his debates and discussions and have not wanted to face this day.
A lot of people have not wanted this day to arrive. But now that it is here, I will spend it in contemplative mood and spice my evening sipping red wine. I bought my copy of Arguably a few weeks ago and it sits on my bed side table. A consolation of sorts.
On reading so many of the on line comments about Hitchens’ death, I note how many acknowledge that the Hitch was instrumental in changing the way they thought; in helping them towards a sloughing off of religious belief.
He has many friends who, over the next few weeks and each anniversary of his birth will write, talk, broadcast and eulogise. And we will get through this sad day.
I didn’t agree with his politics but I found his scathing contempt for religion’s attempt to console human beings by imbuing them with fear and awe absolutely wonderful.
We have all watched him deliver witty and devastating arguments for which his opponents on the stage, pulpit and lecture hall had no comeback. Some resorted to shouting in capital letters but I doubt I ever saw the Hitch fazed at all.
Not a lyrical person but one who wielded words with hammer and punch, he has left us with a plethora of quotable quotes.
He has ensured his immortality with his writings. The Telegraph has started the ball rolling with its initial list of quotes. There will be many more to come. And Hitchens will survive a lot longer than many of the rest of us.
So, to you Hitch, I will raise my glass, remember some of the things you said that made me smile and keep reading your essays. I applaud that you did not go gently into that goodnight!