Christopher Hitchens has been brought back from the dead by Slate, but it won’t do them any good. Yesterday, they republished a hit piece by the atheist from 2010 that was vintage Hitchens: the man was a great polemicist but a third-class scholar. Facts never mattered to him. ("The Pope's entire career has the stench of evil about it.")
Hitchens said the scandal “has only just begun.” Wrong. It began in the mid-60s and ended in the mid-80s. Current reports are almost all about old cases.
The passing Thursday of Christopher Hitchens, at age 62 from cancer, reminded me of one of his finest moments, which occurred on a Friday night five-and-a-half years ago when he gave the finger to the pretentious, left-wing Los Angeles studio audience of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher.
As he laid out the case for how it’s Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who wants World War Three, not George W. Bush, Hitchens cited how Ahmadinejad “says the Messiah is about to come back.” Maher quipped: “So does George Bush, by the way.” That caused a loud eruption of audience applause and cheering, which led Maher to clarify: “That's not facetious.”
The death of Christopher Hitchens hits like the 2008 death of Tim Russert. Both were men you really wanted to hear from during a looming presidential election.
The word being tossed about in reference to the passing of Hitchens is “contrarian,” and that strikes me as a little unfair. Hitchens could be infuriating and even wrong, but there was nothing dishonest or insincere about the man. Though it’s not the perfect definition of contrarian, I don’t believe for a second that Hitchens ever once took a stand simply to be provocative or contrary.
With author Christopher Hitchens out promoting his new book, ‘Hitch 22: A Memoir,’ I was reminded of four summers ago when the British-born foreign policy hawk gave the finger to Bill Maher’s audience for derisively applauding put-downs of then-President George W. Bush’s approach to Iran. From an August 26, 2006 NewsBusters posting:
Writer/author Christopher Hitchens on Friday night gave the finger to the Los Angeles studio audience of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher. As he laid out the case for how it's Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who wants World War Three, not George W. Bush, Hitchens cited how Ahmadinejad “says the Messiah is about to come back.” Maher quipped: “So does George Bush, by the way.” That caused a loud eruption of audience applause and cheering, which led Maher to clarify: “That's not facetious.”
The crowd continued to applaud as Hitchens remarked, about those in attendance who had earlier cheered and laughed as Maher called Bush an “idiot” repeatedly: “That's not facetious. Your audience, which will clap at apparently anything, is frivolous.” Loud oohs and groans emanated from the audience, prompting Hitchens to give them the finger as he castigated them, “Fuck you, fuck you,” while the groans continued.
Newsweek continued its campaign against the Catholic Church on Friday by letting one of the leading atheist (not to leave out anti-Catholic) voices internationally, Christopher Hitchens, spout half-truths and smears about Pope Benedict XVI and the Church. Most egregiously, Hitchens inaccurately stated that Vatican City "was created by Benito Mussolini," thus trying to tie Catholicism to fascism.
For years now American TV audiences been constantly accosted with the overblown drama, feelings, and theatrics of people we don't care about. It is given the exalted genera title of "reality TV." Now Salon.com brings that drama queen sensationalism to journalism! Oh, joy.
Enter Julie Limbaugh whining and complaining in the pages of Salon.com that her life is just oh, so hard because her cousin is famed radio yacker Rush Limbaugh.
Commiserate as she wails about the many times her ultra rich cousin flew the whole family to a resort for Thanksgiving and bought her Chanel sunglasses. Life is so hard. Feel her pain as she is introduced to famous people like Ann Coulter. Gosh what a trial. Assume her sadness as she reveals mistreatment by ignoramuses on the left that call her names because of what Rush has said merely because she carries the same last name. Oh, the humanity.
At 78, Larry Eagleburger hasn't lost his fastball. Since leaving government, he might actually have added some MPH. Appearing on MSNBC this afternoon, the former Secretary of State in George H.W.'s administration warmed up with some rough words for Barack Obama and Christopher Hitchens . . . then absolutely rubbished Bill Richardson.
Andrea Mitchell had invited Eagleburger on to assess the list of potential Secretary of State nominees. While he wasn't wildly enthusiatic about Hillary, she was his pick among those under serious consideration. When Mitchell suggested that Bill Clinton's foreign policy experience might prove useful, Eagleburger unloaded on Obama's lack of experience..
Renegade Night on Hardball. First up, Bill Weld. The former Republican governor of Massachusetts, who has endorsed Obama, told Chris Matthews he believed the Dem candidate would, as president, reach across the aisle to govern. Weld didn't—couldn't—cite anything to support his assertion out of Obama's hyper-partisan Senate record in which he's toed the Harry Reid line 97% of the time.
But as apostasy goes, that was small potatoes compared to Christopher Hitchens. The God Is Not Great author who, despite his support for the Iraq war, has also recently endorsed Obama, told Matthews he believes McCain is "borderline senile."
Update: Reaction from document examiner Emily Will added at bottom of post (April 3 | 13:02 EDT)
Mary Mapes (file photo at right), the former CBS producer behind the Bush National Guard memo scandal that eventually felled Dan Rather's career has a post up at the liberal Nation magazine's Web site insisting that comparisons between Memogate and the L.A. Times falling for fake documents about Tupac Shakur's murder are "simplistic, unfounded and unfair." (h/t Patterico)
Apparently, there's a profound difference between trying to sway a presidential election with questionable documentary evidence and messing with Tupac.
Mapes defended her work in Memogate before turning, predictably, to fire on the Bush administration. Of course in doing so, Mapes, who had just finished defending her reliability as a journalist, laid out at least two commonly-repeated falsehoods propagated by the Left about the Iraq war. First, Mapes insisted that:
The greatest fraud perpetrated in modern journalistic history was the Bush Administration's linking of Iraq to September 11.
But the Bush administration never argued such a thing in the lead-up to the war. As the BBC, hardly a Bush cheerleader, rightly noted in September 2003:
In all the brouhaha last week over the incendiary comments made by Barack Obama's pastor the media seemed to forget to partake in their traditional Holy Week Christian-bashing excercise. There were a few entries in the "Easter Hit Parade," like the Comedy Central show "Root of All Evil" which my boss, Brent Bozell, wrote about in a column recently, and an episode of "Law and Order" which featured another Christian-stones-someone storyline.
I suppose it's good news that there was less faith flagellation courtesy of the liberal media, and yet at the same time it's sad that I was expecting to find it at Easter time. But the fact remains that Christmas and Easter are generally times when the media attacks on Christians are more pronounced.
When Christopher Hitchens came on today's Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough began by inviting him to comment on "last night's" results. Quipped the famously hard-living Hitchens: "I'm still thinking of it as this morning's result. I hope it doesn't show." Unfortunately for Christopher, it did. See screencap.
But whatever price Hitchens was paying for indulgences of the night before did nothing to blunt his acerbic wit. The quondam Englishman turned naturalized American offered acid observations about both Dem contenders. Hillary was first in his sights. He described as "slightly sinister" her listing during last night's victory speech of Florida and Michigan among her primary wins, since by DNC rules those contests counted for nothing. By his lights, her inclusion of the two states portends nasty arm-twisting to come.
Then there was this: "Anyone who like me when they think about the Clintons thinks about zombies, thinks about the undead, thinks about stakes through the heart, silver bullets and so on, has just received confirmation. It's as bad as we thought it was going to be."
In a time where we have movies and television shows which routinely ridicule Christianity, atheism, Judaism, and more, why is it that we don't see similar attempts at parodying or debunking Islam? Christopher Hitchens:
Before me is a recent report that a student at Pace University in New York City has been arrested for a hate crime in consequence of an alleged dumping of the Quran. Nothing repels me more than the burning or desecration of books, and if, for example, this was a volume from a public or university library, I would hope that its mistreatment would constitute a misdemeanor at the very least. But if I choose to spit on a copy of the writings of Ayn Rand or Karl Marx or James Joyce, that is entirely my business. When I check into a hotel room and send my free and unsolicited copy of the Gideon Bible or the Book of Mormon spinning out of the window, I infringe no law, except perhaps the one concerning litter. Why do we not make this distinction in the case of the Quran? We do so simply out of fear, and because the fanatical believers in that particular holy book have proved time and again that they mean business when it comes to intimidation.
A battle of wits between two men named Christopher took place in Berkeley, California, on May 24. Unfortunately, one contestant came embarrassingly unequipped, so much so that by the end, he chose to not even respond.
Break out the cashews and your favorite libation, sports fans, because this debate between former New York Times Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges, and the never at a loss for words Christopher Hitchens was one for the ages.
The following video is an edited compilation of key moments as prepared by our friend at Zombietime (h/t Allah). What follows is ZT’s transcript of this video. However, the reader is highly encouraged to view all of the videos of this event created for your viewing pleasure: