In a media environment dominated by bootlickers, sycophants and hacks, few writers escape the constricting demands of political ideology and the search for a sizable payday. One such such escapee was Christopher Hitchens, who died this week of esophageal cancer. Chalk up a victory for the forces of humorless power and comfortable (though misleading) common sense.
Whether attacking God and Mother Teresa or defending the US invasion of Iraq, Hitchens had a gift for roasting sacred cows, eventually irritating just about every conceivable ally. But his intense, hyper-literate style and relentless focus on the subject at hand left his critics spinning in circles again and again.
Testimonies for the controversial reporter and essayist are flooding the web. Here are a few of the more interesting:
- Ian McEwan commemorates “the consummate writer, the brilliant friend.”
- Rabbi Shmuley Boteach remembers a “worthy adversary.”
- Jonathan Karp, the publisher of Hitchens’ God Is Not Great, lists 10 things he admired about him.
- Simon Jenkins of The Guardian salutes a “fearless master-stylist and a pain in the neck.”
- And Julian Barnes remembers an “excruciating conversation.”