On the Death of Christopher Hitchens

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By Dave Coulter

Rough Edges

The writer Christopher Hitchens died the other day.   I think a writer’s impact can really be judged by the number of obituaries that appear on his or her death.  Vonnegut certainly had his share.  So did Studs Terkel,  but his memorials may have been more of a Chicago-based phenomenon.  I’m not sure if his death was noted from London to Butte, Montana the way that Hitchens’ seems to have been.

I admit that I was a little late to reading any of his essays.  I recall seeing his columns in The Nation when I was a more avid reader of that, but his writing seemed a little dry to me. Obviously he was a tremendously gifted writer, and his star certainly seemed to rise in the past several years.  I remember my late brother would mention Hitchens on occasion during one of our many political discussions.  I guess that caused me to revisit his writing, which lately I had found a little more resonance with. 

Lately, I’d found his viewpoints on religion more engaging than his political writings.  I enjoyed the logic he applied to these debates - such as this one.  These would get me thinking more so than articles on endless wars and the empires that foster them.  Hitchens was an unapologetic atheist, and if there is one potential benefit from his death it will be the tantalizing possibility that Vanity Fair will soon run his exclusive interview with God.  

Or not.   

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