Wednesday, December 21, 2011


So, the blessed Christopher Hitchens has moved on to a fine and private place.  I never met him, though I know quite a few people who did.  They’re divided between those who think he was the most amusing company anyone could ever have, and those who were introduced to him half a dozen times and on each occasion he behaved as though he’d never met them before. 

I suspect that like all truly heroic (or do I mean tragi-comic) drinkers, Hitchens wasn’t really all that interested in food.  He offered the advice that you should try to eat something at every meal, a funny line to be sure, but one that only a really serious drinker was likely to come up with.

Hitchens also writes, “Alcohol makes other people less tedious.”  Now, only a fool would challenge Hitchens on the subject of alcohol, but my own experience is that alcohol makes tedious people far more tedious (if they’re the ones drinking it) and makes them utterly intolerable if you’re the one drinking it.

Hitchens also said that the only worthwhile miracle in the New Testament is the turning of water into wine.  That’s undoubtedly a good miracle but I can’t help thinking that the business with the loaves and the fishes wasn’t too shabby either.  Of course there is always the possibility that the feeding of the five thousand was actually metaphorical, about satisfying a spiritual rather than a physical hunger: sometimes the Bible can be quite hard work for those who insist on a literal interpretation.

It is surely the most meaningless or ironies that Christopher Hitchens died just a few days before North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.  As you may have read elsewhere in this blog Christopher Hitchens once described North Korea as resembling a Christian heaven; a place without irony, art or privacy, with no respect for individuals, and where you're required to offer perpetual thanks to the great leader.

I’m not any more persuaded by the notion of a Christian heaven than Hitchens was, but if by any case we’re both wrong, I think we can safely say that neither he nor Kim Jong Il will be there.

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