Friday, December 16, 2011

RIP Hitchens

I've lost a teacher today. I'm sure lots and lots of people feel the same way. I never fully accepted all of Christopher Hitchens' viewpoints (I've probably seen every single one of his YouTube videos and read tons of his Vanity Fair pieces, so I have some idea of his positions on just about everything).

I believe there is a God. Or, to put it better, I don't believe there cannot be a God, as he did right up to the end. I think his intolerance of religion is just as weird as I find the intolerance of very religious people towards secularism. His stance on Iraq, blind as it was to the subtleties on the ground, has always mystified me. Etc. etc.

But I don't think anyone can fully accept every single stance of another person. We're all too complex. And Hitchens was way more complex than most people. Not that I ever met him, obviously. But all you had to do was listen to him for three minutes to realize the staggering breadth of his knowledge. He'd read everything, and could recite it off the top of his head. Or so it seemed.

I don't want to make this long, since there are people who actually knew him who are grieving right now, and I have no place in that process. But I just wanted to say that I loved him as dearly as anyone can love someone they've never met, as much as one can love a Dickens or a Lucas or a Hafez. He was a genius, and I'm much smarter and I care about the truth that much more passionately for having read him.

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