Friday, December 16, 2011

GOODBYE HITCH---WIT, CHARMER AND TROUBLEMAKER

   I was very sad to wake up to the news that Christopher Hitchens, that wit, charmer and troublemaker who once declared that the four most overrated things in life are champagne, lobster, anal sex and picnics,  had lost his battle with esophageal cancer and has died at the age of 62.
The last time I met him was at a party thrown by Arianna Huffington before his cancer had been diagnosed where, whisky glass in hand and leaning on the bar, he was his usual witty, congenial and entertaining self. 
   Tributes of course, are pouring in from all quarters, even from those who were strongly opposed to his views on politics, religion and virtually everything else.
   So now is a good time to recall some of his more memorable epigrams and bon mots:


"I became a journalist partly so that I wouldn't ever have to rely on the press for my information." – Hitch-22, 2010

"What is your idea of earthly happiness? To be vindicated in my own lifetime." – Hitch-22

"Cheap booze is a false economy." – Hitch-22

"Where would you like to live? In a state of conflict or a conflicted state?" – Hitch-22


"[George W Bush] is lucky to be governor of Texas. He is unusually incurious, abnormally unintelligent, amazingly inarticulate, fantastically uncultured, extraordinarily uneducated, and apparently quite proud of all these things."--Hardball with Chris Matthews

"The noble title of 'dissident' must be earned rather than claimed; it connotes sacrifice and risk rather than mere disagreement …"

"[Mother Teresa] was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction." 

"The search for nirvana, like the search for utopia or the end of history or the classless society, is ultimately a futile and dangerous one. It involves, if it does not necessitate, the sleep of reason. There is no escape from anxiety and struggle."


"The Bible may, indeed does, contain a warrant for trafficking in humans, for ethnic cleansing, for slavery, for bride-price, and for indiscriminate massacre, but we are not bound by any of it because it was put together by crude, uncultured human mammals." – God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, 2007

"My own view is that this planet is used as a penal colony, lunatic asylum and dumping ground by a superior civilisation, to get rid of the undesirable and unfit. I can't prove it, but you can't disprove it either." – God Is Not Great

"The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more." – The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Non-Believer, 2007
 
Hitch, we will miss you.

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