I have admired Chris Hitchens from afar for a long time. Few authors give a better interview or handle their detractors more effectively than Chris, and I have had great fun watching him drive his critics to distraction. The man simply does not care what you think about him; he has something to say and you are welcome to take it or leave it. That's not his problem. Criticism just seems to roll off his back and he continues to slash away in his almost stereotypical British style. He seemed invulnerable to me - someone who would be shaking things up for many years to come.
And now Chris Hitchens is in a battle for his life. Perhaps his very lifestyle has finally caught up with him, because now he is suffering from cancer of the esophagus, a cancer that can be caused by excessive drinking or smoking, both of which Chris has been guilty of for many years. Sadly, the odds are stacked heavily against him, but if anyone can beat the odds it is Chris Hitchens.
Chris is the man Christians love to hate; he is an avowed atheist and has written about it effectively, and often. He is the man liberals love to hate because he has become an active conservative voice and he consistently destroys the liberal viewpoint in open debate. And if the comments attached to the news articles about Hitchens I have been reading on the web for the past day are any indication, now some liberals and conservative Christians are taking delight in the man's illness.
It takes something like this to remind me how little progress we, as human beings, have made in the last 2000 years. I am too disgusted with the comments to quote them here - and that would be pointless, anyway - but I suspect that, if Hitchens does bother to sample them, they will give him the strength he needs to fight his illness even harder than he would have.
You're still the man, Chris. Good luck to you, sir.