Thursday, July 01, 2010

Chris Hitchens in the Battle of His Life

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.


  1. It is not Christian at all to rejoice in the pain of another. It is difficult not to rejoice in the pain of someone you dislike, but it is not Christian!

    Sometimes, I am not a very good Christian, although my rejoicing is far closer to home than Hitchens. He is not part of my world. I hate for almost anyone to suffer like that.

  2. I don't always agree with Hitchens (I'm a believer)but I admire his "take no prisoners" approach to debate and his willingness to take the best shot his critics can offer. He has a brilliant mind and he makes me think, something those I more closely agree with often fail to make me do. His approach is entertaining enough to keep me listening and reading.

    The comments I've seen are so disgusting that they tend to prove his point about his opposition...sadly.

  3. I have been thinking of Christopher Hitchens a lot lately, wondering how he is doing now, months since his diagnosis, with this calamitous situation.
    I am just greatly saddened by the news of anyone contracting cancer, but the news of Mr. Hitchens hit me squarely, because I have always admired his intellectual bravado -- had just finished reading his new memoir when I heard the news.
    Thank you for this blog-posting Sam... perhaps you and I both should do some research regarding an update on Mr. Hitchens' progress.

  4. I think you're right, Cip. Frankly, I've been putting it off because it breaks my heart to know that a man of this intellect and spirit may be snatched from us soon. I suspect that we will not find good news, but it is time for an update.

  5. Cip, here's a link to a CNN interview done on August 6. He's still feisty and honest.