Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christopher Hitchens

I was saddened to hear that Christopher Hitchens has passed away after a long bout with cancer. I've mentioned him a couple of times in this blog as I have attended a couple of his speeches and own one of his books. I even spoke with him briefly at a conference. He had a caustic wit and wasn't afraid to speak his mind but it is clear from his speeches and writings that he was a very intelligent man and when he spoke on a topic it was obvious he had researched it. His book and speeches attacking Mother Teresa are legendary. He was even called to the Vatican to present the arguments for why Mother Teresa should not be canonized, something that in the past would have been done internally by the advocatus diaboli (until Pope John Paul II abolished that office).

First impressions: at a conference in Las Vegas (The Amazing Meeting 3) as he was being introduced for his speech the speaker noticed that he was smoking onstage and, slightly surprised, he said, “. . . and clearly we’re not in California anymore.”, at which point Hitchens grabbed the mic and said, “This is Vegas, baby -- I'll do whatever the *@&%# I want!”. I knew right then that this was going to be a good speech, and it was.

We've lost a great intellectual and excellent writer.

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