Christopher Hitchens’ command of the English language was such that I’m reluctant to even attempt a tribute, especially on a website that consists primarily of silly lists and dick jokes. After all, if Hitchens was able to read this piece, he’d have a field day mocking my grammatical errors and lack of intellect. But guess what? He’s dead, and unless he was wrong about that whole “there is no god” thing, he can’t read a damn thing. And given the fact that he is now a corpse, it’s also safe to say that he is no longer the amazing writer he once was. So for the first time in my life, I am technically a better writer than Christoper Hitchens! Take that you old scotch-swilling limey!
Now, I bet you’re wondering why I’m being so insensitive about Hitchens’ death, especially given that he hasn’t even been gone for 24 hours. Well, I’m simply proving a point. While everyone, friend and foe alike, lines up to kiss his ass, let’s remember that Christopher Hitchens was never one to pull punches, even in the wake of someone’s death. In fact, he had absolutely no qualms with speaking ill of the dead if he felt they deserved it. So, as a tribute to the late-great author, here are five scathing obituaries written by Christopher Hitchens.
Rest in peace… you filthy trotskyite. You will be missed.
A good rule of thumb when writing an obituary is to avoid words like “stupid” in the title. Also, comparing the recently deceased to a woodland rodent is usually frowned upon, as well. But that didn’t stop Hitch from doing it, and to a former president, no less.
He was as dumb as a stump. He could have had anyone in the world to dinner, any night of the week, but took most of his meals on a White House TV tray. He had no friends, only cronies. His children didn’t like him all that much. He met his second wife—the one that you remember—because she needed to get off a Hollywood blacklist and he was the man to see. Year in and year out in Washington, I could not believe that such a man had even been a poor governor of California in a bad year, let alone that such a smart country would put up with such an obvious phony and loon.
What’s most interesting about this piece is that by the end, Hitchens actually seems to be complimenting Reagan on some of his accomplishments, admitting the successes of his presidency even while deriding the man himself. I’d hate to see how he treats someone he complete disrespects (see Jerry Falwell).
Who in the hell would want to speak ill of Bob Hope? Christopher Hitchens, apparently.
To be paralyzingly, painfully, hopelessly unfunny is not a particular defect or shortcoming in, say, a cable repair man or a Supreme Court justice or a Navy Seal. These jobs can be performed humorlessly with no loss of efficiency or impact. But to be paralyzingly, painfully, hopelessly unfunny is a serious drawback, even lapse, in a comedian. And the late Bob Hope devoted a fantastically successful and well-remunerated lifetime to showing that a truly unfunny man can make it as a comic. There is a laugh here, but it is on us.
Again, as a rule, it’s not a good idea to include the word “fraud” in the title of an obituary, even if the deceased was a fraud. But considering Hitchens uses the term “carcass” in the first line, “fraud” was probably about the nicest thing we could have expected.
…there is no vileness that cannot be freely uttered by a man whose name is prefaced with the word Reverend. Try this: Call a TV station and tell them that you know the Antichrist is already on earth and is an adult Jewish male. See how far you get. Then try the same thing and add that you are the Rev. Jim-Bob Vermin. “Why, Reverend, come right on the show!
Finally, a scathing obituary almost everyone can agree on. However, given Hitchens’ deep contempt for Islamic extremists, it’s surprising that this obituary didn’t rejoice more in Bin Laden’s death. Granted, he had been writing about the danger posed by Jihadists even before September 11th, so by the time Bin Laden was killed, it was almost anticlimactic. But it’s still strange to see more vitriol poured out in an obituary to Bob Hope than in an article about the man behind 9-11.
…he and his fellow psychopaths did succeed in killing thousands in North America and Western Europe, but in the past few years, their main military triumphs have been against such targets as Afghan schoolgirls, Shiite Muslim civilians, and defenseless synagogues in Tunisia and Turkey. Has there ever been a more contemptible leader from behind, or a commander who authorized more blanket death sentences on bystanders?
OK, technically speaking, these quotes aren’t from obituaries, so I apologize. But to make up for that fact, I’m giving you a two for one. Do the math, people. That’s a good deal.
To most, Mother Teresa was a saint. And for millions of people, her title of “saint” is quite literal, or at least it will be once the Catholic Church gets around to making it official. But as you can imagine, Hitchens was never a big fan of the Catholic Church. In fact, I once heard a right-wing pundit quip that Hitch would be just as happy to see a war on the Vatican as he was to see a war on Islamic extremists.
Hyperbole aside, the man did not like organized religion, and as one of Catholicism’s most well known proponents, Mother Teresa was on his hit list. He took particular issue with the fact the she urged the poor to accept their lot in life, and accepted donations to her charity from unscrupulous sources, including the Duvalier dictatorship in Haiti.
In the wake of Mother Teresa’s death, which was only a few days after the death of Princess Diana (who was also not one of his favorite people), Hitchens gave the follwoing quote.
Words to avoid this week, or perhaps any week from now on: ‘idol’ and ‘icon’. These once meant only the show-biz versions of graven-image worship, or the cult of mortal beings. Now they mean the real thing. And spiritual and secular leaderships compete to prostrate themselves. By the way, what have we ‘chosen’ for our idols and icons? A simpering Bambi narcissist and a thieving, fanatical Albanian dwarf. Nice going.