Getting Straight on Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens left this mortal coil late last week before he could say goodbye to Vaclav Havel and Kim Jong Il. I was disturbed by all the eulogies that praised him effusively for having nought but wit, a profuse pen, and a big personality that worked well on cable news. So here are two essays that set the record straight on this propped-up imperialist apologist for the biggest mistake of the previous decade.

Glenn Greenwald compares his canonization with that of Ronald Reagan’s. Greenwald wrote a similar essay when Tim Russert died as a journalist celebrated for softballing any and all propaganda the White House dished out.

Katha Pollitt talks about his drinking and sexism.

Stories of Hitchens’ drinking bouts sometimes landed on the gossip pages and other anecdotes occasionally reached my ears. In the 2000s, he had written enough for me to disagree with him on most points so I accepted his essential schtick — the smart, drunk, party guy from the left who flipped out after 9/11 — but I was surprised anyone of the left or libertarian bent took him seriously anymore, especially his pity party at Vanity Fair. As Pollitt says, he will be missed because he was larger than life. After that, it’s the booze talking.

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