Provoking Hitchens

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Hello All!

I’m publishing this blog to discuss Christopher Hitchens and his ideas.  It will be partly biographical, but more importantly, it will be about ideas that were important to Hitchens, and it will use current events to highlight these ideas.  Those of us who follow Christopher’s work, acutely feel his absence when topics he cared about (freedom of speech, separation of church and state, and free thinking, to name a few) are highlighted in the media.

I’ve spent much of this last year on a personal journey to learn more about Christopher, whom I never met.  I’ve been meeting people in his circle, who have helped me better understand him.   I will post about my experiences, and welcome any ‘leads’ or introductions to people who can help with this.  Thanks to those of you that have so far been kind enough to help me meet some of these individuals.

I have exciting news.  I am in the process of organizing a Christopher Hitchens festival in New York City (more about that in future postings) and I’d like to hear the opinions of the community as I continue to shape the outline and themes.  So far the reception to the idea has been fantastic – I found a great partner to work with and I am excited about seeing the vision realized.

As the name of this blog implies, it (and the festival) will embrace the tone and spirit of Christopher – provocative and feisty at times.  Hitch was not known to stray clear of contentious topics or confrontational engagements (understatement!).  The festival will feature debates, and participants will be encouraged to shake it up and to not hold back – the way Hitchens would want it to be.

The idea for the festival came after I hosted a tribute event when Hitch passed.  It was a small gathering of friends and acquaintances who met in the West Village of New York City.  We selected three essays from “Arguably”, and debated them over glasses of Johnnie Walker Black (Hitch called it “Mr. Walker’s amber restorative”). We placed a hard copy of the book on the table so we would have his intimidating glance looking down on us, keeping the discussion on point.

A special mention is due to filmmaker Hector Carosso, for providing the space for that meeting, and for coming up with the name of this blog (Thanks Hector!)

I hope this blog inspires interest in, and discussion of Christopher and his work, and I look forward to meeting the community of fans, free thinkers, and also, those who disagreed with him.

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