HAPPY BIRTHDAY HITCH!

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Happy Birthday Hitch!

Hitchens was born on April 13, 1949, in Portsmouth, England and he died on December 15, 2011, in Houston, Texas.  He would have been 67 years old today. If you are a drinker, it would be most appropriate to toast him with a glass of Johnnie Walker Black.

New Book: The Faith of Christopher Hitchens

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Tomorrow, April 12th, one day before Christopher’s birthday,marks the release of a new book about the man, “The Faith of Christopher Hitchens: The Restless Soul of the World’s Most Notorious Atheist“. I just saw an interview with the author, Larry Alex Taunton, on Hardball with Chris Matthews. Taunton is an author, columnist, contributor to The Atlantic, and the Executive Director of the Fixed Point Foundation, a non-profit which  is dedicated to the public defense of the Christian faith. He was also a good friend of Hitch and they made two road trips together subsequent to Hitch’s grim diagnosis. In the Matthews interview, Taunton described driving through a national park with Hitch (who was enjoying a glass of Johnnie Walker Black) discussing the bible. The picture above is a screenshot used in the interview. Taunton indicated to Chris Matthews that he thought Christopher was exploring his faith in the time they spent together. I don’t know what he means by that, but I’m looking forward to reading the book.

 

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Something non-political (or I’ll drink to that)

 

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Hitch fans toast the man with glasses of Johnny Walker Black Label. It is well known that he had a large capacity to drink, and to still write brilliantly. Graydon Carter, the publisher of Vanity Fair, wrote in a tribute to Hitch, “I can recall a lunch in 1991, when I was editing The New York Observer, and he and Aimée Bell, his longtime editor, and I got together for a quick bite at a restaurant on Madison, no longer there. Christopher’s copy was due early that afternoon. Pre-lunch canisters of scotch were followed by a couple of glasses of wine during the meal and a similar quantity of post-meal cognac. That was just his intake. After stumbling back to the office, we set him up at a rickety table and with an old Olivetti, and in a symphony of clacking he produced a 1,000-word column of near perfection in under half an hour.”

If you want to read Hitchens’ own words about the consumption of alcohol, see these passages from Hitch 22:

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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.