What would Christopher Hitchens have made of it all?……
Regardless of political view or one’s own personal opinion of Hitchens, I would suggest that what he and Gore Vidal before him, gave, was a voice, a two-fingered salute to the fence-sitters. He questioned everything and anything and I am left wondering who, if anyone, will take up the mantle in this new age we find ourselves in?
What then, I wonder, would Hitchens have made of 2016? By any accounts a remarkable year in which we have seen great political shifts on both sides of the Atlantic with stormy waters a given for 2017 and beyond. He would surely have been critical of Obama’s impotence on Syria and the wider Middle East, as damming of Hilary Clinton’s campaign trail as he was in 2008 and probably less surprised by Trump’s victory than most of us. Brexit? He was no fan of Cameron and despite his old Trotskyist beliefs I wonder if he would have been an enthusiastic admirer of Corbyn?
As much as I wish he were still around for his literary criticisms I also miss that strength of character to tell it like it is on television. In an era when the public have had a gutful of political soundbites, polls and bickering over legislation there is as great a need for a Hitchens type as there ever was. We need to recapture the ground upon which sensible, intelligent, non-hysterical debate was founded and flourished before surrendering in the fight for the liberal middle ground.
Above all we have lost another great character. This new century is chronically short of them, everything is sterile, checked and cross-checked and neatly packaged. Every tie carefully selected, every sentence, team or movement all encompassing for fear of excluding the most minor of minorities. Where are the great debater’s? the next Buckley wanting to chin a future Chomsky or Vidal? My guess is that there won’t be and all we will be left with is the hope those giant servers for YouTube never let us down.
Rest in Peace Christopher Hitchens.
Other related articles:
A review of Christopher Hitchens ‘And Yet’
Christopher Hitchens ‘Unacknowledged Legislation’
Christopher Hitchens ‘Prepared For the Worst’
Christopher Hitchens ‘For the Sake of Argument’