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Christopher Hitchens dies: what he believed

December 16, 2011

The obituaries for Christopher Hitchens are being written and published now just after he died.  I don’t know about you, but the obituaries that give the disceased their own voice and that connect those who’ve passed away with their parents and their upbringing seem most important.  For example, here’s a bit from The L.A. Times:

He was born Christopher Eric Hitchens in Portsmouth, England, on April 13, 1949. The elder of two sons, he had a cool relationship with his father, Ernest, a commander in the British Royal Navy, but a warmer one with his mother, Yvonne. She taught him to love books and was determined that he would be the first Hitchens to attend college. “If there is going to be an upper class in this country,” Hitchens overheard her telling his father, “then Christopher is going to be in it.”….

In 1973, when he was 24 and living in London, his mother committed suicide with her lover, a defrocked vicar, during a trip to Greece.

Years later, he discovered one of her secrets: She was Jewish, which made him Jewish. “My initial reaction, apart from pleasure and interest, was the faint but definite feeling that I had somehow known all along,” he wrote in a 1988 essay, “On Not Knowing the Half of It.” But he remained anti-religion and anti-Zionist.

Two of my favorite paragraphs in Hitchen’s own book God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (his own voice and his own words) follows; we get the idea that he strongly believed in human agency and in voice as he told readers outright what they, like him, should believe:

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 18, 2011 2:47 pm

    Here are some eulogies that I found interesting:

    Ross Douthat

    Alan Brill

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