The news of the passing last night of Christopher Hitchens came with its own cloud of sadness. Knowing full well how these situations usually end, as they have so often in the past, it still came as a shock when word came of the passing of one of the all-too-few eloquent and articulate observers of our life and times.
Hitchens detractors and critics are legion - they run the political gamut. He was loved and hated, often by the same people. The thing was, Hitchens had the gift and ability to articulate in ways that, even if you passionately disagreed, you found yourself listening to and understanding. Maybe not agreeing, probably not changing minds, but understanding.
Sadly, and this is an indictment of our society and its failure at civil discourse, there are too few Hitchens' around to pick up the slack. The playing field of intelligent social commentary has shrunk immeasurably over the years. Christopher Hitchens presence, particularly with mainstream media, was more of an anomaly than a common occurrence, and for that we are the poorer.
During his tour promoting Hitch-22, he was interviewed by Philip Adams of the Late Night Live program from ABC National Radio in Australia, shortly before he was diagnosed with the Cancer that eventually took his life. I originally ran it as part of my World Week posts for the week of May 27th, 2010. I thought I would re-post it as a way of tribute to the man and his gift.
He'll be missed.