Purpose one: writing a travelogue to describe my various trips.

Purpose two: muse.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Letter to an Old Contrarian

Dear Mr. Hitchens:

I was sad to hear of your death December 15, 2011.  I have no doubt many pieces have been, and will be, written in remembrance.  There is little I can say to add or subtract from these, yet, my admiration for you is such that I must try.

There are several dimensions to this admiration.  I will mention two of them, the first being the courage of your convictions, and the intellectual honesty to go where these convictions logically led you.  You wrote scathing obloquies attacking sacred cows, with no regard how these might be received by your edidtors, your fan base, or the public at large. 

Other writers have noted how this trait made you continually defend your position on Iraq.  I find that curious; lots of reasonable people disagreed about that war.  I have been more impressed with your dissection of the Mother Theresa myth.  There was a time when I thought criticising Mother Theresa in the 20th century would have been like trying to criticise Hildegard in the 12th.  Yet, your hostility to religion compelled you to pull this off. 

The other aspect I want to mention is our shared contempt for the bullies of humanity: the fascists, tyrants, dictators, intimidators, thugs, puritans, all the various oppressors in their various guises.  They make our lives miserable and you ceaselessly, resolutely, pointed that out.  For this reason alone, your passing is a loss to us.

I know according to your own beliefs, there is nothing left of you to receive any part of this letter or my thoughts.  Nevertheless, I offer my gratitude for what you left, in impressions and in print. 

In memoriam.

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