Initially the title of the video was “RIP Christopher Hitchens” but then I thought better of it. He would have mocked that, I’m sure. RIP. “Rest In Peace.”
Only he’s not “resting” is he? He’s just dead. Dead and gone.
I suppose one could go so far as to describe him as being “in peace” in that he no longer suffers from the horrific symptoms his particular brand of cancer afforded him on a daily basis. But it does seem somewhat trite. And I doubt Christopher would have appreciated that. I find the thing I’m thinking about the most was what his last few moments or hours were like. Aside from the pain and discomfort of course. I’m sure a bunch of his enemies will make the false claim that in the end he repented or some other such nonsense. I know that was actually one of Christopher’s biggest fears. Not that he would suddenly find God, or be led by fear down that dark and empty hallway, but rather that he wouldn’t be “in his right mind” is how I believe he put it. I guess if I had one wish it would be that he was able to face his death in the same way he faced his life. Staring it straight in the face, with cigarette and scotch in hand, and daring it to try and impress him.
I was in his presence only once. He and fellow free thinker and Horseman Sam Harris were debating a couple of Rabbi’s who’s names barely deserve mentioning in the same font. Even then, after having suffered his illness for months, he was still as sharp as a tack and quite literally stole the show. Afterwards I was lucky enough to attend the little get together of those who had purchased “the good seats” and was less than surprised when Christopher was mobbed by fans. As a result I wasn’t able to get near enough to speak to him and tell him what he has meant to me over the last couple of years, though to be honest I’m not even sure I would have wanted to. Because I’m sure if I had managed that encounter, then now, as I sit here mourning his loss, I would probably be kicking myself all over again at the inane utterance I would have undoubtedly spat in his direction. So I’m glad that in the end both he, and I, were saved that moment in time.
The world is a slightly more banal place now that Christopher has passed from it. I don’t see anyone filling his shoes anytime soon with regards to atheism and the fight against dogma either. There are others who are giants in the field I suppose, but even they could only smile and look up when Hitch unleashed his reasonable and impenetrable logic on the lesser minds of his opponents.
I’ll miss him. That’s the long and short of it. I’ll miss the excitement I’d feel when a new video or debate was posted online or a new article or update was delivered to my inbox. But mostly, I guess, I’ll miss the idea of him. The idea that somewhere out there was a man of unsurpassed polemic ability who was likely penning some new and vicious assault on the indignities suffered on the world by that most ancient and unyielding of all our species’ enemies. Faith.
So fuck faith.
And then raise a glass of whatever you’ve got to the memory of Christopher Eric Hitchens.
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