Streams

Christopher Hitchens

Friday, June 04, 2010

We talk with Christopher Hitchens about his memoir Hitch-22 and some of his more contrarian ideas.

Event: Christopher Hitchens will be in conversation with Paul Holdengraber
Friday, June 4 at 7 pm
The Main Branch of the New York Public Library
Fifth Avenue, at 42nd Street
For more information, visit the NYPL website.  

Christopher Hitchens will be in conversation with Salman Rushdie
Tuesday, June 8 at 8 pm
1392 Lexington Avenue, at 92nd Street Y
For more information, visit the 92nd Street Y website.

Guests:

Christopher Hitchens

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Comments [25]

Peter Gradilone from New Rochelle

I enjoyed the conversation, however it would have been nice to engage Mr. Hitchens over an open phone line during the course of the interview. I am curious about his ability to support the war in Iraq, where there were no weapons of mass destruction present, with his vilification of John Kennedy's handling of the Cuban Missile Crises, when a genuine nuclear strike threat against the U.S. existed. Additionally, I would have liked getting his response to the religious scholar, Karen Armstrong's recent contention that Mr. Hitchens brand of atheism is "parasitic" in nature. It relies upon a very limited knowledge of theology attaching itself to religious thinking in its most rigid, concrete and fundamental state.

Jun. 06 2010 02:32 PM
C

@ Ed - I don't see where Dawkins comes into this but if you must threadjack at least make a well thought out comment.

Your tone for both gentlemen is revealing if not childish. Both are experts in their respective fields that have both helped to shape and create new ideas in their careers. And yet you feel you have an understanding and background of both fields so profound that you can dismiss them as foolish and arrogant?

It seems to be me you shouldn't throw 'arrogant' around, unless you are also proud of being a hypocrite.

Jun. 05 2010 12:51 PM
Ed from Larchmont

And this premise, that there is no revealed truth, is a mistaken one. But he seems so emotionally wounded that he wouldn't want truth or happiness.

Jun. 04 2010 09:22 PM
Ed from Larchmont

But wasn't he the one who petitioned the Vatican in protest against the beatification of Mother Teresa? Well, if you're going to make a mistake, you might as well make a big one.

Jun. 04 2010 09:20 PM
Ed from Larchmont

One wants to kick Mr. Dawkins because he is so arrogant. But with Mr. Hitchens' background, one can understand his ideas. To him whom little is given, less will be expected.

Jun. 04 2010 09:20 PM
Ed from Larchmont

It's interesting the difference between Mr. Dawkins and Mr. Hitchens. Mr. Dawkins takes it as his premise that evolution is responsible for everything. And so he argues for atheism. Mr. Hitchens works from a totally different angle, it seems. His premise is that there is no revealed truth. Socrates did not have access to revealed truth, had reason alone, and concluded that we weren't sure of anything. Skepticism. And this is Mr. Hitchens' position, which makes sense if there were no revealed truth. And so he argues for atheism also

Jun. 04 2010 09:18 PM
Jennifer

Pompous ass bent on setting fire to straw men he sees to his left.

Jun. 04 2010 07:29 PM
Jennifer

Pompous ass bent on setting fire to straw men he sees to his left.

Jun. 04 2010 07:28 PM
amalgam from Manhattan by day, NJ by night

There has been much debate over the past 20 years (especially the last 15 or so) with regards to whether the US is a neo-colonialist. In that capacity, it has become a globalized empire predicated on the dominance of particular economic and cultural forms on one level, competing with local forms. That doesn't mean an old-style empire of the 18-19th Century, with occupying forces, bureaucracy, etc. - although the US does have a variation of that - but one built on prevailing institutions and hegemony, such as Bretton Woods and the Washington Consensus, which may now be falling apart.

Of course we do have a direct colonial past tied to the Spanish-American War (what about Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines?)

Jun. 04 2010 04:01 PM
ABrit from Brooklyn

He may be a Brit, but hopefully not for long - he wants to be an American; now if we can just get rid of his even more tedious brother.....

Jun. 04 2010 01:28 PM
pete

I for sure do not think anything a brit says is invalid, that is illogical on its face plus I like John Lennon...I just think Hitch peddles that curious brand of liquid pig-headed-ness that can only be bottled in England...that same logic that has buoyed every bad idea from the Opium Wars to India.

Jun. 04 2010 01:06 PM
pete from USA

As bad as America can be, we are still a republic and we have never owned a quarter of the earth's surface...do your research bro.

Jun. 04 2010 12:59 PM
Dark Symbolist from NYC

....and so? Therefore any opinion from any Brit is immediately invalid????

Jun. 04 2010 12:54 PM
amalgam from Manhattan by day, NJ by night

The UK is a former imperial power that has maintained the superior attitude and manufactured an economy that services neo-empire in the 21st Century. That's why the UK clings to the US even as the latter's current form of globalized empire weighs down American progress. That is also why the UK deigns to provide the US with its hoary experience as empire's mentor par excellence.

Jun. 04 2010 12:44 PM
kbinps from park slope

Boy is he pompous. He does have that cleverness that perhaps learned in the Oxbridge Debating Society where he can support any argument no matter how wrongheaded by a glib turn of a phrase. I saw him at Penn Station and it struck me that he has become the blowsy overfed little tory that he probably disdained in college.

Jun. 04 2010 12:41 PM
a g from n j

i agree with c. h. ,cuba is not socialist disneyland. i am not for the embargo. i am not for republicans. they should have self determination. batista was a proxy of northamerican hegemonic insanity. we can never know where the cuban revolution may have gone. im not saying it is the worst place,but police state it is. maybe a genteel police state[what a notion]
i wish discussions around cuba were more open and honest. free of political volleyball. as far as health care,i think people strive to a little more than healthy lab rats as a model of being in society. though i'll agree,we in the states could learn something from certain aspects of the cuban system,not all.

Jun. 04 2010 12:39 PM
pete

Uh-oh leonard you made him cranky. wah wah no one as smart as me now I will a patronizing baby

Jun. 04 2010 12:37 PM
pete from brooklyn

It astounds me how the citizens of the world's largest empire, the UK, can still appoint themselves as the rightful holders of truth on every subject under the sun; Hitchens falls easily within these ranks.

I don't care how socialist he is or was, or how many ghettos or deprivations this man has supposedly endured, how many green flags he has flown against his own, he is still an imperialist, intellectually speaking, on par with Kipling and Cromwell.

Jun. 04 2010 12:25 PM

strangely, in the book he interrupts the narrative of his grief to discuss the then-contemporary political situation on Greece. the book is rife with such strange juxtapositions.
MW

http://www.michaelwashburn.org

Jun. 04 2010 12:20 PM
Ed H. from Larchmont

Indeed a very tragic and sad up-bringing.

Jun. 04 2010 12:17 PM
Ed H. from Larchmont

Ouch. Insults Anglican priests, for sure.

Jun. 04 2010 12:16 PM
Ed H. from Larchmont

We believe in revealed truth, it doesn't mean we don't need any other book.

Jun. 04 2010 12:08 PM
anonyme

Whenever I hear him grating on my nerves I remember he's proud of his drinking problem need I say more?

Jun. 04 2010 12:08 PM
ny45 from ny

I don't know this guy makes me want to listen to nails scratching on a blackboard as a mellifluous alternative to his jaded Brit act

Jun. 04 2010 11:19 AM
a g from nj

i ask this question with the hope of putting politics aside,if possible. do you mr hitchens ever think about the contrarian impusle[well thought or not] as a tool of enagement to be used judiciously and with great restraint? i think you do[even though i greatly disagree with many of your political notions.] in this world of sports talk ethos,where talking head contrarianism is almost a given,i fear that the initiative to seek whatever degree of "truth" is in the opposing side is almost always mocked. ironically,we have false dualities such as the basic humanity of a people,as opposed to the collective humanity of all. and i am not talking about "why don't we just love each other" pie in the sky either. not using excessive inappropriate force,does not mean not doing anything. not having results with diplomacy,does not mean not using strategic force when necessary.

Jun. 04 2010 11:13 AM

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