Sunday, February 05, 2006

The best writer I despise

Christopher Hitchens is the best writer that I despise. He is able to make a lucid argument while exposing his own inner bigotry. He is pompous, asinine, despicable, in general, a prick, and also, brilliant. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that he must be a very unhappy person—because his prose always sounds bitter. But I wander off topic.

As is typical, Hitchens wrote a relevant and interesting piece on the “cartoon jihad”.

He captures almost perfectly the Islamist attitude towards Western values:
But if [a Muslim] claims the right to make me abstain as well, he offers the clearest possible warning and proof of an aggressive intent. This current uneasy coexistence is only an interlude, he seems to say. For the moment, all I can do is claim to possess absolute truth and demand absolute immunity from criticism. But in the future, you will do what I say and you will do it on pain of death.
And he very clearly explains another element of the idiocy of the State Department’s response (as well as Clinton and many other observers):
[A]nother reason for condemning the idiots at Foggy Bottom is their assumption, dangerous in many ways, that the first lynch mob on the scene is actually the genuine voice of the people. There’s an insult to Islam, if you like.
But of course, no piece is complete without some pompous posturing whereby Hitchens demonstrates how much he hates all those fetishistic religions, and suggests a kind of equivalence between “suicide-murders” and the pope:
It is revolting to me to breathe the same air as wafts from the exhalations of the madrasahs, or the reeking fumes of the suicide-murderers, or the sermons of Billy Graham and Joseph Ratzinger.
I wish I understood where this hatred of religion comes from. It seems so quirky, so pronounced, so irrational, so visceral. But I cannot understand Hitchens’ revulsion at sharing human nature with religious people anymore than I can understand how Islamist terrorists dehumanize their victims. At least I can give credit to Hitchens for not “wreaking random violence on the nearest church” or erupting into “babyish rumor-fueled tantrums”; instead, he writes persnickety columns. And good for him.

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