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Christopher Hitchens taken by cancer





Ankhanu
Well known author, columnist and outspoken atheist Christopher Hitchens has died of cancer. Diagnosed with esophageal cancer early last year, his fight has come to an end.

Well known for his fiery tenacity and wit, Hitchens was highly influencial, willing to take risks to get to a point. Known in recent years for his stong anti-theist views (he was one of the "four horsemen", wrote the book God is not Great, participated in many debates, etc.) and stances on social moral issues and American foreign policy (he voluntarily underwent waterboarding to expose it as torture, amongst other research), he displayed an intense will and intelligence. While I certainly didn't agree with everything he's said or done over the years, I did admire his strengths. His loss will be felt.

Lengthy obituary via the New Yorker.

Memorial comic from SMBC:
Ankhanu
Here's a little quote from Zach Weiner (author of the above comic) on Hitchens' contributions
Zach Weiner wrote:
May I add some imploring?

Almost all the major prominent atheists are scientists. You all know I have no beef with scientists, but I want to try to convince you that Hitchens was valuable because he was unafraid of and undisdainful of the humanities.

When you are speaking, it's not enough that you be right. You have to be eloquent, logical, practiced, and polished. The reason Christopher Hitchens stood out among atheist speakers (even good ones like Dawkins or Tyson) wasn't just his command of facts - it was his strength in philosophy and literature and poetry. Like Sagan, he had a deep knowledge of the great thinkers and writers of history. He could quote offhand from Spinoza, Hegel, Kipling, Freud, and probably 100 others.

Friends, it's not enough to be right. That's the easy part. We need to appreciate rhetoric, argumentation, and yes, beauty in the way Christopher Hitchens did.

Many of you may intend to honor the man by going out to purchase a book of his at, to use his recurring joke, "fine bookstores everywhere." I applaud that. But, when you go to the bookstore or browse on Amazon, consider also picking up a book Mr. Hitchens would have wanted you to read. Consider the philosophy of Spinoza or the poetry of James Fenton, or a good book on Jefferson or Franklin. We can't replace the great man, but we can make sure we follow in his deep footsteps.

I don't lightly call myself a fan of other people. In fact, I always refer to the people who like my work as "readers" since I find the word "fan" to be overly deferential. But I have long considered myself a fan of Christopher Hitchens.

Here's to the fact that his books and recorded oratory will connect us to his lifetime for as long as we live.

http://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/newng/mrweiner_smbc_pays_tribute_to_hitch/c38jg6h
Ankhanu
Cyanide & Happiness tribute
deanhills
I'm sorry about his passing. He most definitely set an example to others with regard to making the most of the life that was given to him. He had lots of reasons to give up, but he fought on regardless. Great example to others, not to mention a brilliant scientist.
foumy6
yes a sad day indeed he was a great journalist. He knew how to make a proper argument and defended his views very well.
Ankhanu
He was a journalist, he was not educated in the sciences, but in humanities.
deanhills
Oh no, I got him mixed up with Stephen Hawking. Apologies. Christopher Hitchens was indeed a great journalist. Amazingly gifted with words. He spoke really well using simple language that everyone could understand. Great communicator. Well travelled and very knowledgeable about affairs of the Middle East. I knew he had cancer, but thought he had been winning his battle with it. Sorry to hear he passed away.
Ankhanu
Satirical homage from David Willis via Shortpacked
brandon02852
Crap.

I love the stuff this guy writes...especially "god is not great: how religion poisons everything".

I learned all about his stuff in my college writing class and had to study his work for a final paper.

Amazing author and person.


Will be missed.
deanhills
brandon02852 wrote:
Crap.
Not sure what you mean by that. The person who started this thread actually has an admiration for Hitchens' works as well, so maybe you just misunderstood his posts.
Ankhanu
deanhills wrote:
brandon02852 wrote:
Crap.
Not sure what you mean by that. The person who started this thread actually has an admiration for Hitchens' works as well, so maybe you just misunderstood his posts.

"Crap", as in a gentler form of "$#!t", a cruder form of "oh no!" It's an exceptionally common means of expressing displeasure and/or surprise. For example:
deanhills
*sigh* Ankhanu .... looks as though you're taking my question literally again. I was trying to explain to brandon02852 that your strange assortment of cartoons on Hitchens' passing was not really indicative of how you felt about the guy. To be truthful, they're not entirely descriptive of Hitchens at all. The guy had been much larger than that, for me any way.

While I was clicking around TV tonight out of the blue on BBC arrived at this YouTube interview with Hitchens that I'd seen before. I remember I had thought at the time, and then was thinking it again tonight, that if ever something like that happened to me, I'd hope for at least an ounce of his strength of character, purpose and courage he showed during that interview.

Hello_World
Sad to hear about the passing of a man who challenged people.

Some quotes from Hitchens.

Quote:
“That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”


Quote:
“[E]xceptional claims demand exceptional evidence.”


Quote:
“Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it.”


Quote:
“The governor of Texas, who, when asked if the Bible should also be taught in Spanish, replied that 'if English was good enough for Jesus, then it's good enough for me.”


Quote:
“The Bible may, indeed does, contain a warrant for trafficking in humans, for ethnic cleansing, for slavery, for bride-price, and for indiscriminate massacre, but we are not bound by any of it because it was put together by crude, uncultured human mammals.”


Quote:
“To terrify children with the image of hell, to consider women an inferior creation—is that good for the world?”


Quote:
“Many religions now come before us with ingratiating smirks and outspread hands, like an unctuous merchant in a bazaar. They offer consolation and solidarity and uplift, competing as they do in a marketplace. But we have a right to remember how barbarically they behaved when they were strong and were making an offer that people could not refuse.”


It appears that commentators have taken to calling him the 'mighty' Christopher Hitchens. Or maybe that is just the channel I watch.
tingkagol
Ankhanu wrote:
deanhills wrote:
brandon02852 wrote:
Crap.
Not sure what you mean by that. The person who started this thread actually has an admiration for Hitchens' works as well, so maybe you just misunderstood his posts.

"Crap", as in a gentler form of "$#!t", a cruder form of "oh no!" It's an exceptionally common means of expressing displeasure and/or surprise.

Exactly what I was thinking.



Anyway, back on topic: I knew he was one of the more popular outspoken atheists, but I don't really know the guy that much. I heard he supported the war in Iraq, so I don't know. Certainly interested in how he rationalized that.
Ankhanu
deanhills wrote:
*sigh* Ankhanu .... looks as though you're taking my question literally again. I was trying to explain to brandon02852 that your strange assortment of cartoons on Hitchens' passing was not really indicative of how you felt about the guy. To be truthful, they're not entirely descriptive of Hitchens at all. The guy had been much larger than that, for me any way.

The cartoons are indicative of how their authors viewed him, and of his impact on society as a whole. Personally I enjoy that people have paid tribute through humor.

deanhills wrote:
While I was clicking around TV tonight out of the blue on BBC arrived at this YouTube interview with Hitchens that I'd seen before. I remember I had thought at the time, and then was thinking it again tonight, that if ever something like that happened to me, I'd hope for at least an ounce of his strength of character, purpose and courage he showed during that.

For all his faults, "weak" was certainly not one of them. Fascinating man, really.

Hello_World wrote:
It appears that commentators have taken to calling him the 'mighty' Christopher Hitchens. Or maybe that is just the channel I watch.

Mighty is apt. He was a force of will to be reckoned with, for good or ill.
loremar
That's a nice video link Dean. I'm impressed on Hitchen's poise despite what he is going through. What he said is right on:

@2:10 "...A live thing inside you. A malignant alien that can't outlive you but it does have a sort of a purpose in life which is to kill you and die. It's like an obscene parody of the idea of being pregnant."

Maybe people should think twice before they smoke and drink?
deanhills
loremar wrote:
That's a nice video link Dean. I'm impressed on Hitchen's poise despite what he is going through. What he said is right on:

@2:10 "...A live thing inside you. A malignant alien that can't outlive you but it does have a sort of a purpose in life which is to kill you and die. It's like an obscene parody of the idea of being pregnant."

Maybe people should think twice before they smoke and drink?
I agree with you. At the time when I was viewing that YouTube show, I was on a binge of viewing his interviews, one of those all nighters of mine. I became a complete Hitchens fan. He has an AMAZING way with words, they all seem to come out perfectly. He has the gift of being able to say perfectly what he means, I can listen for hours and hours to him speaking. Yet it never felt like hours and hours. Pity he had to leave before his time and you're probably right. It must have been the smoking and drinking, but who knows, maybe that provided some of the inspiration for honing his gift.
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