So the inevitable happened and Christopher Hitchens succumbed to pneumonia yesterday. Vanity Fair, for which he wrote – tirelessly even while cancer ate away at him – announced his death:
“Cancer victimhood contains a permanent temptation to be self-centered and even solipsistic,” Hitchens wrote nearly a year ago in Vanity Fair, but his own final labors were anything but: in the last 12 months, he produced for this magazine a piece on U.S.-Pakistani relations in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death, a portrait of Joan Didion, an essay on the Private Eye retrospective at the Victoria and Albert Museum, a prediction about the future of democracy in Egypt, a meditation on the legacy of progressivism in Wisconsin, and a series of frank, graceful, and exquisitely written essays in which he chronicled the physical and spiritual effects of his disease. At the end, Hitchens was more engaged, relentless, hilarious, observant, and intelligent than just about everyone else—just as he had been for the last four decades.
For everyone who is not familiar with his ways, I recommend watching this fine video:
It’s sad to see, as we’re constantly moving towards an age of un-enlightenment, an eloquent, unrelenting and witty voice like Hitchens’ silenced forever. RIP Christopher Hitchens.