Christopher Hitchens was best known for his views on religion, but what seems to get overlooked by many people are the reasons for this notoriety. After all, there are millions of atheists on Earth. What made Hitch so special?
In my opinion, it was the perfect storm of a remarkable intellect, insatiable curiosity, situational belligerence, and a well-honed ability to communicate the results of those things as they ricochet off each other in his brain.
In short, Christopher Hitchens was one hell of a writer. That will be his legacy.
Sure, he could easily win most debates, seemingly without breaking a sweat. There’s plenty of evidence of that available on YouTube. However, his forte was the written word. From what I’ve read, it was his primary and most passionate love.
Hitch could have taken a combative stance on ballpoint pens and been globally recognized for it. He simply had that ability. The fact that religion is such an emotional subject seemed to suit his style, and he made the most of it.
I didn’t know the man, and was quite late in joining the Hitchens Fan Club, but I feel a sense of loss with his passing. Intelligent people who can argue – and usually win – their case without getting personal are rare. He was not without some glaring flaws, but Christopher Hitchens was a man I really came to admire even when I disagreed with him. In a modern media world dominated by intellectual featherweights like American Idol and Entertainment Tonight , Hitch was a dominant heavyweight. An apex predator who killed not out of malice, but out of necessity and without emotion.
He was an inspiration to me. I try to mimic his methods to the best of my ability, but I am now and will always be a pretender to the throne. He was not one in a million, but was one in seven billion. When people like him pass, we’re all a little worse off.