Place settings at the annual Vanity Fair Oscar dinner party included a Zippo lighter engraved with a Christopher Hitchens quotation.
So Kim Jong Il, Christopher Hitchens and former Czech president Václav Havel walk up to Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates of Heaven …
If you’ve been lost in the static of radio silence this past week, you must be thinking, “What a witty opener for that Upper West Side Christmas party!” Unfortunately, the humor is coarsened by the fact that the North Korean supreme leader, outspoken British-turned-American intellectual and Eastern European politician moonlighting as everything under the literary sun all passed away this weekend. We can’t help but imagine Mr. Hitchens being amused by the inevitable comparisons that one could draw between him and the company he’ll be keeping in the newsworthy obits this week: The pages of which will be filled with terms like “revolutionary,” “tyrannical,” “egomaniacal” and “possibly insane.” (And that’s just for Mr. Hitchens!) It’s dark humor, of course, but did the Vanity Fair contributing editor know any other kind?
The last time I saw Christopher Hitchens was on a sunny summer day on Irving Place. I had just had lunch with a friend and was walking leisurely around Gramercy Park.
Christopher Hitchens had one more Vanity Fair column in the hopper when he passed away late last night, and it will appear in the magazine’s February issue, Politico reports. It’s on the topic of Charles Dickens, about whom Hitchens wrote a long piece for The Atlantic last year.
Christopher Hitchens died yesterday at the age of 62 after a long illness with cancer. The Observer was lucky enough to have his byline grace our pages, including this book review of Michael Isikoff’s Uncovering Clinton, (note how he calls Mr. Isikoff’s prose “Capitoline” — “’rising stars’ intersecting with ‘insiders’ all the way”) and Susan Sontag’s Regarding the Pain of Others.
“I never met him, and spoke with him on the phone only rarely, but from our slender contact I can tell you that he was an absolute professional: On time, spot on, and spotless. Every editor’s dream,” remembered former Observer books editor Adam Begley. “I would have used him constantly if I’d had the budget.”
“His writing leaves an enduring and inspiring legacy to readers everywhere,” said his book publisher, Cary Goldstein of Twelve, in a statement. “We are proud to have played our part in sharing it with the world. He will be missed.” Twelve is publishing a forthcoming memoir, Mortality.
In the leaves
When Chistopher Hitchens pontificates on the subject of beverage, it’s a safe bet to assume it’s concerning alcohol. Up until his diagnosis with cancer and subsequent chemo, Hitch would consume no less than a bottle of wine and few gulps of whiskey per day, he wrote in Hitch-22. And tales of larger excess are Read More
Today is “Everybody Pray for Hitchens Day,” a date when the world is asked to plead with God to heal Christopher Hitchens from esophageal cancer. There is, however, a slight rub in this otherwise lovely plan: Hitch, as you would know if you’ve tuned in to any of his recent videos and articles in which he Read More
In quotes from his memoir A Journey printed in today’s Daily Telegraph, former British PM Tony Blair discusses his somewhat Hitch-esque liquor intake — ”Stiff whisky or G&T before dinner, couple of glasses of wine or even half a bottle with it” — his feelings toward successor Gordon Brown and his country’s involvement in Read More
Charlie Rose was the latest junction on the Christopher Hitchens cancer whistle-stop tour, and the interviewer pulled no punches in inquiring about the lifestyle that inevitably contributed to the pundit’s cancer.
Rose, who had a health scare himself fairly recently, asked Hitchens if he would do it all again, in terms Read More
“I’m not resigned, but I’m realistic too. The statistics in my case are very poor. Not many people come through esophageal cancer and live to talk about it, or not for long. And the other wager is, the part of the wager, it’s a certainty you’ll have a terrible time and you may wish you Read More