What more could possibly be said about the late Christopher Hitchens that has not already been said?
We all know who he was; the passionate, articulate, and always self-assured political, social, and literary critic with a penchant for hammering out the objective truth about a seemingly endless myriad of subjects. During his long and varied career, he took on heavyweights ranging from the hyper-politically correct British government to the U.S. Republican Party to the modern left. None of these, however, could rival the contempt he held for the undisputed bane of his existence, the Roman Catholic Church, whose numerous scandals he not only highlighted, but to which brought a new dimension of journalistic integrity.
Despite attempting to make a plethora of different points in his various commentaries, delivering cold, hard, refreshing doses of reason was always Hitchens’s ultimate goal. Agree or disagree with his views, one could not help but respect the avowed socialist turned awkward capitalist’s steely, yet smug determination and work ethic. An outspoken evangelical fundamentalist atheist, he wore his beliefs on not only one, but both sleeves. At times, he had a tendency to become incredibly annoying, but in the end, sound minds of any given religion could value the finer points of his opinions.
It is men such as Christopher Hitchens, of whom each generation has produced far too few, and successive ones seem to be generating a smaller number still. A man whose words will undoubtedly live on for centuries, he set the gold standard for all sociopolitical writers, as did personalities like H.L. Mencken and Upton Sinclair before him. While Hitchens’ succumbing to cancer just before the holidays of Hanukkah and Christmas began is indeed a bitter pill to swallow for thinking Americans, it must be remembered that, by his own accounts, he lived his life to its very fullest, and seemed content with this in the end.
Such an existence filled with remarkable milestones is what makes the Hitch, as far as I am concerned, the undisputed man of 2011.