Hitch: Cancer & Death
Old 08-06-2010, 03:18 AM   #1 (permalink)
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For those who aren't aware, Christopher Hitchens was diagnosed with esophageal cancer towards the end of June. Apparently, it has spread to his lymph nodes and lungs.

I don't know how much time he might have left, but I do hope he continues to give interviews and to write about his illness.

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Old 08-06-2010, 05:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I heard about this a few weeks ago. Some of my American "internet friends" are really bumbed out over this. I'm dissapointed too.

Hitchens is a loveable asshole. He comes across as an arrogant, insensitive jerk to some people, but if you actually listen to him speak about morality and the human condition, it's clear that he's actually a wonderful person. Well, maybe just listening to him is not enough; you also have to actually understand what he is saying. I've seen a few clips of debates in which it is clear that some people have absolutely no clue what Hitch is saying. It is as if they won't let their brains contemplate the arguments he puts forth.
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Old 08-06-2010, 11:45 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ArmChairGM View Post
I heard about this a few weeks ago. Some of my American "internet friends" are really bumbed out over this. I'm dissapointed too.

Hitchens is a loveable asshole. He comes across as an arrogant, insensitive jerk to some people, but if you actually listen to him speak about morality and the human condition, it's clear that he's actually a wonderful person. Well, maybe just listening to him is not enough; you also have to actually understand what he is saying. I've seen a few clips of debates in which it is clear that some people have absolutely no clue what Hitch is saying. It is as if they won't let their brains contemplate the arguments he puts forth.
I agree. I owe a lot to him in terms of opening my eyes to a new way of looking at things. I think that's quite common among his "followers". Superstition, the belief in some sort of "spirituality", and all of the crap fed to me in Catholic school - all sort of disappeared from my life and I feel a lot less burdened. It's a rationality that I just never really had a handle on before I started listening to him.
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Old 08-07-2010, 12:09 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Metastatic Cancer is deadly. I hope Hitch has joyful time fighting this deadly disease. I also understand he is a diehard Pompey fan. Too bad he had to see what happened with last years side it was hideous.

Even though I don't agree with some of the things Hitch says I admire his Intellect and the fact he always spoke his mind. I also wish he rethinks taking Chemo and/or Radiation. Its not all about pure "suffering" and just feeling "poison" threw your body leaving you with nothing. It can give you a couple more years of life or maybe something even more. Faith is a wonderful thing and if you fight a little longer just maybe you can send a glorius gift to the next person in your shoes.
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Old 08-07-2010, 01:35 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Metastatic Cancer is deadly. I hope Hitch has joyful time fighting this deadly disease. I also understand he is a diehard Pompey fan. Too bad he had to see what happened with last years side it was hideous.

Even though I don't agree with some of the things Hitch says I admire his Intellect and the fact he always spoke his mind. I also wish he rethinks taking Chemo and/or Radiation. Its not all about pure "suffering" and just feeling "poison" threw your body leaving you with nothing. It can give you a couple more years of life or maybe something even more. Faith is a wonderful thing and if you fight a little longer just maybe you can send a glorius gift to the next person in your shoes.
He doesn't doubt the merits of chemo and radiation - I'm pretty sure he wouldn't be going through it if he didn't think it was beneficial, which of course, it is. He's making a point about the "fight" cancer sufferers always talk about - their attempt to turn something fundamentally scientific, into some monster they can engage with in some heated "battle". The will to live and to live as long as you possibly can - for, in his particular case, his children - is far more powerful than abstract 'faith'. Chemo is poison and you do, more often than not, suffer.

I look at his particular view as one devoid of all of the poetry and romanticism - and really, I believe in whatever gets you through, so that's not any sort of criticism - but it's instructive to see it happen to someone with a different perspective. He cares about his kids - and, I'm sure, his wife. What more should one care about?
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Old 08-18-2010, 03:28 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I do like your avatar. I wonder what Christopher might think about that photo today, cigarette and such.
If you follow the link, you'll find a relevant article. Also, his recent interview with Charlie Rose should be available for viewing.

LINK - Hitchens on his smoking
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Old 08-18-2010, 10:17 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Hitchens' style is extremely entertaining to listen to. He has an acerbic or caustic wit, is quite eloquent, and never backs down from a disagreement. At the same time, he is clearly a self-styled contrarian, who is more interested in going against the grain and drawing a few people to his cause with rhetoric than in establishing common ground and delineating differences in a strictly intellectual fashion. I have watched more of Hitchens' debates than I can recall, and you see these problems crop up again and again. Hitchens considers the faithful to be defective in some important respect and yet he is not even technically familiar with many of the apologetics which he criticizes (notably Van Tillian presuppositionalism).

Still, we need people like Hitchens. The gadfly of society is extremely important for keeping us balanced. At the very least, Hitchens' scorn for theists has helped to raise the profile of non-believers everywhere, and at his best, Hitchens can cut through the noise to provide a beacon of reason in conversations often lacking this quality.
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Old 08-18-2010, 07:27 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I was a teenager when I first saw the guy on Donahue, railing against Jerry Falwell and decrying his access to the oval office. It really made his support of George Bush hard to fathom. Ultimately I think he just really wanted the status quo changed in the middle east. Too bad that didn't happen.

I love the way the guy writes. He gives himself so much ammunition and can take the reader on some great twists and turns within a single sentence. It's just too bad that he always ends up being against something or someone most of the time, and then finally found something to definitively argue for - Bush and the Iraq war - and ended up looking like he was constantly over-reaching, and conveniently overlooking so much.

I'll always remember the fairly radical guy I saw on Donahue. There was a part of me as a kid that wanted to be that guy.
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Old 11-28-2010, 12:52 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Christopher Hitchens and Tony Blair's great Toronto debate, in nine parts. I wish I'd been there.

YouTube - hitchensblairdebate's Channel
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Old 11-28-2010, 01:01 AM   #10 (permalink)
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i tried to get tix but they sold out in 90 mins. thanks for putting this up.
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Old 11-28-2010, 05:51 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:01 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Christopher Hitchens: Unspoken Truths | Culture | Vanity Fair

more brilliance from hitch. the full article is worth reading.

Quote:
Like so many of life’s varieties of experience, the novelty of a diagnosis of malignant cancer has a tendency to wear off. The thing begins to pall, even to become banal. One can become quite used to the specter of the eternal Footman, like some lethal old bore lurking in the hallway at the end of the evening, hoping for the chance to have a word. And I don’t so much object to his holding my coat in that marked manner, as if mutely reminding me that it’s time to be on my way. No, it’s the snickering that gets me down.

On a much-too-regular basis, the disease serves me up with a teasing special of the day, or a flavor of the month. It might be random sores and ulcers, on the tongue or in the mouth. Or why not a touch of peripheral neuropathy, involving numb and chilly feet? Daily existence becomes a babyish thing, measured out not in Prufrock’s coffee spoons but in tiny doses of nourishment, accompanied by heartening noises from onlookers, or solemn discussions of the operations of the digestive system, conducted with motherly strangers. On the less good days, I feel like that wooden-legged piglet belonging to a sadistically sentimental family that could bear to eat him only a chunk at a time. Except that cancer isn’t so ... considerate.

Most despond-inducing and alarming of all, so far, was the moment when my voice suddenly rose to a childish (or perhaps piglet-like) piping squeak. It then began to register all over the place, from a gruff and husky whisper to a papery, plaintive bleat. And at times it threatened, and now threatens daily, to disappear altogether. I had just returned from giving a couple of speeches in California, where with the help of morphine and adrenaline I could still successfully “project” my utterances, when I made an attempt to hail a taxi outside my home—and nothing happened. I stood, frozen, like a silly cat that had abruptly lost its meow. I used to be able to stop a New York cab at 30 paces. I could also, without the help of a microphone, reach the back row and gallery of a crowded debating hall. And it may be nothing to boast about, but people tell me that if their radio or television was on, even in the next room, they could always pick out my tones and know that I was “on,” too.

Like health itself, the loss of such a thing can’t be imagined until it occurs. In common with everybody else, I have played versions of the youthful “Which would you rather?” game, in which most usually it’s debated whether blindness or deafness would be the most oppressive. But I don’t ever recall speculating much about being struck dumb. (In the American vernacular, to say “I’d really hate to be dumb” might in any case draw another snicker.) Deprivation of the ability to speak is more like an attack of impotence, or the amputation of part of the personality. To a great degree, in public and private, I “was” my voice. All the rituals and etiquette of conversation, from clearing the throat in preparation for the telling of an extremely long and taxing joke to (in younger days) trying to make my proposals more persuasive as I sank the tone by a strategic octave of shame, were innate and essential to me. I have never been able to sing, but I could once recite poetry and quote prose and was sometimes even asked to do so. And timing is everything: the exquisite moment when one can break in and cap a story, or turn a line for a laugh, or ridicule an opponent. I lived for moments like that. Now, if I want to enter a conversation, I have to attract attention in some other way, and live with the awful fact that people are then listening “sympathetically.” At least they don’t have to pay attention for long: I can’t keep it up and anyway can’t stand to.

......
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:43 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Thanks. Poignant stuff.
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Old 04-14-2012, 09:01 PM   #14 (permalink)
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a day late, but happy birthday hitch!
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