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October 04, 2007

Dreaming of Christopher Hitchens
Posted by Shadi Hamid

For better or worse, I cannot escape Christopher Hitchens. In one of the more bizarre occurrences in recent memory, I woke up, in nearly a cold sweat this morning, thinking of him, or, rather, dreaming about him. If my memory serves me, we were both at a dinner party. I had never met him before, unless you count the time I asked him a question at a debate of his with Tariq Ali that gave me away as one of those duped souls who still manages to believe in a God, or, worse, the God.

So I went up to him. He was still eating perhaps. I wasn’t. We proceeded to have an animated discussion about something, can’t remember what. Maybe about the Iraq war. Maybe about how war is a force that gives out  meaning, particularly when it shouldn’t. Then the conversation took to more interesting places. He was counseling me on relationships out of all things, and then before I knew it, he was reading into my relationship history, and saying that I had made certain mistakes here and there. He then gave me some advice. I was fascinated. We were bonding, it appeared. And his advice managed to be both prescient and disturbing in a way that his observations usually are. I woke up in a cold sweat, yes, thinking of Christopher Hitchens.


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Thanks for this! I mean it. It's extremely refreshing to read something with a personal spin once in a while, esp when it's actually interesting to boot.

You might not have been referring to this, but don't forget that the book "War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning" was authored by Chris Hedges, not Chris Hitchens.

I felt similarly unable to escape Christopher kitchens when I followed a blind link to his Vanity Fair which led with a picture of him getting a full salon treatment that I now want to get out of my head. The article may be good, but I don't recommend clicking.


What you are you cannot avoid, I suppose, but being obsessed with Christopher Hitchens is disturbing. You need help, Shadi.

Behold the man's idealism:

IT WAS ON PAGE 24 OF THE ADVANCE UNCORRECTED proofs of Martin Amis' Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million, a study of Bolshevism, Stalinism and fellow travelers in the West... The section that brought me up short ran as follows:

So on the phone, the other day, I said to Christopher [Hitchens]... "I'm wondering about the distance between Stalin's Russia and Hitler's Germany."

"Oh don't fall for that, Mart. Don't fall for moral equivalence."

"Why not?"

"Lenin was . . . a great man."

Hitchens can't have said this the other day, I thought to myself. Thirty years ago, when he was a 20-something follower of Leon Trotsky, I could understand -- just about -- but now? Re-reading the passage carefully, I realized there was no mistake. Not only was Hitchens calling Lenin a great man, he was arguing that to compare Hitler's Germany with Stalin's Russia was to lapse into moral equivalency. As if there were something good you could say about life under Stalin.

In the dream, who was on top -- you or me?

Four is not a crowd Shadi. Imagine you, me, and Peter Beinart. It would be your dream. See you tomorrow night!

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