139 thoughts on “Christopher Hitchens is dead

  1. I knew this was coming, but I’m terribly saddened just the same. A great man who improved my life through his writing and oratory. He will be missed.

  2. Ah, Hitch.

    I just bought via iBooks his essays. Wonderful, they are.

    An intellect and articulate, I think I was in love with Hitch!

    Could he cook? I never knew!

    1. Not sure if he could, but his brother Peter Hitchens mentioned in one of his essays Christopher making some lamb for him, and being kind of stunned, because he couldn’t picture him doing that back when they were younger.

          1. Big chunks of meat, slow-cooked in lots of wine; puddings flambéd in brandy; liqueur to finish; quick sugary expresso before you crack open the eau-de-vie and the scotch. Plenty of fags, bung on the Miles Davis and argue which is Dickens’ best novel. Fall asleep as dawn breaks through the window.

              1. Of course!

                And a lot of Orwell. Socrates. Shakespeare. Donne. Lucretius. The KJV. Crash on the floor; wake up and bang out a couple of thousand words for ‘The Slate’.

  3. Not happy about this at all 🙁 Yeah, I knew it was coming too….but it is a real fucking bummer nonetheless. We needed him in this world. I demand a do-over.

  4. Very sad. We have lost a towering intellect, a writer of rarely matched ability, and a great role model.

    Christopher was one of the people who made a difference. I’ll miss his writings and his inspiration.

  5. Having survived cancer and lost my best friend to it, I am saddened he fell to it. agree or not, his offerings were insightful and provocative. His penetrating inquiry will be missed.

  6. I’m deeply saddened. Of course we all knew it was inevitable, but Hitch wrote like no one else — actually, it’s better to say that no one else wrote like him — and his words will be sorely missed.

    1. He’s one of those whose inner motto was, I am certain, when I die and they look at my body, I want them to know that I lived. I fucking lived my life.

      Well, I think I’m going to break with my habit and have a pint in his honor.

    2. If I could be half as good a writer and speaker as Hitch was…

      I’ll fall back on using another’s words (a quotation that Hitch used of himself):

      My candle burns at both ends;
      It will not last the night;
      But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
      It gives a lovely light!

      — “First Fig”, Edna St. Vincent Millay

      He will be sorely missed.


  7. Saw the news on a NY Times banner head and came right here. My thoughts and kindest wishes go out to his wife and daughter. We will all miss him terribly.

    1. And to two children from a previous marriage.

      I hope some day one of them writes a bit on what it was like having him for a father!

  8. When I think of the magnificent Hitch I can’t help but recall Shakespeare’s Henry V, “Bid them achieve me and then sell my bones.”

  9. His last article wasn’t very long ago, just last week as I recall. Though of course I have no idea when he wrote it. But I’m at least pleased to see that his mind remained sharp until pretty close to the end.

  10. It is really really sad. Yes, sure, it was going to happen sooner than later but now that he’s dead, it has really hit me hard. He’s gonna be so dearly missed. I can’t imagine. The world has lost a good one. RIP Mr. Hitchens.

  11. My Xmas wish didn’t come true, and for years after I found out Santa was not real, I was at least comforted that God existed.

    I am now free from the bondage of GOD.

    It was listening to Jerry and Christopher Hitchens with their articulate words both written and spoken that those shackles are now gone.

    Thanks Christoper, thanks Jerry.


  12. It takes a LOT to make me cry, but this has me weeping as if it were the loss of a family member. No further comment.

  13. What are we going to do without the Hitch? I don’t think that anyone here encountered his writing or speaking and came away with the same worldview. Nobody could write or talk like him and nobody of his generation worked harder to understand the world, and to find the right words to express and defend what is most valuable in life. We will never again see his like.

    We owe it to ourselves to continue his efforts. Of course, his are big shoes to fill, and probably none of us is up to the job. But this only means that we have work to do. Bad ideas to puncture, good ideas to defend, lies to explode, truth to be sought. Let us say our piece and then get to reading, writing and arguing.

    1. Yes, we owe it to ourselves and to Hitch, and while it may take many of us to come close to filling his shoes, his memorable direction, the example he set, will allow us to combine efforts. Imagine, organizing atheists is like herding cats, and all our smaller feet out of step, off in timing, yet running our fastest to create and fill spaces his might have, had he only had more time. It inspires me to take this as a duty, to continue for the next generation the inspiration which Christopher gave to us.

  14. I have watched more video of Hitchens on YouTube than anything else. I can never get enough. I’ll plan on checking out some of his greatest moments this weekend.

  15. I am much more sad than I thought I would be as well. I am just starting to read his works. He was a brilliant writer and inspired me to learn and look at things in ways I could not have before. Thank You Christopher.

  16. I remember reading Hitch in The Nation — what? 20 or more years ago? — and being absolutely seduced by his prose. This was long before I self-identified as a skeptic/atheist. And I remember the realization slowly dawning on me that every once in a while he was . . . wrong. Beautifully written, eloquently argued, and nonetheless 180-degrees reversed from the rational position.

    And of course, as we look now at the official end of US hostilities in Iraq, it’s perhaps crude, on the occasion of his passing, to reflect on how colossally wrong he was regarding the advisability of that conflict. (Even though it was his pro-war position that brought him to national attention, as the token leftist supporting the invasion.)

    When he took on the mantle of Gnu Atheist, I was suspicious. Since those halcyon days of Bush I, I have always read Hitchens with a heightened sense of skepticism and caution. Perhaps I flatter myself when I reflect that Christopher Hitchens would have been the first to acknowledge that readers should always be skeptical, even — especially — when the wrong argument is made forcefully and with great conviction and style.

    I think it was Emerson who said (and I paraphrase), “Let your words fall like cannonballs, even if you have to go pick them up afterwards.” Christopher Hitchens never failed to let his words fall like cannonballs, and such brilliant words they were.

    And if I learned something about critical thinking from his (beautifully wrought) mistakes, I don’t think he would object to that.

    1. The actual Emerson quote, which I totally misremembered:

      “. . . if you would be a man, speak what you think today in words as hard as cannon balls, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it may contradict everything you said today.”


      Google is my shepherd; I shall not want.

      Just in case anyone wants to nitpick.

    2. Oddly, I was thinking along the same lines. Christopher made the very best case for Iraq that could be made – the only respectable case, in my opinion – and was wrong. For all the lies, for all skullduggery that we were offered in defense of that huge mistake, Hitchens offered the only respectable nugget, and as you say – beautifully wrought, in defense of the invasion of Iraq. Because he was usually right, and because his motivations were usually honorable, it made one have to reconsider his Iraq case even more carefully before dismissing it.

      He was such a master of rhetoric that you have to conclude his theist debate opponents were fools, fanatics, or perhaps, courageous.

      I’ll miss Christopher.

  17. So, so sad.
    (My mother died of the same cancer, on the same day three years ago. Stupid day … or make that: stupid cancer)

  18. Hitch didn’t own the words, but he certainly used them in the right order.

    Damn, losses are hard, even if expected.


    I am sorry that he is gone, for his family and for the rest of us who enjoyed and/or were challenged by his writing and speaking.

  19. My first thought was “Fuck.”

    He was a marvelous writer and incredible man. The world’s one giant short tonight.

    (Also, I swear I hadn’t seen your post title before using the same one. Poem in my head was e.e. cummings’s “buffalo bills”. Seemed right for Hitch.)

  20. I just heard the report of his death on the BBC this is terrible sad, his gift of eloquence,writing and wit will be sorely missed.

  21. NO!!!! Goddamnit!!!! NO!!!!
    Hitchens, you rocked my world. You are my hero and such a voice of reason in this phantasmagorical world.
    I will very much miss you.

  22. Few people deserve the amount of admiration that will be heaped on in this thread and elsewhere, but Christopher Hitchens deserves every bit. His written work stands extremely tall—and peerlessly eloquent—but the way he handled his dying days was itself a kind of eloquence, a last flourish of clear-eyed polemic against superstition and “false consolation” as he would say. I join in toasting an extraordinary person.

    1. a last flourish of clear-eyed polemic against superstition and “false consolation”


      Where now are those religionists who predicted a death-bed conversion?


  23. Oh what sad news!

    My only consolation is that, if God and Satan should exist after all, they are in for some rough times now 🙂

  24. Just about to watch one of the last interviews Hitch did, with Tony Jones of the Australian ABC TV on ‘7.30’ now. I’m sure I’ll she’d a tear or two, but also toast a life well and truly lived with a nice glass of red.

    Cheers to one of the most erudite and inspirational atheists of our time. And yes, till the end, his mind seemed to be working as well as ever with that last (published to now) essay on debunking the noble myth of dying.

    Vale Christopher

  25. In other news, Billy Graham’s son is telling the press that his dad is recovering from his latest bout with pneumonia. Kissinger still lives, James Dobson still owns the airwaves, and Pat Robertson is still raking it in, unchecked. And I’m having a couple pints.

    Clearly, there is no God.

        1. extremely pissed that I passed over the Johnny Walker Red (they didn’t have black) for a bottle of Bombay Blue Sapphire. Ah well. I think he’d understand.

    1. for those not in the know, Hitch on Billy Graham. I’ll try to post this without “embedding” it, but I might screw up…


      I think this qualifies as irony. Unless, of course… Billy Graham suddenly takes a turn for the worse. Then it’s slapstick.

      I’m sorry. I’m still angry.

      1. BTW, I managed to not embed the video by NOT putting the “http://” in front of the URL. WordPress put the http there and made it into a link. If you put the “http://” in there, it WILL “embed”. Sorry for the clutter.

        Dark day indeed. Body blow comes to mind.

        I’ll try to honor his legacy by getting back to work. (remember that he’d still make those deadlines somehow, even after imbibing). Time for some renewed vigor. Time is short.

  26. “God is not Great” was a point of catharsis without parallel in my life. A purgation, a purification of mind. It crystalized all those things I wanted to say, all those thoughts I wanted to express, all those emotions I wanted to share in my muddled mind. Hitch brought clarity to my existence. And following with Dawkins, Harris, Dennett, Loftus, Barker, I have not looked back for one nanosecond.

    For that, I could never repay the debt.

  27. There is one quote – among many – worth recalling from that interview in New Statesman -“I have one consistency, which is [being] against the totalitarian – on the left and on the right.” That is a pretty good stance.

  28. Even when he was wrong… Like how utterly insanely wrong he was about Bush and that war that ruined two nations, Iraq… He was wrong with an elegance and intelligence you had to respect.

    If anyone deserved the praise of “Magnificent Bastard” it was him.

  29. A great loss. Having recently become acquainted with his work I’ve come to admire his rigour, his incredible intellect, and of course his prose. Most of all I admire his courage. I’m convinced a lot more people either don’t believe in God or have strong doubts; very few before Hitch were willing to openly and proudly express these sentiments, and joyfully expose the fraud and hypocrisy of religion.

    Your message is understood Hitch. Read, think, and enquire. Thank you for enriching my soul.

  30. Hitch, you left this party too soon. I fully expected that I’d watch the collapse of faith in your lifetime.

    At the next party I’M BUYING
    [Ensures your attendance :)]

    Peace & Love & Love & Love etc.

  31. “If I can see further than anyone else, it is only because I am standing on the shoulders of giants” ~ Sir Isaac Newton

    He helped me see and understand.

    1. I do wish, though, that a list of all the books he ever read (and his thoughts on them) were available. In some way, those books helped make him, and had I the time, I’d want to read them all, too. Perhaps in time, his family will post a list of the many books on his shelves. Meanwhile, I offer them my deepest condolences on their loss and hope the knowledge of our share in the loss is somehow comforting.

  32. Hitch was the dearest of my friends whom I never met — and a World Treasure, for the world is a poorer place with him gone. But with his abundant works Hitch does leave the world a better place than he found it.

  33. He was more than anything else a man of words. Of course his death, like all of our deaths, was inevitable. And his words will live on, thanks to his constant thinking and writing. But what saddens me most, what I think I will miss most, is the speaking Christopher Hitchens. That is what first captured my attention, his ability to talk, to discuss, to debate, to so eloquently simply speak. We have videos of him doing this in the past, but unfortunately, now he will never speak again. Of course I didn’t always agree with him, but he was and is a great man, nevertheless. And he will be greatly missed.

  34. In other words that the discussion about what is good, what is beautiful, what is noble and what is true could always go on. Why is that important, why would I like to do that? Cause that’s the only conversation worth having and whether it goes on or not after I die, I don’t know. But I do know it’s the conversation I want to have while I’m still alive, which means that the offer of certainty, that offer of complete security, the offer of an impermeable faith that can’t give way, is an offer of something not worth having.

    I’m afraid he has left the conversation now and the level of discourse can only be the poorer for it.

    My condolences to his family.

    1. This morning I played this excerpt, from his debate with William Dembski, to my class of 13 and 14 year-olds in the English Midlands. Let me say that there are more than a few difficult kids in there.

      But after a while they were really listening; by the end of the 3 minute clip, the class was silent. Although I daresay none of them had ever heard of him, they could recognise beautiful oratory when they heard it.

      The youtube generation can find him in seconds; this is a great thing.

      I hope his family find some consolation in the respect many persons across the world felt for him.

  35. Thanks to internet logjam last night I only learned this morning. Indeed, his eloquence will outlast us all, and then continue to endure.

  36. Queue the religionists 3, 2, 1…
    @RickWarren My friend Christopher Hitchens has died. I loved & prayed for him constantly & grieve his loss. He knows the Truth now.
    What an asshole!
    RIP Hitch, wish you were here to Hitchslap Warren!

    1. Unfortunately, I heard of Christopher’s death this morning via some A-hole on the CBS morning show who was there talking about some irrelevant issue but asked last minute if he could say something about Christopher Hitchens. He righteously spewed something to the effect that Christopher will now discover the truth and will be meeting his maker.

    2. One thing that seems certain is that Hitch will have a very influential ‘afterlife’ right in the here and now. His essays, books, videos, etc. will continue to stimulate and challenge generations to come.

  37. He was so active until quite recently that I hoped that he might carry on a little longer… 
    I had the priviledge of hearing him speak, when he came to Boston to debate Rabbi Wolpe (no need to mention who “won” the debate). A brillant, charming man, Hitchens had the clarity of thought that allowed him to call a spade a spade without trivializing matters. Although I disagreed with him on the Iraq war, I respected him for so many things: his intelectual honesty, his humanism and the dignity and courage with which he faced his fate.

  38. How the hell can Christopher Hitchens die? It just doesn’t seem possible. Our cause has lost its loudest and strongest voice; we are diminished greatly by his loss, cut in half. I don’t see who we have to replace him, I really don’t. We’ll have to continue the battle without our most potent weapon. This is very sad and very troubling even though it was expected. I am moved to tears at the thought that we will have no more words, no more fight, from this great man. I wish I could give him a more eloquent send off, my own Lycidas, but this is all I’ve got right now. Good bye, Christopher Hitchens. Goodbye and thank you. You are missed.
    My condolences to the Hitchen’s family at this difficult time.

  39. I felt a degree of annoyance whenever Jerry would post something on Hitchens and usually add that the man looked closer to death; I didn’t want to believe it. But of course Jerry was right, and in saying what he said might have softened the blow of this sad, inevitable news.

    I loved hearing CH speak, orate, debate: he was a master. Now his voice is quieted, and we are left with our memories, fond for most, I’m sure.

    Christopher Hitchens’s legacy will be with us for generations to come. My personal appreciation is for the courage he showed and so solidly demonstrated these past several months. So while saddened by this loss, I am also gladdened for having known of him.

    My condolences to his family and friends.

  40. Christopher Hitchens writing made me think about my politics and values and his impassioned defence of the ironic versus the literal minded pushed me towards anti-theism.

    I will miss his contribution to the argument.

  41. Making it sadder are the religious ghouls lapping his death up while smearing their religious feces over the whole thing…

  42. One of my favorite things that I remember about Chris Hitchens was, when talking about his cancer diagnosis, his unflinching acknowledgement of how it was the result of his lifestyle choices and his statement of how, had he the option to go back and change things, he wouldn’t. He knew the risks associated with his behaviors, and after looking the consequences straight in the eye, decided that it had, in fact, been worth it.

    1. I am glad to see this comment, because, when you see “…died at age 62..” that is what immediately comes to mind: his lifestyle choices. Considering how many people are feeling the effects of his departure, one might ask, “Was it selfish, to deprive so many of future years of your insights and thoughts?”

      A year of many, many deaths for me. I’ve said, “Oh no” too many times, and even though we all were forewarned, Hitchins’ death nonetheless creates grief and anguish for me.

      Khadaffi and bin Ladin, no anguish there…

  43. He was remarkable; even with cancer he’d push himself to write and to give his time to others and make the best of whatever time he had.

  44. My cats have joined forces to encircle and comfort me, reflecting by their behavior just how deeply I feel this loss. Hitch, though his videos in particular, seemed so real, I felt he spoke directly to me, to each person in his audience, real and virtual, then and forever, like a personal friend, great leader, teacher and mentor all at once. For this, I feel his loss most personally, indeed, more than many other personal losses have been felt.

  45. Hitchens’ final remarks at Prestonwood, a fitting farewell from a passionate, compassionate and brave man of wisdom

  46. A poem for Hitch:

    Do not leave the shore, timid, cowed,
    Don’t fear the final fledgling flight,
    Nor plash the oar, fevered, bowed,
    Let near the null, the nurseling night.

    Do not slip the bow, keening loud,
    Nor rue the rotten remnant rite,
    Let pass the now, winging cloud,
    And near the null, the nurseling night.

    Yes, seize the dark, endless, proud,
    Let loose the limpid lifelorn light,
    Approach, embark, careless shroud.
    Let near the null, the nurseling night.

  47. It may not be quite appropriate but, because they said it first, I quote, “Now I cannot speak, I’ve lost my voice.” I think this sums it up for me. What a titan he was.

  48. Gone But Never Forgotten Chris.

    Being Dead

    Ever wonder what it’s like being dead?
    No longer being here but, being there instead?

    Looking ahead at afterlife,
    will there be happiness and little strife?
    Will heaven be like you were told?
    Will you walk upon streets of gold?
    Will you sing in heavenly choir
    and pity those in Satan’s fire?
    Will they let you own a dog
    and will you have a place to jog?

    What about burgers and fries?
    What about cookies and pies?
    What about a baseball game?
    Will TV programs be the same?
    Will your friends be there beside you
    and will the grass be wet with dew?
    Will there be a swimming pool
    where kids can play in waters cool?

    So, if you think about being dead,
    another choice you might want instead.
    How about a long peaceful sleep
    without a morning time to keep?
    How about no more pain,
    no more problems, no more strain?
    What about eternal rest
    guaranteed to be the best?

    It makes no difference which you choose
    when your future, you finally lose
    simply because it’s not your choice.
    In its selection you have no voice.
    So don’t ever worry about being dead,
    getting there is worse it’s said.
    When fate’s appointment you must keep,
    just hope it arrives while you’re asleep.

    The time will come when we will perish
    so every day we all must cherish,
    live our lives with love and zest,
    and fulfill your dreams before you rest.

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