Christopher Hitchens On Jerry Falwell’s Death

A brief bit of history regarding my feelings for Christopher Hitchens:
Brilliant drunk—>Crackpot drunken hawk—>Partially redeemed brilliant drunk
There you have it. Why the redemption? How about this clip, for starters:

(BTW, I do not use the word “drunk” pejoratively. I adore some drunks and have myself been one, on occasion.)
You might have varied negative opinions about Hitchens, including his extremely pig-headed and wholly incorrect position on the war in Iraq (he’s for it…still) and his arrogant posturing indicating that he is certain that he is the smartest person in any room.
That all said, he is very smart and, some might say to a fault, honest.
Another video after the jump, this time from the Fox “News” show Hannity & Colmes:

Quote of the day?
“If you gave Falwell an enema he could be buried in a matchbox.”

8 thoughts on “Christopher Hitchens On Jerry Falwell’s Death”

  1. I’m not quite sure what you mean by “intolerant attacks” on Falwell not impressing you. I am not against being intolerant of bigoted, divisive hucksters like Falwell. Why should I tolerate people like the late “Reverend?” Also, deciding whether to blame organized religion per se or the practicers thereof is hair-splitting, as far as I am concerned.
    I suspect that “more thoughtful commentators” is code for someone who will look at both sides of an issue and with some issues (like Jerry Falwell) there is only one side, IMHO.

  2. The history, as well as the current state, of organized religion certainly has been (and is) less than ideal. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s religion that is at fault. One of the reasons to be for “separation of church and state” is to help divert power-mongers, politicians, egoists and the greedy into secular positions whenever possible. The problem with people like Falwell, and others who believe in combining religion and politics, is that they suffer from temptation by (as C.S. Lewis wrote) that “sweet, sweet poison” of adding “thus saith the Lord” as an exclamation point to their own personal dislikes or, at best, arguments which do not lovingly persuade listeners on their own merits. Jerry Falwell never struck me as an exemplary religious teacher by his words or example. Nevertheless, intolerant attacks on Falwell (and the admiration being expressed by Falwell’s supporters) do not impress me through their relative lack of hypocrisy (surely countered by resultant pride therein), particularly when the reason for such attacks is largely due to the commentator’s reportage of Falwell’s intolerance. I think we would all be better served by allowing Falwell’s own words to speak for themselves, and discussed by more thoughtful commentators. Of course, Mr. Hitchens is simply serving the mediocrity of organized journalism today…

  3. No, I know that, and I was trying to engage in the debate. That said, I know Dick’s take on this and he agrees 100% with Hitchens’ take on Falwell. He’s just not a huge fan of Hitchens in general.

  4. No, Dick Mac made the point that it was like Stalin criticizing Hitler. I was refuting that point by pointing out that Hitchens’ self regard, evoked by Dick, does not make him wrong on religion or on Falwell. Lighten up, amigo. People in the comments section talk to one another… *grin*

  5. Being callous and selfish doesn’t always make you wrong. He’s 100% right on this issue and I applaud him for digging through the pile of bullshit hagiography and telling the truth about religion and, in this case, the hypocrisy of a divisive bullshit artist like Jerry Falwell. Bravo, I say.

  6. I disagree with your analogy. I don’t think he’s nearly as bad as organized religion, which I rank as one of the most insidious institutions ever invented by humans. I think it makes the FBI look like the Girl Scouts and I think it’s done more harm on Earth than anything else. Hitchens is just a self-satisfied blowhard who just happens to be right on some things and dead wrong on others.

  7. I would be less generous with my praise for Hitchens. His criticism of organized religion is sort of like Stalin being disgusted by Hitler. Sure, he has a point to make against organized religion, and born-again Christians in particular, but his positions on the rest of society are noteworthy for their callous disregard for anyone but himself.

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