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December 17, 2011

Farethewell, Christopher Hitchens

The leading English-language essayist of our age. Journalist. Literary legend. Firebrand. Truth-seeker. Rabble-rouser. Self-professed contrarian. Principal of principles. Provocateur. Colleague. Friend.


Christopher Hitchens, 62, passed away 36 hours ago (after a bout of pneumonia that came on during his battle with cancer of the esophagus) and already the intersecting spheres of journalism and literature have been knocked off-axis.

In this year when four friends have passed on--photographers Brian Lanker and Tim Hetherington, restaurateur Elaine Kaufman, and my dearest mate since childhood, Marc Kravitz--if I have found any consolation since hearing the news of Christopher's departure, it is in the belief that the heavens (despite his avowed atheism) will have opened up to embrace him, as George Orwell and Dorothy Parker stand ready to welcome him with a generous glass of Johnny Walker Black on ice.

As added consolation, I have found these observations by his friends to be more heartwarming than heartbreaking...

...Remembrances from Graydon Carter, Ian McEwan, Christopher Buckley, George Eaton, various friends at Slate, and the introduction to a recent book of Christopher's, written by Martin Amis.

...And I also recommend these pieces, written since this original post, by Henry Porter and Ross Douthat.

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