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A Fantastic Review of Hitch-22 at Reason

Posted on July 18 2010 12:37 am
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Hitch-22: A Memoir, by Christopher Hitchens, New York: Twelve, 448 pages, $26.99

In 1990, Commentary magazine warned its readers that Christopher Hitchens, then a bomb-throwing columnist at The Nation, was “a highly visible piece of leftist bric-a-brac in East Coast literary salons.” The targets of Hitchens’ wrath, said the conservative monthly, were typically “anyone in the democratic West,” with the exception of the left-wing lion Gore Vidal, the writer who once anointed Hitchens as hisdauphin.

Twenty years later, writing in Vanity Fair, Hitchens dismissed his former comrade Vidal as a “crackpot” whose recent political writings were inseparable from the bilge found on loony conspiracy websites. This lefty bric-a-brac, it appeared, had transmogrified into a dues-paying member of the neocon establishment.

While he had always smuggled heterodox views into the pages of The Nation on issues ranging from abortion to the Falklands War, Hitchens’ real apostasy (and it is always referred to in quasi-religious terms) was precipitated by the attacks of September 11, 2001. In the weeks and months following the mass murder in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania, Hitchens unloaded on his Nation stablemates, including Vidal, Noam Chomsky, and Alexander Cockburn, for not recognizing what he diagnosed as the West’s decades-long war with Islamic fascism.

Read the Rest at Reason

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