His writing these last 40 years amounts to little more than a succession of malicious ad hominem attacks on people he disagrees with.  His appeal is to those with a dirty mind, who want society to be as dirty as he is, and who are glad to erode barriers of decency.  There is a coy prurience about him, and his work is a blend of boastful assertions and contrived self-debasements—all meant to please those he deems powerful and useful.  He is, of course, Christopher Hitchens, scourge of Mother Teresa, religion, and the Almighty Himself, and he recently and dramatically announced that he was cutting short a book tour in order to undergo chemotherapy for cancer of the esophagus.

As a Christian who very much believes in God, I should be wallowing in pity for Hitchens and writing how much I hope he beats the dreaded disease.  But in his case I shall remain neutral.  Let the Almighty decide what to do with him; I am neither enjoying his discomfort nor praying that he beats the beast.  As my friend the writer Mark Brennan said of Hitchens, “There is something awful about a man who hates God, cheerleading for sending those who love God, our troops, overseas, to die for the pagan god that is Israel and Big Oil.”


I have known and clashed with Hitchens since I first laid eyes on him at a Southampton party over 30 years ago.  I shoulder-charged him, knocked him down, and then, pretending that I had done it inadvertently, said sorry and walked out of the crowded room.  His reaction was typical.  He had his brother, a hack in England, write an item on a gossip page claiming that Hitchens chased me down the street and that I lost a Gucci shoe while running for my life.  It was typical Hitchens, and I must admit I laughed when I read it.

Hitchens’ social climbing is not a meager achievement.  He likes to pretend that he is a bold iconoclast, that he ruffles feathers, that he takes on the high and mighty, but nothing could be further from the truth.  He is careful whom he attacks and when.  He acquired a certain amount of notoriety in sneering at Mother Teresa and the Pope.  That’s pretty easy stuff to do.  A poor Albanian lady who spent her life trying to help the destitute and downtrodden poses no danger.  Nor does the Pontiff.  Those old bags at the New York Times like

When Hitchens took on God, he must have felt very safe—until the cancer hit him, that is.  Hitchens is a bully who will be rude to people while on television—as long as his adversary is in a studio 3,000 miles away.  He screams insults and abuse at those who believe in decorum and do not sink to his level, like a priest whom he insulted nonstop during his god Is Not Great book tour.  He will, on the other hand, never say a snide word about anyone on TV who might block his access.  He will never offend any hostess of any standing whose parties he might be excluded from, and that includes even the most brain-dead females of D.C.

He has always impersonated and marketed the coolly detached insider, the outright cynic, the dissolute but lovable drunkard.  What he really is in life is the great self-promoter, and there’s no better place to promote oneself than in Washington, D.C., a place where self-promotion is de rigueur.

Our Christopher was dishing the dirt on anticommunists during the Cold War, and dishing it hard.  Once the commies collapsed, Hitchens had to change course, and he did so by embracing war and the warmongers, the neocons.  Needless to say, he, like his Jewish fellow travelers, has never served or even contemplated serving.  Hitchens made his reputation by writing about the bad breath and penis size of anticommunists—or whatever other vital issues he was addressing when dishing the dirt on us.  Does anyone feel troubled about the reputations of decent men and women that he sought to destroy?  Probably not.  His premature obituary in the Times, written by the egregious brown-noser David Brooks, called him a rare and precious jewel among us.  Some jewel.  The shame of the Hitchens era of American journalism will long outlive the little twerps who gave credence to this vile man.

But here at Chronicles we do not like to kick a man when he’s down, although I have given in to my temptation.  In reality I do not wish to see Christopher Hitchens suffer or succumb to his disease.  What I’d really like is for him to discover the Almighty and change his wicked ways.  But that’s like wishing for the neocons to stop trying to get Uncle Sam involved in wars that Israel believes are in her interest.  Hitchens is certainly smarter than John Podhoretz, and more worldly than William Kristol, but all three have the same morals and humanity.