Connecting insignificant dots: Hitchens and Jong-il

I can't help but wonder what I missed out on, having Christopher Hitchens die and then Kim Jong-il go a few days later. If there was any person's opinion and prediction I would have liked to hear, concerning the despot's demise, it would have been Hitchens'.

8 Comments
9 Comments
Posted by Penzilneck

I can't help but wonder what I missed out on, having Christopher Hitchens die and then Kim Jong-il go a few days later. If there was any person's opinion and prediction I would have liked to hear, concerning the despot's demise, it would have been Hitchens'.

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Posted by MikkaQ

What would he have to say about Kim Jong-Il that would be more interesting than anyone else? He hasn't had any real involvement with North Korea as far as I know. Seemed overly concerned with convincing people of his viewpoints on religion and such.

Also what opinion exactly? He died. The leader coming up is a practical complete unknown, so NK will be in a state of flux for a while, the outcome of which we could never predict.

Posted by Penzilneck

@MikkaQ: He's far from having been the only person who I would trust to have an interesting thought about NK. But he had written and talked some about the country over the last few years, and as with so many other things, he had a way of putting them in an engaging, intriguing and sharp context. A nice, although pop-ish article of his is found here, for example: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/fighting_words/2010/02/a_nation_of_racist_dwarfs.html

And I wouldn't say that I agreed with him on every point, more than with any other person. But he was at least an interesting adversary to those who are used to being surrounded by yes-men. I thought of him now mostly because so many changes have happened over the last few months, during his last times of serious illness and finally death, which he has been arguing and contemplating over for so long. Jong-il, Bin Laden, Gaddafi, Egypt, Syria to name a few.

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Posted by MikkaQ

@Penzilneck: Yeah that was an interesting read, kinda exemplary of why I both like and dislike Hitchens. He'll write a fairly well reasoned article or speech, then pepper it with kinda childish thoughts or notions, almost troll-like in nature. Calling North Korea a country of racist dwarves for example. That's a little far.

Didn't know he was writing about Korea, I guess it would be interesting to see a bizarrely offensive obituary from him though.

Posted by Penzilneck

@MikkaQ: Right on.

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Posted by Regal

There is a very large variety of these threads that could be made about a whole range of issues, because Hitchens was a totally original (and irreplaceable) part of journalism.

Whenever these totalitarian types, or the pious and the gnostic, make their appearances in the news or on the world stage, I could always look forward with unbridled joy to have them dismantled in Christophers' prose or in debates. I think he has rightly been called the greatest living rhetorician, and to my knowledge he was. Our culture is now much poorer than it was.

Posted by Penzilneck

@Regal: I hope I understand you correct, because I would heartily agree. Even if I were unable to justify any of his opinions or views to myself, I couldn't deny the fact that when he talked, I listened. It's easy fore someone in the media to be controversial for the sake of it, but I never caught Hitchens in any way but sincere and passionate.

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Posted by imsh_pl

Hitchens has been a great authority for me since I stumbled a video featuring him debating. I was immediately blown away by his eluquance and him not being afraid of attempting to completely change the way in which our society portrays religion. He wasn't scared of standing up to the commonly accepted fact that religion is a taboo subject and shouldn't be criticized.

I'd wish him to rest in peace but I guess it would be kinda an offense to him.

Posted by Penzilneck

@imsh_pl: I'm reminded of what he said, reportedly, in the last line of a letter to a group he had to let down and cancel a lecture with, due to his illness. Simply, "Don't keep the faith."

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