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Books / September 11, 2010

gonzo

Ancient Gonzo Wisdom should be a perfect book: a collection of all the interviews Hunter S. Thompson ever gave. It begins with a talk Thompson gave on ABC News in 1967, shortly after Hell’s Angels was released. It ends with his last ever interview, a Playboy piece by eXiled contributor Tim Mohr, one of the best in the collection. Mohr had the reasonably good idea of giving Thompson a list of topics (“Violence,” “Nutrition,” “Reading,” “Firearms”) and letting him speak freely about them instead of framing the interview in questions. (After all, Thompson’s already been asked a million variations of “What role do drugs play in your writing?” and “What are your views on objectivity?”.)

My favourite one is “On Medicine”:

“A lot of doctors are reluctant to take responsibility for me. Nobody wants to be the doctor who killed Hunter Thompson. I don’t trust the medical establishment, but I do trust individual doctors. I’m straight with doctors. They have to learn that they can talk straight to me too. There’s no point in trying to conceal anything. I appreciate the ones who take risks on me, and I have to look out for the chickenshits.”

There, the latest evidence that Thompson was right up there with Beowulf, William Tell and the bogatyri. Telling a doctor outright you’re looking for drugs requires a heroic level of bravery, and getting drugs after admitting a fancy to them takes frightening eloquence. 356 pages of Thompson’s bravery and eloquence should be something to celebrate, right?

It would be, if pages xiii-xx weren’t written by Christopher Hitchens.

I don’t know why Hitchens was selected to write the introduction to Ancient Gonzo Wisdom, since he admits that he was “only twice a visitor to Owl Farm and mustn’t exaggerate the extent of [his] acquaintance with the good Doctor.” In other words, he knew Thompson only slightly better than a nagging autograph hound, and the introduction ought to have been written by Ralph Steadman or Johnny Depp. Even Pat Buchanan would have done a better job. Unfortunately, for some stupid reason, Anita Thompson allowed Hitchens to write a strychnine-soaked introduction smearing her dead husband and then published it. And, as we’ll see, it’s not like Hitchens’ insults are particularly subtle.

Hitchens’ introduction starts in a tone of condescending pity, with some fake chumminess stirred in. He claims that on their first meeting, Thompson “seemed somewhat restless and discontented and – at least to me, who knew the symptoms of boredom so well because they terrified me too – to be confronted with a certain quotient of anomie.” What this means, once you suck out the purple, is: ‘Hunter was a lot like me, but I pity him because I know he wasn’t really happy.’ Hitch, if you’re really Thompson’s long lost twin, then prove it: name one person Thompson stabbed in the back, one situation where Thompson declared someone his friend, mentor or blood-brother, only to change his mind at a later date.

Hitchens then claims that Thompson didn’t commit suicide because of, say, Bush’s re-election (an embarrassing claim to make for a Republican shill) but because of “the strain imposed on him by visitors who wanted him to be outrageous.” The gloat continues:

“This of course happens to so many veterans and celebrities, but I fear that it may have had an especially enervating effect on someone to whom the authenticity and spontaneity of the moment had always been so essential. If you, dear reader, should ever have the opportunity of viewing the documentary Breakfast with Hunter, you will perhaps be able to guess what I mean. Wherever he goes, and whoever he meets in this film, he is under pressure to perform, to be “Hunter,” to do something “Gonzo.” One can detect, in a certain dullness in his eye, a weariness with all this and a wish to be released from the demands of stereotype. There are also some episodes of rudeness and ill-temper which strike me as opportunities, gratefully if ineptly seized, to alleviate the general tedium of life. I write these sentences with the benefit – surely that is exactly the wrong word – of hindsight, but I was not the only one to become aware that Dr. Thompson was privately construing the old word “freedom” as “free doom” or in other words as the absolute and individual right to determine the time and place of one’s own final exit.”

De-Johnsonised, this means: “I predicted it! I predicted Hunter Thompson’s suicide! Aren’t I clever? I wish I could say I was the fucking reincarnation of Nostradamus, but they’re paying me to be an atheist and everything so that’s not quite an option. Yep, I knew all along he was depressed, though you’d have to take my word for it. I’m so shit hot I can detect suicidal intent in a person’s facial expressions years before they shoot themselves.” It’s hard to imagine a more disgusting ‘tribute’ than this, full of self-referencing parenthetical clauses and snide little convolutions. “Dear reader”? No real admirer would describe a fallen hero with that Humbert-Humbert lilt. “One can detect… a wish to be released from the demands of stereotype”? Hitch wants to say “I could tell he wanted to kill himself,” but doesn’t want to put it too immodestly. “Gratefully if ineptly seized”? Better to say that Hitch’s account of the suicide is gratefully if ineptly written.

hitch_2

Christopher Hitchens: He lived as a literary thief, and will soon die a chickenshit’s death

He keeps this up for another four pages. Living in the “dreary shallows” after the “great cresting wave of the nineteen-sixties” was “Hunter’s fate.” Nobody could tell “when Hunter was, and was not, joking” and this “may be one of the reasons that the good Doctor eventually succumbed to terminal weltschmerz.” Hitchens suggests that Thompson brought the whole thing on himself by being funny. Who never gets blamed, though, is Bush. This is suspicious, considering that in the last interview published before his suicide, given in November 2004, Thompson says: “This is the darkest hour that I have ever seen in my long experience as an American.” And he reiterates: “You’ve got to vote now in self-defence. If we have another administration like this, it will be so bad that what’s happening now will look like a small breakfast for what’s coming next.”

Finally, a younger Thompson, in 1977, when asked “Where do you want to be when you’re fifty years old?” says: “Down with the maggots, with the sharks. If I ever got to be fifty years old, I’d be so confused I’d probably go into EST or something. To have lived this long has seriously disoriented me.” Obviously, Thompson stayed in good form much longer than he predicted, and didn’t see any reason to live through Bush’s second term.

Hitchens might’ve predictably jumped over to Obama’s side in late 2008, but that hasn’t stopped his denial of any wrongdoing on Bush’s part. In February, he wrote a Vanity Fair article “lamenting” Gore Vidal’s turn to a “crackpot strain” of “crank-revisionist” writing. We essentially have the old ‘conspiracy theorist’ slur. Not only that, but he launches every possible attack against Vidal, no matter how corny. Hitch was “fortunate enough to know Vidal” in earlier days, but “the price of knowing him was exposure to some of his less adorable traits, which included… a very, very minor tendency to bring up the Jewish question in contexts where it didn’t quite belong.” Good grief, he’s a mild anti-Semite! There’s nothing – not murder, not rape, not puppy abuse – as damningly evil as mild anti-Semitism! I mean, Hitler was sort of near to being a mild anti-Semite himself, so mild anti-Semites are almost down there with Hitler!

According to Hitch’s smear, not only is Vidal too partial to the Third Reich, but he’s entering his second childhood. Signs of this senility include dismissing John Updike and William F. Buckley, as well as calling dear old England “an American aircraft carrier.” Why are these opinions insane or unacceptable? Because Hitchens says so.

But Hitchens is stupid enough to reveal why he suddenly hates his old mentor so much. It seems the author of Myra Breckinridge, to his credit, has caused Hitch rather a lot of pain. And this is the remark that did it:

“You know, he identified himself for many years as the heir to me. And unfortunately for him, I didn’t die.”

Vidal’s obviously not as senile as Hitch wants us to think. At 84, he still knows how to make his ungrateful protégé squirm. Hitchens must have felt a pang of self-recognition when he read that comment, because he categorically denies there’s anything witty about it. There’s so much cold sweat on his body, you just want to lick the little cane toad:

One report of the event said this not-so-rapier-like reply had the audience in “stitches.”

Yes, “stitches” in quotation marks. What’s the matter, Hitch? Can’t accept an audience laughing at your expense? Yeah, you’re right. They were only humouring old Gore. Nobody would really laugh at such a “not-so-rapier-like reply.” Totally against human neurology. Everyone knows comebacks are only funny when made by you, Martin Amis, or Julian Barnes. (All in all, if Hitchens’ smear job doesn’t give you the warmest feelings for Gore Vidal you’ve ever felt, there’s something wrong with you.)

His attack on Hunter S. Thompson is basically the same. After feigning sadness over Thompson’s suicide for four pages, Hitchens deploys the same conspiracy-theorist accusations we’ve seen with Vidal:

On the other hand (as Fay Wray actually did entitle her autobiography) when “it doesn’t work, man, it’s horrible.” Here is Hunter, using the same crap methods that would make any basement-dwelling paranoid into a master strategist, and analysing the real story behind September 11, 2001, for some rather indulgent reviewer from Australia:

“Well, I saw the US government was going to benefit, and the White House, the Republican administration to take the mind of the public off the crashing economy. Now you want to keep in mind that every time a person named Bush gets into office, the nation goes into a drastic recession, as they call it.”

This gives paranoia a bad name, and one feels the cringe as the interviewer wraps up with the condescending summary that this was “US journalist Hunter S. Thompson with a very personal and idiosyncratic view of September 11.”

You’ll notice that despite supposedly having “crap methods” and resembling a “basement-dwelling paranoid,” Thompson doesn’t make anything close to a wild claim. He’s not saying that Bush orchestrated the 9/11 attacks. He’s not even saying that Bush deliberately neglected warnings by the FBI (though this is more likely). All he says is that Bush stood to benefit from the attacks and exploited them to raise his approval ratings. Later, Thompson tells his interviewer that he refuses to commemorate the first anniversary of the attacks or stoop to “flag-sucking.” Instead he plans to “grab Anita and take a road trip.” That short response has more balls than anything Hitchens has ever written.

(And what’s with all this talk about “some rather indulgent interviewer from Australia”? It’s “indulgent,” apparently, to ask a person for their opinion and let them express it. Hitchens also seems to think that mentioning the reporter’s Australianness is an effective way to discredit him, a classic Fox-News-style tactic. All Australians, see, are a mob of know-nothing pissheads with no hope of understanding what it means to be American after 9/11. Not like Hitch!)

Hitchens’ parasitism isn’t unique. His long-time crush, Martin Amis, has the same career-building strategy: getting his hands on as many father figures as possible. The main reason people noticed Amis in the first place was because he had a successful novelist for a father. So, he figured the more daddies, the better. The mileage he got from Amis Sr. wasn’t going to last forever, after all. He was quite successful with Saul Bellow. I still remember his introduction to More Die of Heartbreak, describing how he and Bellow visited a world conference of “Bellovians.” Amis can’t resist mentioning how Bellow confided in him that he found the papers boring. Surely this was a sign that he was the chosen heir. Then again, set against a mouldering mass of Herzog specialists, anyone could have been Bellow’s chosen heir.

Martin Kinglsey Amis

Cheeseball Martin Amis (left) meows at the camera while posing with his famous novelist daddy, Kingsley Amis (right)

But Amis’ most successful grab was Nabokov. Everyone associates Amis with Nabokov, though no one is entirely sure why – they just assume there’s some kind of deep connection. The Guardian gave him the job of reviewing The Original of Laura when it came out last year. He’s written the introduction to the Everyman Lolita. I’ve heard him called “Nabokov’s heir” a million times: in the culture sections of big newspapers; on Amazon; in conversations with journalism students and book club presidents. A present-day Dictionary of Received Ideas would doubtlessly have an entry reading “Amis, Martin (1949-): expert on Islam; source of healthy controversy; adopted son of Nabokov.” I imagine Amis spent most of his youth lost in a single daydream of sitting on his trophy daddy’s lap, having his cheeks pinched and his hair ruffled (at the very least), and, after hours of fondling, hearing the most magical word in the world: “synochik.” (In my own generation, Y, a lot of people had the same designs on Updike.)

Unfortunately, Nabokov did the same thing to Amis that “Rabbit” did to every literary careerist born between 1980 and 1990. He died before Amis became a major writer, or anything other than “Kingsley’s son.” The ultimate snub! If Amis had been born 17 years early, he would have been perfectly positioned to leech off Nabokov and still find warm blood – it worked for Updike and Pynchon. But, with his idol lurking around the big playground in the sky, Marty was in a bit of a fix.

Luckily, women tend to live for about a decade longer than men and prospective trophy daddies often leave widows behind. As Anita Thompson’s case demonstrates, widows aren’t necessarily sharp enough to notice leeches and tell them to get fucked. So, in 1981, Amis interviewed Vera Nabokov and Dmitri (the real synochik.) The Observer article that came out of this, “Visiting Mrs. Nabokov,” isn’t very long and doesn’t give readers much they can’t find in Strong Opinions. Amis spends a great deal of time distracting readers from just how brief his encounter was: a paragraph on how Vera offered him a drink, another on how she insisted on paying for the booze, a few paragraphs on stuff everyone already knows about Nabokov’s relocations from Pityer to Berlin to Paris to New York. As for original information: Vera mentions her petty disputes with various editors and academics; she gets offended at any suggestion that Nabokov had flaws (calling him “good” is an insult in her book); and she tells an unexceptional story of how she met him and fell in love – her father was one of Nabokov’s publishers.

The interview ends with one of the most useless question and answer exchanges I’ve ever read:

Eventually, she said, ‘These questions you will ask. Where are these questions?’

‘Well, there were one or two things,’ I said. ‘Your husband dedicated all his books to you, every one. That’s very unusual, isn’t it?’

‘Is it? … What should I answer? We had a very unusual relationship. But that you knew before you asked. Anything else?’

‘Was he – was he great fun?’ I asked helplessly. ‘Were there lots of jokes? Did you laugh a lot?’

‘Oh, yes. His humour was delightful. He was delightful,’ said Mrs Nabokov. ‘But that you knew too.’

All in all, Amis’s meeting with Mrs. Nabokov could have happened in less than an hour, and judging by the padding, it probably did. It wouldn’t be remotely interesting if it wasn’t for the way Amis used it to build a career. In 1993, two years after Vera’s death, he shamelessly released a book called Visiting Mrs. Nabokov: And Other Excursions. Everything implied by that title is a lie. If “Visiting Mrs. Nabokov” is supposed to be the book’s main essay, it sure doesn’t look like it – his interviews with Greene, Burgess, and Updike are longer, with more original information, and the book has large essays on mutually assured destruction and the 1988 Republican Convention that are at least passably interesting. Mentioning “other excursions” is just as misleading. It gives the impression that Amis’s 60-minute interview (which took place entirely within the Montreux Palace Hotel) was some kind of epic butterfly hunt through the rolling Swiss countryside.

In fact, I doubt Amis even wants people to read Visiting Mrs. Nabokov – the title is the part that does all the work. People see it on a bibliography page and assume his “excursion” was important enough to become the title of an essay collection. Nobody knows what’s important about it, but that’s the whole point. Only a minority of readers would bother with a book of essays – it’s novels that sell – so Visiting Mrs. Nabokov isn’t really a book, so much as a meme. And it’s worked extremely well, giving Amis the third daddy he’s always wanted.

I’m not going to overrate Nabokov: my admiration for him peaked at 18 and has steadily receded ever since. At the moment, I think of him as a highbrow, Eurotrash version of Ayn Rand. Most of his books (aside from Lolita) are a 50-50 cross between The Fountainhead and Finnegans Wake. There’s always a sensitive, intelligent libertarian protagonist fighting an evil mob of looters and straw-man communists. We know he’s sensitive and intelligent because he makes lots of observations and puns involving butterflies, which, like nymphets, are invisible to looters. The looters torment him until he becomes a martyr for libertarianism. Bend Sinister, Pale Fire, and Invitation to a Beheading all have the same hackneyed plot with prose soaked in Tyrian purple.

The question is, does Amis really write like Nabokov? Is it Nabokovian to write: “a low-slung Tomahawk full of black guys came sharking out of lane and sloped in fast across our bows”? How about: “The people ahead of me are all Venusians, pterodactyls, men and women from an alternative time-stream.”? Hmm, pterodactyls. Wasn’t there a much better writer who used reptile motifs to describe crowds of people and shark motifs to describe cars? Who also wrote a book about drug-sozzled misadventures in hotel rooms and airports? Yep. Amis’s way to seem original is to take two or so authors as official influences and adulterate their styles with a phantom third. To middlebrows, this makes him look like he’s ‘maturing’ and ‘departing from his roots.’ Hiding influences is just as important to the good careerist as snatching father figures.

Unlike Amis, Hitchens can’t stop acknowledging his debt to Hunter S. Thompson. There’s a weird Spice Girls structure to the Oxbridge “Blitcons” (a shortening of “British literary conservatives”) that Hitchens is a member of. Julian Barnes is ‘Froggy Blit,’ Ian McEwan is ‘Nerdy Blit,’ Salman Rushdie is ‘Curry Blit,’ Martin Amis is ‘Celebrity Blit,’ and Christopher Hitchens is ‘Gonzo Blit.’ The duties of Gonzo Blit include submitting to safe-word-protected waterboarding, bullying Arab youths, pretending to be a Bob Dylan fan, and, according to The Guardian, “courageously” asking people not to pray for him during cancer treatment (which shouldn’t matter to an atheist anyway). This is all pretty hardcore for Amis, though, when he claims that Hitchens is an all-round tough who ‘likes the smell of cordite’ (probably unaware the stuff’s been obsolete for over 50 years).

If Hitchens was simply a leech like Amis, or just another third-rate Thompson imitator, he wouldn’t be worth writing about. But he’s not content just to claim people as mentors – he has to betray them for even more leverage. In his introduction to Ancient Gonzo Wisdom, he mentions a rumour he heard at boarding school that, after the JFK assassination, Lyndon Johnson “had been discovered… gleefully fornicating in his deceased predecessor’s head wound.” The young Hitchens must have taken this as career advice.

Ramon Glazov lives and writes in Perth, Western Australia. Email him at “ramonglazov at gmail dot com”

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96 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. Peter  |  September 11th, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    If this is actually Dolan, I advise taking all this literary gossip you have and putting it in a book. Hell, if this isn’t Dolan, I suggest Dolan do the same. I can’t imagine the writing of it would take much time, and it could make decent money, even if it gets published by a smaller press. It’s not like the asshole hipsters like good writers themselves, but there’s a faction of them that loves to see famous literary writers get shat on.

  • 2. Allen  |  September 11th, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    Wow, so it is possible for me to hate Christopher Hitchens even more. How about that.

  • 3. Padilla  |  September 11th, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    Superb…

  • 4. gyges  |  September 12th, 2010 at 12:53 am

    Gonzo journalism is so passé

    Gonzo Terror is this century.

    Gonzo Terrorism is a style of journoterrorism which is written subjectively, often including the reporter as part of the story via a first person narrative. The style tends to blend misrepresentative and fictional elements to emphasize an underlying message and engage the reader. The word Gonzo was first used in 1970 to describe an article by Hunter S. Thompson, who later popularized the style. The term has since been applied to other subjective artistic endeavours.

    Gonzo Terrorism tends to favour style over accuracy and often uses personal experiences and emotions to provide context for the topic or event being covered. It is exemplified by the fabricated product favoured by newspaper and television media and strives for the gritty fantasy fear factor. Use of selective quotes, outright lies, exaggeration, and even racism is common. The use of Gonzo Terrorism portends that journalism is increasingly untruthful and without objectivity and is rarely if ever equivalent to reality.

  • 5. Tam  |  September 12th, 2010 at 1:51 am

    ‘The main reason people noticed Amis in the first place was because he had a successful novelist for a father.’

    You’re being far too generous. Not the main reason, the ONLY reason. (I never thought it would be me telling the Exile you’re not putting the boot in hard enough…)

    Amis, Hitchens and co are all vile courtiers who’ve got where they are by knowing which nasty neocons to suck up to and attacking the vulnerable.

    It’s amazing they’re seen as Britain’s most significant literary exports, when you think we’ve got people like Alan Moore, Philip Pullman and so on, who are at least as intelligent and thought provoking and sell far better

    Here’s an article by the great Chris Morris which goes into some more detail about what a waste of space these people are

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/nov/25/bookscomment.religion

  • 6. учти  |  September 12th, 2010 at 6:01 am

    Take em all down

  • 7. Wilson  |  September 12th, 2010 at 7:51 am

    Nice takedown. I never could understand why Hitchens was always invited to be a political talking head. He was about as insightful as any other half-drunk in a common bar.

  • 8. GollyGee  |  September 12th, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Good post. Nice insights and brutal takedowns.

    Every time I think The Exiled is about done for, that not much is being posted here anymore, then something like this shows up.

    synochic?

  • 9. Peter  |  September 12th, 2010 at 8:37 am

    The LBJ rumor wasn’t a rumor – it was a Paul Krassner piece in his totally out there hipster magazine-newsletter-pamphlet _The Realist_.

  • 10. hubai  |  September 12th, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Still, Hitchens is known all around the world, whereas noone knows the name of Ramon Glazov, or for that matter of myself. we’re fuckin losers. Which is why I worship Hitchens. It’s a good reason to worship him too. For example, i also worship Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie because they’re names are known around the world. Makes me a maverick to admit it.

  • 11. susan galea  |  September 12th, 2010 at 9:45 am

    This is the most venomous and unnecessary attack on Hitch I’ve ever read. I think it speaks to this commentator’s motivation and is unwarranted. Hitch is the finest political essayist writing today. Not sure what this is really about; suffice to say, I can find no reason for this diatribe in the text. No evidence. No reason. No sense. Just angry and unpleasant ranting.

  • 12. Romona  |  September 12th, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Ramon is one of the most petty and self righteous motherfuckers. Eat your own bullshit Ramon

  • 13. Cobblers  |  September 12th, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    Nice hatchet job. Couldn’t it wait until after Hitch was dead? Nah.

    PS: I’m not angry. No seriously, I’m not angry. I haven’t tried posting 20 comments and I”m not angry. Oh, and Finnegan’s Wake has an apostrophe, but you already knew that didn’t you.

  • 14. Czechnik  |  September 12th, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    You know that someone’s seriously bothered by an article when they go through the hassle of posting a comment that reads something like “What a boring article.” You’ll have to get used to idiots like that soon Ramon. I wanted more Ramon, less comments from nobodies like me.

  • 15. George Herbert's collar  |  September 12th, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    Could we have less moaning about poor Hitch not deserving this and more marvellous hate pls

  • 16. Vyacheslav Potemkin of Australia.  |  September 12th, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Pynchon attended Nabokov’s English class at Cornel and perhaps stated so an interview, to claim it’s tantamount to the other parasitic relationships you present is offensive.

    By proxy-once-removed, you have compared Thomas Pynchon to Christopher Hitchens.

    There is no emoticon for the rage I am feeling!

  • 17. Mike  |  September 12th, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    Hitchens tends to adhere himself to things more interesting than he (e.g. “Why Orwell Matters,” the three OTHER [better] prominent atheist authors).

    It’s unfortunate that he’s dying, but it’s hard to sympathize with an apologist for a protracted and inexplicable war. Sparring with his effigy on a blog page isn’t really far from the man’s own playbook, either. The timing is a bit tacky and cheap. In other words, it’s apt.

  • 18. Ashcroft  |  September 12th, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    Nice one. Got some hate from Hitch’s fans, too, which is always a sign of a bullseye.

  • 19. Kyle  |  September 13th, 2010 at 2:14 am

    Uh, not really seeing what you’re talking about in reference to Hitchens’ “prediction” of Thompson’s suicide. It’s very obvious by the context that Hitchens meant for a change in lifestyle (more anonymity for example) rather than a suicide.

    Not a fan of Hitchens but that was a bit ridiculous. Call a spade a spade but don’t dig yourself a hole with it.

  • 20. CapnMarvel  |  September 13th, 2010 at 4:37 am

    Excellent work. Ignoring Hunter’s insight and perception and narrowing one’s view to his ‘gonzo’, his drugs, and his death is typical beigist tactics. To see one of his ‘protoges’ (who actually couldn’t have ended up further from the teacher) engage in it is just sickening. Hunter wasn’t perfect and a cold-eyed discussion of his faults may have been educational, but Hitchens couldn’t be bothered. He resorted to talking points out of either laziness, political expediency (don’t listen to that ol’ Hunter – he was ‘suicidal’ and I could see it for YEARS!!), or opportunism. Hunter had the guts to go out on his own terms, having just heard the voice of the woman he loved, in his own backyard, and quick. Tell me that isn’t preferable over a slow metamorphosis into a pupae state broadcast live on national television.

  • 21. matt  |  September 13th, 2010 at 6:27 am

    @11

    You suck. “Finest political essayist writing today”? Bullshit; his writing is awful and you’re a dupe for thinking otherwise. Fuck off.

  • 22. andy  |  September 13th, 2010 at 7:49 am

    @matt What a clever criticism you’ve come up with, “his writing is awful”? Even if you think he is wrong about everything, the imaginary place in the sky, the Iraq/Afghan war, you would still be hard pressed to find an awful piece of Hitch’s writings. Disliking someone (for reasons I cannot possibly think of, he drinks alot? He’s famous?) is not grounds for deeming his life’s work awful. Nobody get’s to where he is being by being a bad writer.

    If you have an example of Hitch’s writings and a thoughtful critique, let’s hear it. Otherwise lose the temper and work on being more original. He has spent his entire life working to help people understand the dream of being free, challenging those who oppose it, and producing some of the most brilliant essays of our time. What the fuck have you done?

  • 23. Genius  |  September 13th, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Although Martin Amis is a disgrace as a human being, two books –Money and London Fields– make him worthy of living. Hitchens is just useless.

  • 24. The Groke  |  September 13th, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Someone’s comment above was so idiotic I don’t know what you mods don’t edit it. And seriously, Finnegan’s Wake has an apostrophe. It’s either possessive or a contraction.

  • 25. The Groke  |  September 13th, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    You originally published this with Finnegans Wake, but it’s Finnegan’s Wake. I keep reading the article and can’t help but comment, because the commenter (that is, me) is a twit. All I’m doing is massaging your egos, I wish I could massage your backs too. In all of history, can you make someone else look stupider than I really am? I’m a wanker.

  • 26. Cobblers  |  September 13th, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Dear Jesus Christ, I rewrote my comment because You thought I was expressing retarded thoughts. O Jesus, I thank thee that You hath slain the execrable Hitch with thine cancer hathet. I was being moronic. Whatever. Drinking my own saliva is not a bad idea. I might want to stop doing that.

  • 27. Myf  |  September 13th, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Hahaha Imagine defending Christopher Hitchens, i’m wondering if you can — a real line I just invented thanks to myself and some mentors

  • 28. A. M.  |  September 13th, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    @13 Finnegans Wake does not have an apostrophe you illiterate boob. Perhaps you should read it at least so far as the cover page some time.

  • 29. Hitchisfag  |  September 13th, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    RULE FOR INTROS TO HUNTER BOOKS-

    You must be deemed worthy of doing drugs with Hunter. If you ain’t then you got no business doing the intro for one of his books.

    As for Hitchens, that fat, sellout faggot needs to be shot out of the same cannon as Hunter for talking all that shit about him.

  • 30. Fischbyne  |  September 13th, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    I read Hitchens’ bit about Gore Vidal and was astounded it was not more widely ridiculed, so thanks for filling the void. “Gore said I was his heir! Gore said I was his heir! He can’t deny it now!” It was a strange and desperate argument from someone who obviously knew his essays do not compete.

  • 31. matt  |  September 13th, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    @22

    One of the other commentators called Hitch the “Finest political essayist writing today” and I still say that’s bullshit. He’s a careerist and his support for invading Afghanistan and Iraq is clear proof of that. And I still say that Hitch’s highly parenthetical, contradictory, and pompous writing is awful.

    Norman Finkelstein did a great job of taking Hitchens apart a few years ago:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/finkelstein09102003.html

    Oh and saying that Hitchens is responsible for “producing some of the most brilliant essays of our time” is, like my first comment, an opinion that you haven’t backed up with examples. Either back up what you say with examples of how great his support for war and imperialism are, or read more so that Hitchens isn’t you’re shining example of the power of the written word.

  • 32. matt  |  September 13th, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Shit I can’t believe I forgot this. Dolan wrote two articles about Hitchens. Both show what a hack Hitchens has been and that Dolan is far more interesting to read than the Hitch.

    http://exiledonline.com/hitchens-gets-waterboarded-withdraws-from-iraq-in-11-seconds/

    http://exiledonline.com/big-brothers-george-orwell-and-christopher-hitchens-exposed/

  • 33. AR  |  September 13th, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    @ andy. You want awful writing? How about “surely exactly the wrong word”? You can’t find the right word? Grab a dictionary and a thesaurus! Don’t mangle your words to mean both the opposite and nothing at the same time.

    The problem with a lot of writers these days is that they don’t live life–they write it (see Jonathan Franzen). At least Hemingway, Vollmann, Orwell, and Thompson went out into the world, experienced it, and wrote about it.

    You can argue their literary merits, but at least they weren’t gazing out of their behinds.

  • 34. AR  |  September 13th, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    Hitch may think that he forecast Thompson’s suicide, but Thompson wrote Hitch’s obit decades before the world knew Hitch:

    “Journalism is not a profession or a trade. It is a cheap catch-all for fuckoffs and misfits-a false doorway to the backside of life, a filthy piss-ridden little hole nailed off by the building inspector, but just deep enough for a wino to curl up from the sidewalk and masturbate like a chimp in a zoo-cage.” ( Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas)

    Maybe this should be included in a posthumous introduction to Hithens’ work. It would be Hunter’s karmic justice from beyond the grave.

  • 35. FagHitch  |  September 13th, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    Hey 22,

    Iraq and Aghanistan ain’t free. They’re shitholes with shitty religious retards blowing themselves up. All Bush did was introduce anarchy above a well-managed dictatorship and theocracy. No amount of obsessing about “freeing the noble Arab savages and making them noble Democraciests” is going to do shit over there, they were born as insane animals and will die insane animsl. Trying to get them not to blow each other up is like trying to teach bears not to bite off your hand by repeatedly waving it in front of them covered in honey while shocking them with a cattle prod when they get too close.

  • 36. Tam  |  September 13th, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    @31 – matt

    Good link. Thanks!

    The depressing thing is how the political apostates never even get called out.

    Orwell’s later stuff was actually often pretty reactionary, right wing and sucking up to his establishment friends, (1984 is, taken at face value, just one long exercise in commie bashing) but he was able to coast on his ‘left wing’ rep by that point.

    I suspect Christopher Hitchens also noticed this when he was writing his biography of Orwell and realised it was a lucrative career path…

  • 37. h  |  September 14th, 2010 at 5:31 am

    I like the way my comment makes me look like an idiot. and i sure am one.
    but.
    i worship Hitchens, I’m just saying he’s been – if nothing else – a good mortician. yeah, he’s a pretty disgusting person, but i wanted to get on top of him (as far as a comment can) and in my fantasies i did.

  • 38. empire in decline  |  September 14th, 2010 at 6:36 am

    Christopher Hitchens, a man whose thirst for sand nigger blood is insatiable, was allowed to write for a man who said the following:

    “We have become a Nazi monster in the eyes of the whole world, a nation of bullies and bastards who would rather kill than live peacefully. We are not just Whores for power and oil, but killer whores with hate and fear in our hearts. We are human scum, and that is how history will judge us. No redeeming social value. Just whores. Get out of our way, or we’ll kill you. Who does vote for these dishonest shitheads? Who among us can be happy and proud of having all this innocent blood on our hands? Who are these swine? These flag-sucking half-wits who get fleeced and fooled by stupid little rich kids like George Bush? They are the same ones who wanted to have Muhammad Ali locked up for refusing to kill gooks. They speak for all that is cruel and stupid and vicious in the American character. They are the racists and hate mongers among us; they are the Ku Klux Klan. I piss down the throats of these Nazis. And I am too old to worry about whether they like it or not. Fuck them.”

    Christopher Hitchens betrayed anyone who had the tiniest hope of having an internationalist with an abstract sympathy for humanity actually having a voice in the mainstream. If you actually cared about all those people who suffered and died because of this country’s monstrously parasitic foreign policy you know he betrayed you in the worst and most vile way possible.

    Hunter S. Thompson realized that the people are callous, apathetic, selfish and hateful and likely killed himself because of vermin like Christopher Hitchens. The fact that he was allowed to write in a book containing Thompson’s thoughts and beliefs was just a another fucking nail in the coffin for the human race.

    How is it so fucking hard to know the people who actually care from the people who don’t? Abbie Hoffman gave a shit and when he invested his heart and soul during the 60s in the naive belief that humanity would be good when given enough power and information he ultimately killed himself when he finally saw the truth.

    Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky actually cared about humanity so their political relevancy has been consigned to oblivion where it has no affect on policy because the wonderful abstract concept of the “people” liberals and leftist went on about for two centuries are too busy having sex, having a family, getting a career and making money to pay attention to the rest of the human race.

    That’s another major betrayal by Christopher Hitchens. People like Chomsky believe the people are good because they believe the goodness that resides in themselves resides in others and it tints their entire worldview and ultimately makes them wrong. Hitchens was the only real chance to have a cynical, polemical, antagonistic person on the left who could intellectualy chastize the people for being hateful trash. Chomsky and Zinn couldn’t be that way because it would rot their souls and make everyone hate them. Christopher Hitchens could’ve taken that hit and given someone like me as well as others — since I can’t be the only one that feels this way — someone to cheer from the sidelines, but instead he debased himself by groveling before the American people and appealing to their worst sentiments.

    And he retreated into religious philosophy like a fucking coward when those corpses started piling up in Iraq. He didn’t have to bother hiding really, it’s not like anyone on the left cared enough to seriously call him out on it.

  • 39. Adrian Newey  |  September 14th, 2010 at 8:07 am

    Great piece. Keep it up.

  • 40. Anarchy 99 "Mr. Carbike"  |  September 14th, 2010 at 8:41 am

    Mike — spot on comment. “Cheap and tacky”.

    Hitch, I piss on your grave. May Saddam, Uday and Qusay gangrape you in hell.

  • 41. Connors  |  September 14th, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    “Hitchens was the only real chance to have a cynical, polemical, antagonistic person on the left who could intellectualy chastize the people for being hateful trash.”

    Great comment altogether. I think that’s why many of us hate Hitchens so much. He was perfectly positioned to be the great polemical voice of the Left, and then he totally fucking betrayed us, not to mention HST.

  • 42. zhubajie  |  September 14th, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    “It’s amazing they’re seen as Britain’s most significant literary exports, when you think we’ve got people like Alan Moore, Philip Pullman and so on, who are at least as intelligent and thought provoking and sell far better”

    Not to mention all the SF and fantasy writers!

  • 43. zhubajie  |  September 14th, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    “It’s unfortunate that he’s dying,”

    “but it’s hard to sympathize with an apologist for a protracted and inexplicable war.”

    Too true.

  • 44. zhubajie  |  September 14th, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    “It’s unfortunate that he’s dying,”

    Happens to’em all.

    “but it’s hard to sympathize with an apologist for a protracted and inexplicable war.”

    Too true.

  • 45. zhubajie  |  September 14th, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    “Disliking someone (for reasons I cannot possibly think of, he drinks alot? He’s famous?)”

    Because he’s a Limie parasite leeching off those stupid Americans who are still colonials at heart.

  • 46. zhubajie  |  September 14th, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    With any luck, Hitches will be reincarnated as an Iraqi. Maybe an Iraqi dog.

  • 47. James Joyce  |  September 14th, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    In Ireland, apostrophes are only used to open beer bottles. I thought everyone knew that.

    As much as I’ve come to hate Hitchens for his sellout to the neocons, he’s still less annoying to read than a certain other author. Can’t quite recall the guy’s name, John Dylan, Dulan, something like that.

    Maybe “Ramon” could give us some analysis of this author’s annoying journalistic habits, such as his incessant whining about his lovelorn youth, along with his constant bitching about authors more successful than himself (which is to say, nearly all of them).

    Not to mention the sheer intellectual cowardice implied by his constant use of pseudonyms (except, of course, when he’s writing something that would actually pass muster with his left-wing academic colleagues).

    No, “Ramon” probably has better things to do on, there on the plane of nonexistence.

  • 48. Erik  |  September 15th, 2010 at 4:41 am

    Wow, that’s one gawdawesome hatchet job! Well done, Mr Glazov.

  • 49. Bill Rush  |  September 15th, 2010 at 9:04 am

    That no talent Hitchens writing the introduction to a book about Hunter S. Thompson is about as digusting as that no talent piece of trash Paul Giamatti playing Philip K. Dick in a biopic.

    What do we learn from all this? That scum will always exploit and distort heroes after they pass away.

  • 50. Liberty Valence  |  September 15th, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    “We are not just Whores for power and oil, but killer whores with hate and fear in our hearts. We are human scum, and that is how history will judge us. No redeeming social value. Just whores.”

    In general, I have found whores not to be very aggressive.

  • 51. RedBastardGod  |  September 15th, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Nothing makes me happier than knowing Gore Vidal will outlive Christopher Hitchens.

  • 52. Connors  |  September 15th, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    James Joyce,

    Pretty sure it’s Ames who wrote this article, not Dolan. Can’t you tell the difference? Anyway, the eXile’s tradition of using wacky pseudonyms goes back to the original days of Taibbi and Ames in ’97. Don’t blame JD. I don’t think it has anything to do with cowardice…you can accuse the eXile of some things, but cowardice ain’t one of them.

  • 53. Connors  |  September 15th, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Vidal’s essays from the 70’s are some of the all time best, not to mention Julian and Burr. Each novel alone worth much more, certainly, than the collected works of Chris Hitchens. Will *anyone* bother to read Hitch’s old stuff (even God is Not Great) after he dies?

    I’m a huge HST fan, by the way, but nobody combined comedy, wit and intellectual sophistication as masterfully as Vidal.

  • 54. ThierryEnnui  |  September 16th, 2010 at 6:11 am

    Yup, it sure is easy to think Hitchens is a maverick bucking conventional wisdom. He’s for war in Kosovo, which really made him a maverick. He hated Clinton for having sex–very very maverick of Hitchens. He’s an atheist, which is, like, wow, seriously edgy. He was for the war in Iraq. But you see, atheists were mostly against the war in Iraq, so Hitchens is just so dang convention-bucking that I feel like a really edgy independent thinker just reading him! Yup.
    In conclusion, How dare he not think exactly like us! By “us” I mean sub-middlebrow dumbfucks like me.

  • 55. Geomon  |  September 16th, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    You know what I do when something I read offends the hell out of me? I post a comment on the site with the word “yawn.” Because that way, people will think I was bored, rather than offended. Get it? Yeah, I think it’s pretty clever of me too.

  • 56. rick  |  September 16th, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    I can’t parse all of the alleged intrigue in this article because, frankly, it sounds like the questions at hand are all matters of gossip and human interaction among people I couldn’t care less about, but I do know that Hitchens is one of the only people making much political racket who isn’t doing it as a social exercise.

    While almost every other commentator betrays themselves occasionally as being only in it to masturbate over the laudations they receive from the like-minded (which I personally think is the highest intellectual fraud one can commit): Hitchens seems to be one of the rare few that John Stuart Mill wouldn’t spit on if he were alive today.

    He is interested in espousing the truth as he sees it and really doesn’t seem like he measures his words in terms of how they’ll impact his social standing.

    (I love Ames and the exiled, but even its writing is calibrated to social concerns–albeit to a society of misanthropes, as we are–before truth)

  • 57. ThierryEnnui  |  September 17th, 2010 at 1:50 am

    Ha ha, marvellous! I’ll compliment you because my comment in its original form was even worse than in its imagined form. Who is challenging your bilious hate-piece? It is a bilious hate-piece, right? Because I’m pretty sure I know what a bilious hate piece is, and this seems pretty bilious hate-piece-y to me.
    I stated that Hitchens was a maverick. Simply that everyone who worships Hitchens has this idea that Hitchens is disliked even though he’s regularly published in all the top media outlets, regularly in the public eye on TV, and because he supports all the wars that the Establishment supports. I have an imaginary liberal media elitist in my head, and this imaginary liberal media elitist doesn’t like Hitchens because Hitchens is too goshdarned hard to pin down for said imaginary liberal media elitist. The ‘us’ I referred to was everyone who was disappointed with the reality: all of the “us” who think Hitchens is daring for angering imaginary liberal media elitists. We “us” fans of Hitchens really think we’re independent-minded and stickin’ it to the liberal elitists here. Perhaps my use of the word “perhaps” is “high-brow” enough for you, h’m?
    And you did it with me, too. You think I wouldn’t want to trade my throat for Hitchens’? Think again. But it looks to me like you just spat the throat cancer cell in your own face because you thought I thought that you thought that I thought that you thought that I thought that you thought that I thought that someone was more maverick than me.
    It’s ok, Hitchens is my prettiest princess!

  • 58. Vyacheslav Potemkin of Australia.  |  September 17th, 2010 at 2:07 am

    Gentlemen, this is all well and good, but is there any way that we can somehow bring this article to Hitchens’s unavoidable attention so that his final, remaining days are filled with blustering, jowl-shaking, embarrassing and defensive rage?

  • 59. ThierryEnnui  |  September 17th, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Stop punching yourself!

  • 60. John Drinkwater  |  September 18th, 2010 at 1:12 am

    “He is interested in espousing the truth as he sees it and really doesn’t seem like he measures his words in terms of how they’ll impact his social standing.”

    Aren’t you forgetting about how Christopher Hitchens sold his soul to the neocons and the Bush Administration in exchange for a much higher annual salary and four times the amount of media attention? Yeah, he’s not concerned about his ‘social standing’ at all!

  • 61. michael  |  September 18th, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    “Australianness is an effective way to discredit him, a classic Fox-News-style tactic.”

    You do realise that Rupert Murdoch is an Australian by birth? This seems like an unlikely tactic for a Fox employee.

  • 62. zhubajie  |  September 20th, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    “I stated that Hitchens was a maverick.”

    A maverick is a stray calf.

  • 63. J Janski  |  September 23rd, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Boo fucking hoo. Christopher Hitchens is 100 times the writer and social commentator you will ever be. If you read the book “Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson” you’ll see that most of his friends agree that Thompson was a victim of his own lifestyle. He couldn’t escape the Gonzo image he had set for himself, and it drove him into the ground. Shame on you for celebrating the sickness of a great man like Christopher Hitchens. You’re just trying to ride his wave. Do yourself and us a favor, and write about something you may actually know about.

  • 64. ThierryEnnui  |  September 24th, 2010 at 4:36 am

    I own a dictionary!

  • 65. zimtran  |  September 30th, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    This whole thing, comments and all, offended me so much that I’m going to pretend that I’m bored so that you all think I’m not offended. Ready? Watch me being not-offended: I’m about to fall asleep at my keyborad while typr ns.g ;,………

  • 66. Read More Amis  |  October 11th, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    ??This sheepshit pile of anti-Hitchens gibberish is all extra-literary. One of you said something about his interruptive syntax – and that’s about all we have after sixty-five of you hissing mutants dredged up these dumb projections from the darkness of your souls.

    …Yeah…Thompson would REALLY love you guys…

    Consider more anti-fascism in your politics, and learn to respect a baroque prose style.

  • 67. matt  |  October 13th, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    @66

    Anti-fascism in politics? You must not have read exiled online/the exile before. As far as a “baroque prose style” that sounds like complete bullshit to me. The whole point of the article is that Hitchens is a careerist. Many of his supposedly radical stances are not radical at all. More often than not, they are just ways to position himself in the public eye. His prose style–especially in his later years–covers up his lack of substance. In an earlier comment I pointed to this article by Finkelstein that I think sums all of this up very well:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/finkelstein09102003.html

  • 68. Bob olsen  |  October 14th, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    How dare you challenge every silly received idea that i subscribe to. Ramonglazov can suck my fat cock with the rest of you lame straight laced washouts. Chris hitchens dosed Anita with a date rape drug to get her approval, so who are you to judge? Oh that’s right you’re talented writers whom I read while i’m just a lonely commenter. That’s why everyone tells me “Go fuck yourself and take your god fearing christian, Muslim, bullshit with you and ram it up your self righteous ass” when I try to get them to hop into my white windowless utility van. Chris hitchens is more of woman then my mother told me she will ever try to be. My mother also said to me “FUCK YOU. I wish you were here right now so I could beat the shit out of you for posting your bullshit comments. Die you chickenshit motherfucker! Yes, you fucked me, and your dick felt like a glob of chickenshit!” that’s what my mommie said to me many times. I hope you show me some pity.

  • 69. João Pedro Veiga  |  December 10th, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    I would be lying with all my teeth if I claimed that the only thing that kept me going while reading this marvelous article by Ramon Glazov was the desperate assumption that it would, eventually, come to an end.

    Sadly, it eventually did.

    Many things could be said about this article but calling it “nothing but a piece of self-indulgent unfounded criticism that has none but the sole purpose of stirring up some controversy just for the sake it” certainly isn’t one of them.

    Hunter S. Thompson was, in fact, a great writer. In fact, not only was he a good writer, he was, most of all, a noble and brave funny human being. One of a kind. “Fear and Loathing in the Campaign Trail ’72” is my favorite book ever and was the book that first got me into politics. On the other hand, it was also the book that made me automatically lose all the faith I never had in politics.

    Ramon Glazov, despite having the misfortune of being named Ramon by his sadistic parents, is certainly someone who knows what he’s talking about and should be taken seriously when he feels the need to translate Mr. Hitchens’ words to a more common and proper colloquialism so us, common ignorant fuckholes, could understand what the hell is that British arrogant cancerous bastard babbling about. To your point, someone who dares using the words “succumbed” and “weltschmerz” in the same sentence is certainly someone you wouldn’t want to invite into your house and most certainly isn’t someone you would introduce to your seventeen year old daughter, that age when girls are so impressed by any man who exudes confidence, even if that confidence is discernible by any other person as faker than my girlfriend’s pleasure during our copulations.

    Also, I notice absolutely no malice in the fact that the author of this tremendous piece of Internet literature grabbed one of Mr. Hitchens’ presumably naive opinions, namely the one according to which it was the constant pressure that Hunter Thompson felt to act crazy everytime and everywhere that eventually contributed for his decision of committing suicide. Stating that it was just another way for Hitchens’ to claim his psychic powers, like he did, does not in any way reveal the level of pitiable childness that emanates from his writing.

    Any one with a common sense knows that ninety-four point three per cent of people who admire Thompson don’t do so because of his outrageous public personna and his bigger-than-Jesus consumption of illicit substances but do so because of his writing, especially because of his political writing. Right?

    Furthermore, the overall aggressive tone in the criticism of a man that will most presumably die in a matter of few days should not, in any way, be understood as one of those faux signs of hyper-masculinity, so common among premature ejaculators.

    It. Should. Not.

    Yes, many call Mr. Hitchens a traitor for changing his opinions on certain subjects. It should, however, be noted that Mr. Hitchens is one of those despicable men that have the annoying habit of admitting his wrongs when presented with new evidence and, as a result, upgrading his own perspectives on those same subjects.

    Is Mr. Hitchens an intelligent essayist? Far from it, I would in fact claim that he is nothing short of a genial one. However, he commited the mortal sin of being publicly recognized as an intellectual giant and we know that in the likes of most youngsters anyone who is famous is either a sell-out, a politically correct maverick or, worse, a Noam Chomsky.

    Yes, Christopher Hitchens is far from perfect. A human trait that Mr. Glazov (I can’t write your gipsy-natured first name without giggling… oh, schaddenfreude…) seems to not possess. Yes, Hitchens is full of shit but so are we all and, to a certain extent, so was Thompson. It would be stupid not to think that many of Thompson’s later mischiefs were nothing but mere spectacle. If you saw “Breakfast with Hunter” you’d know what I’m talking about. Still, I grant him the position of most important comic writer of the second half of the century, right next to Noam Chomsky.

    However, you are absolutely right: this is just my opinion and my opinion, obviously, is as valid as my girlfriend’s assurance that I am the best laid she ever had. In other words, it should be taken serious consideration. Oh… who am I kidding? Still, would you please be so kind as to make any sick joke about her? Heck, or even about my mother… after all, this is the Internet. How can I not get my feeling hurt over what some anonymous person says online? It’s like giving candy to blood-thirsy lions.

    Oh, wait…

  • 70. Sir Go-Fuck-Yourself of the Rectangular Table  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    It’s amazing just how hard I am reading this.

  • 71. Marion  |  May 26th, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    There’s just so much more to say about why Hitchens, that vicious cryptofascist backstabber portrayed as a safe, acceptable radical. So why spend half the essay on Amis? One subject per piece, please. Hell, write another on both of these guys. Or maybe dust off the ol’ Amis simulator to eulogize OBL. But I was hoping for more…

  • 72. Mike  |  June 1st, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    …And I thought I was the only one that understood Mr Hitchen’s hunger for power.

  • 73. Dodge  |  June 4th, 2011 at 6:33 am

    Well, that was utterly upsetting. And a particularly harrowing collection of ‘evidence’ against Christopher. I dream of being the writer you are.

  • 74. Chip  |  August 27th, 2011 at 12:37 am

    Anyone’s opinion is their own, but I do believe we shouldn’t dwell too hard on the differences held in fine minds. Christopher Hitchens although being blunt, presents a genuine statement for who someone is. Many writers are not capable of this. So keeping this in mind, and just for the argument itself; perhaps he was selected for the reason the opening reads as it does? The next question should be, if Hunter was to read such a critique, given his knowledge of Christopher Hitchens, how would he actually react? He never struck me as someone who would become irrationally upset in literary terms with a considered mind.

    I could quite easily, like the rest of us, be wrong in my take however how about also considering the background knowledge shared between these two minds as to give perhaps a greater insight into why they would consider in the way they did. e.g. the joint foundness of Mark Twain and similar authors. Perhaps on a level not percieved here from the appropriate angle Christopher Hitchens could quite rightly be considered the perfect person to write an introduction on the subject of Hunter S Thompson?

    Good Health.

  • 75. steven hunt  |  September 8th, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    I’m perplexed by this piece. Mr. Glazov rails against Hitchens for insulting the memory of HST in his [Hitchens’] introduction to the book. To make his point he offers a quote from said introduction which proves …. that Hitchens is not insulting HST at all! That in fact he clearly liked and respected HST. Quote after quote Mr. Glazov somehow manages to misconstrue. The basest motivation is attributed to the most innocuous observation. How on earth is it insulting to suggest, say, that HST wasn’t entirely happy? I don’t understand.

    I’m a big fan of both HST and Hitchens. I don’t like EVERYTHING about them. I don’t agree with ALL their positions. But I would think that anyone who appreciated one would appreciate the other. They’re both smart and articulate and have a great facility for the language. Hitchens isn’t as funny as HST, but who is? He’s witty; he’s English.

    It seems to me the author can’t accept anything other than pro/contra. He loves HST, so anything short of hagiography is deemed a crime.

  • 76. supervip  |  November 27th, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    >taking nabokov down a peg

    i love you, nomaybe homo

  • 77. supervip  |  November 27th, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    nabokov hated gays so i figure i can probably take a dick or two for the team

  • 78. John  |  December 18th, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    Wow – what a sad, pathetic attack by a jealous untalented hack.

    How pitiful it is to read such envy and hatred aimed at people whose talent and intellect leave you baffled, confused and lashing out – presumably due to your own literary failures and self loathing.

    You can try and tear people down Ramon, but Hitchen’s floor is your ceiling… the man had more class and intellect in his little finger than you have in your entire, quivering with rage, body and you know it. I hope your diatribe made you feel better about yourself – I’m guessing it didn’t though.

    Sad really.

  • 79. Hamish_NZ  |  February 4th, 2012 at 4:08 am

    Nice to hear an alternative opinion about Christopher, but have to say this article had a number of errors. I You got nothing on Christopher Hitchens or Martin, Salman etc. deluded….Thank you for not trollcing me with AEC Brand Trollicide Spray

  • 80. HitchBitch  |  March 20th, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Goodness me. I know that standards are loose at TheExile, but this is actually falling out. I mean, I’ve just gone through the whole thing trying to find a point that was backed by facts, or anything that might constitute a real point. What struck me was the following:

    “. At the moment, I think of him as a highbrow, Eurotrash version of Ayn Rand. Most of his books (aside from Lolita) are a 50-50 cross between The Fountainhead and Finnegans Wake. There’s always a sensitive, intelligent libertarian protagonist fighting an evil mob of looters and straw-man communists. We know he’s sensitive and intelligent because he makes lots of observations and puns involving butterflies, which, like nymphets, are invisible to looters. The looters torment him until he becomes a martyr for libertarianism. Bend Sinister, Pale Fire, and Invitation to a Beheading all have the same hackneyed plot with prose soaked in Tyrian purple.”

    Pale Fire is supposed to be libertarian? What can one say to someone who can make that argument and apparently isn’t trying to be funny? The best one can say is that it’s an object lesson in how not to write.

  • 81. HitchBitch  |  March 20th, 2012 at 9:17 am

    I must say, thank you for alerting me to the Hitch’s foreword to the book. Something else to look up now.

  • 82. Jack  |  March 23rd, 2012 at 11:03 am

    Not just libertarian, but hackneyed. Haven’t we had enough novels about homosexual academics with delusions of grandeur writing crazed annotations to poems about the afterlife?

  • 83. Anton  |  March 24th, 2012 at 7:07 am

    I’m not sure why Amis was mentioned here…

    The point of the article seemed to be criticise Hitchens; initially for the foreword he wrote, though moving on to his general character flaws and supposed selling-out to the establishment. Then somehow we skewed off course.
    Why did we move on to attacking the literary style of his friends? Guilt by association?

    I’m afraid I don’t find this article very coherent. There is much to be said on Hitchens’ flaws, to be sure, but the discussion is better served by writing less breathlessly, and by providing interpretations of quotations which are even within yelling distance of reasonable.

  • 84. HitchBitch  |  March 27th, 2012 at 2:29 am

    The article is a load of crap. Anyone who can seriously analyse Nabokov like that is a bloody fool.

  • 85. Sylocat  |  April 28th, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    Pale Fire features “a sensitive, intelligent libertarian protagonist?”

    I mean, take Nabokov to task for his homophobia, but he had precisely zilch in common with Ayn Rand.

    *sigh*

    In other news… that’s pretty much my only quibble, actually. The rest of this article is spot-on, as McNulty would say.

  • 86. Shanel  |  May 7th, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    I think the person that wrote this article did it in bad taste. Obviously my mouth has been tarnish by the penis of Christopher Hitchens hand and it shows. Hitchens can get my hands and say, Johnny Depp or Jann Wenner, all the others. Depp and Wenner have the same things. Hitchens didn’t shoot Bush, it upset him gravely, yes, but it was the tiresome time. If you deserve to call yourself a HST fan.

  • 87. nick  |  October 8th, 2012 at 2:00 am

    Oh Ramon Glazow…how about engaging in writing something that I would agree with, because when I don’t agree with something I am the type to accuse that piece of being “unresearched and baseless hate speech.” Myah!

  • 88. minerva  |  November 12th, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    What a colossal piece of shit this Ramon is, he misconstrued every single quote, so much so that I had to reread the quotes several times and try hard to see it the way it was portrayed.

    You’re a fucking moron Ramon for taking a lucid introduction by Hitchens and turning your entire article into a giant personal attack. You also betray your overall lack of knowledge, Hitchens was always very critical of the misinformation and opportunism of the Bush administration; his only reason for supporting the war, was on moral grounds, the americans essentially put Hussein and the Bazz party into power, which manifested itself into a monstrous authoritarian state with countless human rights violations,and so they had the moral, humanistic responsibility to fucking put an end to it. I don’t agree with the mechanics and implementation of the Iraq War because of its economic costs for America but HOW can you Mr. Ramon justify the SH regime morally?

    Really, all you’ve done here is prove you have very very little substance, very little awareness of politics and history, and even less comprehension for Hitchen’s writing. All your articles are hateful, spiteful diatribes and I can see the resentment and jealousy you feel when you discuss authors that do something you will never be able to do. History will never remember your name. You will die nameless and worthless. Hitchens will leave behind a legacy of intellectual honesty, lucid prose, and Socratic thinking.

    Thanks Mr. Ramon, for reminding me that at the green age of 21, my mental capacity far exceed that of plebeians like you.

  • 89. Matt  |  November 25th, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    “Thanks Mr. Ramon, for reminding me that at the green age of 21, my mental capacity far exceed that of plebeians like you.”

    There’s much to criticize in this piece, but the intelligence of the author is a far less suitable target than his goddamn crookedness. He in fact displayed a great deal of the ready throughout (“Humbert Humbert lilt” is accurate and sharp), but the fact is that his ‘points’ are meant to divide opinion and deride the late Hitch.

    Look. Hunter had him as a guest (as in a guest who drunk and shot and talked the real with him) at his house, as he did with any degenerate journo hack who wanted to boost his own cred by hanging with the Master. The Man didn’t respect Hitchens because he told it like he saw it without a fucking care for how THEY said it was. The mother of this comment author is, like Hitchens, a petty fuck with an agenda and would have been shot on sight should he have have the stones to go near Owl Farm. No doubt.

  • 90. Matt  |  November 25th, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    And, for the record, “Puppy Abuse” is a far, far less serious crime than mild anti-semitism. Mild and serious are in this instance entirely indistinct and equally indefensible.

  • 91. J Patrick  |  April 25th, 2013 at 4:21 am

    Wow, Ramon’s piece hurt me but I’m going to pretend that it didn’t. You shoulda read my comment, it was a doozie!

  • 92. AWschre  |  July 16th, 2013 at 8:08 am

    You people are fucking cunts. All of you.

  • 93. JRM  |  July 18th, 2013 at 12:15 am

    Just stumbled across this piffle. All I’m seeing is an attack which is brimming with straw men and hyperbole, incensed to the point of being incoherent. I don’t have time to dissect everything, but here are a few things worth considering.

    With regard to Vidal, Hitchens didn’t really consider Vidal’s mild anti-semitism as an issue (he called it a “tic” which was “more or less under control”), so I’m not sure why this writer thinks it appropriate to begin with such a wispy point. Considering that the next couple of sentences end with exclamation marks and contain the words “Hitler” and “puppy”, I think that we can safely infer that the choice was made purely for the purposes of injecting some kind of humour (I use the term loosely) into this squalid little piece. And ‘Exiled’ is supposed to espouse serious journalism? Gotcha.

    I couldn’t help but laugh at the attempt to construe Hitch’s noticing of Thompson’s unhappiness as a barking prophecy of suicide. Does this writer have any shame? I disagree with Hitchens on plenty of important issues, but this writer could learn a thing or two from ‘Letters to a Young Contrarian’. Specifically, how to avoid misrepresenting your opponent’s position, and how to avoid making a cheap point. This article is replete with the former and the latter; as a result, it rings hollow, and I’m putting that charitably.

    This line, coloured red, was particularly alarming: “He lived as a literary thief, and will soon die a chickenshit’s death.” I’m not sure which part of this sentence is more contemptible. Transparent, unsubstantiated and ugly vitriol masquerading as “gritty” journalism.

  • 94. Jay  |  January 2nd, 2015 at 4:22 am

    Say what you say about Hitch… he was one of the greatest debaters of our time. And anyone subscribing to the notion that he’s a hack of a writer needs to relearn the English language. But since I said “say what you will about Hitch” and you said Hitch is a cheap hack, welp, I guess that means I don’t think you can say what you will about Hitch, and the AEC doesn’t think a suckup like me can say what I will about anything. And what the AEC says, goes.

  • 95. yogi  |  May 17th, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    What an awesome piece of journalism. Mr Glazov has done a fine job on Chris Hitchens for the worst of crimes–Mr. Hitchens is an ass! Hitchens was the most overrated journalist of his generation, with the analytical skills of a laboratory rat–but he certainly had the rat’s capacity for pain. He hurt all over from American excesses everywhere. Trotsky neoconboy Hitchens was the epitome of excess–excess without evidence, excess without excessive cause (what are you against, he is asked. What’dya got? he answers. Sure he was a complete fucking tool, what trotsky neocon isn’t?)

    Why Hitchens is considered a “journalist” is beyond me.

  • 96. Glenhateslierss  |  August 31st, 2015 at 2:07 am

    why are you defending Hunter S Thompson? Chris Hitchens was a talentless hack who is praised by dipshits like me who lack an inability to be objective. I can’t think of anything bad to say about the genius talent of HST so I’m going to roll the die and pretend he’s a homophobe. Makes me a seriously kewl commentard.

    O and thanks AEC


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