This is an obituary I’d hoped I wouldn’t have to write for a very long time. But here we are. One of the great magazine/internet writers in history has died. Christopher Hitchens has succumbed to the ravages of cancer at the age of 62.
I never got to meet Hitch, but he was still a great influence to me. He helped inspire me as a writer and helped to influence my views on any number of subjects. Even when I read things of his where I disagreed with his central point, as with his views on Iraq, I still could at least understand what he thought on the issue and why he thought it. That’s not as typical as you might think.
Of course it’s also worth mentioning what a great impact he had on me and my atheism. I read God is Not Great right after I read Dawkins’ The God Delusion. Dawkins’ book is much more of a purely intellectual exercise, while Hitch’s is both intellect and emotion, mixing the two to make for a really fascinating read. It’s safe to say that had I not read his book, I likely wouldn’t approach my lack of belief in the same way I do now.
I haven’t much more to say about the man that hasn’t already been said. Particularly touching is Andrew Sullivan’s blog article on the topic, which I recommend. Also, for those who’d like to read my favorite Hitch article, check out this one, and then watch this delightful video of Hitch and Stephen Fry taking to task a couple conservative religious types on the subject of religion. It’s a great example of Hitch at his best.