Katha Pollitt's obituary of Christopher Hitchens is the best one I've seen yet.
As far as I'm concerned, Katha is a better writer than Hitchens. I admire clear writing that precisely expresses subtle thinking. With Hitchens, the bombastic writing was sometimes getting in the way of the ideas, or covering up the fact that he hadn't thought things through clearly. Stylistic flourishes can be awesome when they help get the author's point across, but otherwise they're just distractions, however amusing.
Pollitt and Andrew Sullivan seem to agree on one thing: if you ignore the fact that he didn't respect women, Hitch was pretty good.
for me, both katha and christopher went south after awhile. he succumbed it appears to drink and the ego of being the world; she to self-pity and the ego of her personal betrayal being the central fact of the world. neither was the reasonable creature they might have been. perhaps in this they prefigured blogging. i prefer her to him and look forward to years of insight from her, but her lapses, not so much less than his, made me realize how egocentrically flawed even the smartest writers are.
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