Cultural Revolutions

hitch Is Not Great

In August 1997, Princess Diana died in a car accident.  A few days later, Mother Teresa died.  The death of Diana prompted an enormous outpouring of emotion.  One writer, who had delivered a drunken diatribe against Mother Teresa during ABC’s televised coverage of her funeral, was unmoved, describing Diana as “A simpering Bambi narcissist” and Mother Teresa as a “thieving, fanatical Albanian dwarf.”  When that writer, Christopher Hitchens, died in December 2011, the reaction among the chattering classes was as mawkish and embarrassing as anything that followed the death of “the People’s Princess.”

To take just two examples: Frum Forum contributor Sean Linnane described Hitchens as “quite possibl[y] the greatest thinker of our modern age,” and another Frum Forum contributor, Kapil Komireddi, wailed that “For every young writer—and every victim and opponent of authoritarianism—there is now darkness.”  One suspects that if David Frum could sing, we would now be hearing him warble a new version of “Candle in the Wind” in honor of his friend.  Such extravagant praise of Hitchens was far from unique.  Steve Sailer counted 26 separate tributes to Hitchens at the online magazine Slate, and Lucas Shaw of Reuters noted that “the news of [Hitchens’] death has...

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