decembrie 16, 2011

Chrysostom of unbelievers

...Hitchens made his living as an impolite but often persuasive contrarian whose amusing performances, in person and in writing, were designed to reduce even the most ancient and imaginative hopes and dreams to the size of a pragmatically hopeless six-foot man who proclaimed proudly God Is Not Great–and Mother Teresa wasn’t much better. After all, what could an angry so-called Deity do? Strike him dead at 62?

Of course: The word “Eeyorish” comes from “Eeyor,” the eternally pessimistic donkey in Winnie the Pooh. Only Hitchens would have used this neologism in casual conversation, and only Hitchens would have put it in the context of Balkan conflict. And that was his genius. He had a profound knowledge of English literature, from A.A. Milne to Virginia Woolf.

And what was extraordinary about his late work, given the circumstances, was not so much its content (illuminating as that was) but its quality of consistency, as well as the consistency of its quality. Throughout his ordeal his prose remained lucid, his self-pity absent, and his deadlines met. He never abandoned his convictions or lost his sense of humor, which in its ironic restraint was nearly worthy of the masters (Jane Austen, Dorothy Parker, Grace Paley, et al.).

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