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In memory of Christopher Hitchens
December 17, 2011 - Zach Baker
Note: This has nothing to do with sports. This will get back to being a sports blog tomorrow.
In the summer of 2004, I came across an article by an author I had only heard of in passing. I read the column, re-read the column, and re-read the column.
I've been reading Christopher Hitchens ever since.
The writer was sharp, engaging, enraging and brilliant. When he appeared on television, he was the same way. No matter how many times I saw him, I was convinced he was the smartest person in the room.
If you read Hitchens, really read Hitchens, there's no way you could have agreed with noted anti-theist on everything. I certainly did not. Ever the contrarian, he would go after people like Mother Teresa, and claim that Bob Hope wasn't really that funny. And those are two of about 1,000 things I didn't agree with him on.
But I never stopped wondering what he would write next, and just about every Monday I went to Slate.com to read his latest article.
He also a number of books -- his biography on Thomas Jefferson helped me get through a flight from Cleveland to Los Angeles one night.
I never met Hitchens -- I always figured he'd ridicule me on some of my beliefs or criticize me for my unfocused writing. But he was an inspiration to me. If you have something to write -- write it. Write what you believe; make sure it's genuine. I felt Hitchens always brought that to his work.
It was known he was sick, but I kept hoping he would defy the odds for a bit longer. Even throughout his illness, Hitchens remained prolific. He kept writing, and kept taking on the people and ideas that motivated him.
Then this past Monday, there was no column.
I certainly feel for his family and friends, but confess there's a bit of selfishness in my sadness -- his death means I won't get to read any new articles by him.
Then again, I am thankful that he was able to churn out more work in a year than most of us will in our lives.
He's gone, but his legacy will live on. There always will be contrarians, there always will be great writers and there always will be people who were inspired by him.
But there won't be another Hitch. And that's too bad.