Sad to hear today’s news. Then again he lived and wrote about 17 lifetime’s worth. I don’t agree that he’s our Orwell or our Mencken. I think of him as a complete one-off, and while I’ll enjoy reading his work for a long time into the future, I’ll miss his timeliness and topicality. I won’t be able to read about some demagogue or invasion without wondering what he would have said about it. Regardless of what you think about his positions (Falkland Islands, Iraq War, etc.), you have to admire someone who doesn’t care about the politics of consensus, isn’t afraid to make you mad, and is willing to put his opinions on the line by going on some truly scary talk shows and TV programs. (Sean Hannity, etc.)
I’m also amazed that he kept cranking out the essays and columns up to the very end (including a beautifully written response to the term ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ in the most recent Vanity Fair. Not sure if I told either one of you this but I met him once a long time ago at the Capitola Book Cafe. I showed up late, not realizing there was a reading. An acquaintance of mine, who vaguely knew Hitchens, grabbed me by the shoulder and frogmarched me to the podium and said, “Christopher, this is Dan White of the Santa Cruz Sentinel!” before I could retreat. Mr. Hitchens was kind enough to pretend to be impressed. It was really awkward. I can’t remember what we talked about.