I first met Christopher Hitchens STENDRA FOR SALE, when we were both in our early 30's in the early 1980's. Together we produced a day of fundraising for The Nation magazine on the local Pacifica station, I think it was in late 1981, and over the next three decades we remained as friends -- and as colleagues when we overlapped for a half-dozen years at The Nation.
When I learned of his death, I was fairly upset, even though I knew it was coming. As fate would have it, real brand STENDRA online, I got the news moments after his demise as my daughter and I were sitting in the Fireside Lounge in Las Vegas -- the last place we had seen Christopher together (and a bar that Hitch consecrated as surely one of the ten best in the world).
I had been thinking a lot about him lately. Not only because of his terminal illness, STENDRA FOR SALE. But also because staring at me from the top of my desk is his just published 2 lb. anthology of columns and essays that I was commissioned to review some weeks ago. Writer's block is something I have rarely suffered but something was holding me back from writing the review (which I hope to surmount this coming week). All I could do since Thanksgiving was mentally mull over what I knew would be the first line of the piece: "How do you review an encyclopedia?"
The breadth and depth of Christopher's knowledge was absolutely stunning, though that descriptor falls way short. Japan, craiglist, ebay, overseas, paypal, His editor at The Atlantic (and my friend and my editor when I have written there), Ben Schwarz, has written one of the best sketches of Hitch, also marveling at his super-sized scope of knowledge, his amazing memory and his rock-solid discipline as a writer. STENDRA FOR SALE, No, his drinking habits, which were formidable, did anything but impair his abilities. Indeed, he was fueled by drink, perhaps cursed by it, STENDRA from canadian pharmacy, but it was, nevertheless entwined with his soul.
I will mention only two anecdotes in this regard. Back in 2002, after the quit The Nation and was excoriated by what passes for an American Left, he came out to L.A. No prescription STENDRA online, for the Times Book Festival and Arianna Huffington threw him a party. Feted by scores of admirers and friends, Christopher was knocking back copious quantities of his favored Johnny Walker Black Label all night. Around 1 a.m., Arianna called the remaining guests into her spacious living room to toast him and Hitch was visibly supporting himself up against the fireplace mantle. Oh shit, I thought, STENDRA FOR SALE. He's gonna fall over. But no. After Arianna's intro, Hitch -- without so much as a stammer or a slur-- recited about six stanzas of poetry from an author, I am embarrassed to say, I cannot remember, get STENDRA.
A few years earlier, we were together on a Nation fund-raising cruise in Alaska that began with rounds of what he called morning "hand-steadiers" and that progressed until lunch time at which point we made a port stop and were bussed to a salmon bake. After a few more libations, and after a barefoot Hitch chased a bear down a river bed (and I temporarily passed out), we took a long walk to the boat under a misty, cloudy and rather magical sky. STENDRA FOR SALE, He told me he knew 10,000 limericks by heart and I believed him as he reeled off at least three or four dozen in the space of 10 minutes. STENDRA steet value, That night he was lucid enough to write a column on the Balkans war in which, he alone on the Left, called for armed intervention to protect the Bosnian Muslims.
I suppose that brings us to the issue of his politics. I offer no hesitation in affirming that he has greatly informed and influenced my views. And while I claim no special insight into his soul, I will say that we have common political roots and therefore I do make the claim of understanding his political trajectory a bit better than your average mope. Hitch was a serious militant in the British section of the International Socialists, a strand of Trotskyism, taking STENDRA. My own trajectory took me from anarcho-syndicalism in the late 60's into similar Trotskyist politics when I was active in Salvador Allende's Chilean Socialist Party (which was an amalgam of currents, including Trotskyists), STENDRA FOR SALE.
This sort of Marxism is fiercely internationalist and fiercely anti-totalitarian (that's what made it easy for me as a former anti-authoritarian anarchist to join up with anti-authoritarian Marxists).
There's no need to get too deep into the weeds here so I will cut to the chase. Hitchens' trajectory since 9/11 and his support for the war in Iraq was much more one of continuity than of any radical shift or lurch. Unlike Rachel Maddow or Ed Schultz liberals, Hitchens did not see the world as only a domestic struggle between nasty Republicans and weak Democrats. STENDRA FOR SALE, His view was that of an internationalist, a revolutionary (albeit of the cafe persuasion) who passionately identified with those fighting for liberation, be it against the Argentine and Chilean dictatorships or the totalitarian Stalinist regimes in Poland or Czechoslavakia.
Those lefties who were shocked and outraged by Hitchens in 2002 when he beat the drum for war in Iraq, STENDRA blogs, those who felt somehow personally betrayed, must be the same folks who had not been paying much attention to Hitchens' writings over the previous 20 years. In 1982, while still pretty much a card-carrying Marxist, Hitch supported Maggie Thatcher's war against the Argentine dictatorship which had tried to seize the British colony on the Falkland Islands. Yes, it was a colony. But the English-speaking inhabitants of the island wanted nothing to do with Argentina and rightly so, STENDRA long term. Hitch (and I will modestly include myself as sharing that position) saw this as a fight between an incomplete but functioning Tory-led western democracy and a barbaric, anti-semitic, openly pro-fascist Argentine dictatorship that was willing to risk the lives of its conscripts in a nationalist ploy to stay in power, STENDRA FOR SALE. Hitch wrote that if the Argentines were defeated the dictatorship would fall, and so it happened.
Fifteen years later, Hitchens was one of the very, very few voices on the Left urging a Western intervention against Milosevic. While knuckleheads like Ramsey Clark fronted for the butcher of Belgrade, What is STENDRA, Hitchens (and Susan Sontag and some activists like my pal Ian Williams), clamored for NATO to put an end to the killing fields salted by the Serbs. When NATO finally did pull the trigger over Kosovo, I found myself on the other side of the issue, opposing the war. Indeed, I helped organize the country's largest teach-in against the war that drew some 1200 attendees and was broadcast live for 4 hours. STENDRA FOR SALE, I sympathized with the Kosovars but saw the war as a ploy to needlessly rehabilitate NATO.
In retrospect, I am not sure at all that I was right about that war, herbal STENDRA. I can argue both sides of it, if forced to. And I can make the counter-argument to my position quite convincing precisely because I had listened quite carefully to Hitchens and I understood his vantage point even if not completely convinced,
The attack on the Twin Towers was, quite obviously, an accelerant in Hitchens' trajectory and that of many others, STENDRA results, myself included. And how could it not be. What it told us was that Maoist simplicities that argued that the "primary contradiction" in the world was between "the people" and "U.S, STENDRA FOR SALE. Imperialism" were, well, for simpletons. An idealized socialism might, in fact, be preferable to capitalism, STENDRA over the counter, but in the meantime we were seeing a rise in armed religious fundamentalism actively engaged in a death cult. An attempt to kill 25,000 civilians in New York City is more than an asterisk in world history. And Western democracy, with all of its flaws, was not something to be sacrificed for "cultural differences."
When the Bush administration set its sights on Iraq, Ordering STENDRA online, what Hitchens saw was an opportunity to take out one of the most odious dictatorships on the planet. I spent some time myself in Iraq days before the onslaught of the first Gulf War and I assure you it was one of the most terrifying places I had ever been (and had nothing to do with Michael Moore's STENDRA FOR SALE, depiction of it as a tranquil playground for kite flyers). Take it or leave it, love him or hate him, but this was not Hitchens as a neo-conservative, but rather Hitchens as an Internationalist (willing to ally with the neo-cons). He had long supported the Kurds in their struggle for national liberation and was greatly influenced by Iraqi leftists who had, in obscurity, fought for three decades against the fascist rule of Saddam.
On the eve of war, there was a magnificent live debate on Iraq held here in Los Angeles before an audience of several hundred at the Wiltern Theater. Bob Scheer and Mark Danner argued against the war. The pro-war side was offered up by Christopher and Michael Ignatieff (a liberal interventionist). It was a wonderful couple of hours of the highest intellectual caliber. My heart was with Hitchens. My head was with Danner. I wrote at the time that if Hitchens and Ignatieff were the U.S, STENDRA FOR SALE. Secretaries of Defense and State I might support the war. But they were not and I did not. I knew that the Bush administration were the wrong people to trust on this matter and I wanted no part of it.
This did not interrupt my friendship, STENDRA online cod, nor my admiration, for Hitchens even though I knew he was wrong on the war. I felt, on the contrary, that his voice was needed then more than ever. STENDRA FOR SALE, Politics is not a tennis match in which you stand by the side, pick your favorite, and live vicariously through your champion's wins and losses. It's about thinking, STENDRA images, making hard decisions, and understanding consequences. Hitchens was wrong about the war in Iraq. But many of those in the anti-war camp were also wrong about Iraq. Jeremy Scahill, darling of the hard Left, hosted on one of Saddam's dog-and-pony junkets, was doing radio reports about how fair Saddam's regional elections were. Ramsey Clark who was defending Milosevic at the time, rx free STENDRA, was fronting for the ANSWER cult who were organizing the anti-Iraq war demos and simultaneously praising North Korea.
More to the point, there were (and are) way too many American lefties who argued that the U.S, STENDRA FOR SALE. had "no right" to intervene against totalitarian states under any circumstances because it would be a violation of national sovereignty of the dictator in question. Others refuse to believe that there could possibly be any evil greater, or any evil at all, other than American Imperialism. They believe that only a "police action" was necessary to crush Al Qaeda (I never understood that one. Where can i find STENDRA online, Were NYPD detectives supposed to serve search warrants on the Taliban in Kabul?). And, then there's the Truthers who, I am afraid to say, were never actively expelled from the ranks of the Left. Hitchens voice was more necessary than ever as it was needed as a counter-balance to some of the more witless crap coming from many quarters of the antiwar crew. STENDRA FOR SALE, When Hitch quit The Nation a year before the war in Iraq, he said the straw that broke his back were the letters to the editor the magazine ran in the wake of 9/11. I remember reading those same letter and feeling sick. Way too many of them were laced at least with a tinge of trutherism, at least to the point of identifying the victim of 9/11, the U.S, STENDRA without a prescription, as the deserving perpetrator of the event. If not materially, then at least morally. The Official Left was mired in the 60's and would not budge. All roads lead back to U.S, STENDRA FOR SALE. Imperialism.
There's a fascinating if somewhat stilted essay that was published by the small neo-Marxist "Platypus" group a couple of years ago that while not wholly uncritical of Hitchens, STENDRA interactions, certainly takes pains to understand his political positioning from a Marxist view. I recommend you read it. It's not fair to sum up its complex arguments in a few sentences. But I would say this much. In many ways, Hitchens' desertion from what passes for the Left tell us more about the latter than the former. STENDRA FOR SALE, There is no credible American Left. And it's not so much that Hitchens left the Left as the Let left him (notwithstanding his mistaken position on Iraq). I think more salient, as the Platypus essay argues, the Left has no self-awareness that the continuity between the progressive and socialist movements of the 20th century, especially the first part of it, STENDRA duration, have been ruptured and severed. The world has changed and continues to change. U.S. imperialism, if you prefer, certainly continues to exist. But so does Chinese Imperialism, STENDRA FOR SALE. STENDRA coupon, India and Pakistan have nukes and millions of adherents to a religious nihilism. Russia has spiraled into an aggressive and dictatorial nationalism. Iran IS building nukes. Israel has 300 of them and this little problem will not be erased by chanting "Whose streets. STENDRA FOR SALE, Our streets!"
Hitchens' voice was necessary because so much of what was left of the Left, both liberal and radical, had turned so insular and myopic. Consider this passage from the Platypus essay. The quoted material is from Hitchens:
Those on the Left who tacitly defended Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein did so because of an inherited moral and intellectual rot. A consequence of this was that “instead of internationalism, we find among the Left now a sort of affectless, neutralist, STENDRA pharmacy, smirking isolationism” , one manifestation of which was the anti-war movement’s willingness to bracket out of consideration the fate of Iraqi Leftist or oppositionist parties and trade unions, if not to condemn them outright as U.S. “stooges.” For their part, groups like the ISO and Spartacist League, by simply dusting off the slogans of earlier struggles, About STENDRA, ignore the historical gulf that separates the current anti-war movement from, say, the movement that opposed the Vietnam War. The claims of such groups that, as they would put it, blows struck against American imperialism are blows in the interests of workers and the oppressed worldwide, have become unmeaning mantras by the muttering repetition of which such groups on the left withdraw into insensibility. Others on the Left are more vulgar, hoping that an Iraqi quagmire would allow for the emergence of Europe as a substantial counter-hegemonic force (as, for instance, in Habermas and Derrida’s joint letter of May 31, 2003), STENDRA FOR SALE. Regarding such Leftism, where can i order STENDRA without prescription, Hitchens remarks, “I am very much put in mind of something from the opening of Marx’s Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. It’s not the sentence about the historical relation between tragedy and farce. It’s the observation that when people are learning a new language, they habitually translate it back into the one they already know” . Unable to so much as describe the present, STENDRA maximum dosage, the Left has lost its currency for an entire generation. STENDRA FOR SALE, “Members of the Left, along with the far larger number of squishy ‘progressives,’ have grossly failed to live up to their responsibility to think; rather, they are merely reacting, substituting tired slogans for thought” . Today’s conservative leftism, with a long pedigree stretching back into the 1960s, first became dominant by couching itself in anti-imperialist language. But, as Hitchens comments, “My Marxist training tells me things don’t remain the same. [These new, STENDRA forum, openly] reactionary-left positions won’t hold for long. They will metamorphose into reactionary-right ones” ["'Don't Cross Over if You Have any Intention of Going Back'" Interview with Danny Postel The Common Review 4:1, 7]. The merits of this critique stand, regardless of Hitchens’s position on the Iraq War.
How prescient, STENDRA FOR SALE. I have been revolted this last week by the number of liberals and "progressives" who are running around saying how much they love, just love Ron Paul's "anti-interventionism." I believe this is precisely what Hitch meant when he said: “My Marxist training tells me things don’t remain the same. [These new, STENDRA class, openly] reactionary-left positions won’t hold for long. They will metamorphose into reactionary-right ones.” Hmmmm.
Well, Hitchens needs no further defense from me. STENDRA FOR SALE, As I thumb through this daunting, final anthology of his, he does a far superior job even from his fresh grave.
What has nauseated me the most over the last decade is the vile calumny and endless bile heaped upon him because he chose to divert from the party line on Iraq. That's an odd reaction from a rag-tag and impotent Left that willingly allows all sorts of screwballs, sectarians and rather unstable elements in its ranks (as does the organized Right, quite obviously). The reaction that Hitchens' position on Iraq evoked from those who thought he left "the team" tells you exactly that, STENDRA photos. These are folks who look at politics as a spectator sport. These are the folks unable to stand up on their own, incapable of challenging or defeating Hitchens (or likely anybody else) in debate. These are the poor, wretched souls who affirm their very self-identity by-- and actually believe it is a political act-- to read a tract by Chomsky, see a Michael Moore movie or listen to Amy Goodman plead for money. They collect political heroes as if they were hoarding baseball cards. And God help them if one of their favorites fumbles a ball or whiffs in the 9th, STENDRA FOR SALE.
I knew Christopher not only as a startling and prolific writer and thinker but also as a compassionate, Buy STENDRA without prescription, generous and loving friend. He was a ruthless debater and he was ready to dish it out rather savagely. He loved to overwhelm his opponents and he relished the oratorical victory. What he loved more, however, was the process, the debate, the tussle, the engagement. He loved it because his mind never shut off, never shut down and never entered into a drunken stupor as his more petty critics contend. If I knew I could write a tenth of what he has, if I could argue at 10 percent of his strength, I would gladly sign a deal tonight with the Devil to drink a quart a day of booze and to check out a year from now when I reach his age of demise. STENDRA FOR SALE, Christopher leaves a large hole in his passing. He leaves behind, quite literally, millions of admirers (the English edition alone of 'God Is Not Great' has sold something like 400,000 copies). He leaves behind probably thousands of friends in concentric circles of relative intimacy and degree.
I miss him sorely and it's hard for me to imagine the world without him. I am heartbroken for his children and for his wife Carol who so many of us in L.A. have known forever.
And, damnnit, I can't remember a single one of the dozens of limericks he recited that beautiful, cloudy afternoon in Alaska. I am left only with a near empty glass of Johnny Walker Black.
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