"Well, tonight thank God it’s them instead of you…" - frankly, even at the age of 13, when this song was first released, my young teenage self thought that was a dreadfully insensitive line for a festive fundraising song.
“Much ink has been spilled, of course, about the legendary friendships Christopher forged with other writers throughout his life. For a time in the 1980s, he, Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie and I lived together in London. Hitchens rented us a six-story flat so we could swap partners more easily. Many was the time we passed the bottle until dawn, bemoaning Thatcher’s England, Reagan’s America, and also some stuff about the Middle East. Sometimes Hitchens would bring over a dissident writer who was fleeing oppression in his native country, and we’d all make fun of Mother Teresa and Princess Diana, then remove our pants to compare our manhoods. We were so middle-aged and foolish then, so committed to the struggle.”—I knew Christopher Hitchens better than you
I wouldn’t normally suggest anyone reads anything by Peter Hitchens, and especially not in the Daily Mail, but considering their huge disagreements over the years, this tribute is extremely moving without becoming unnecessarily maudlin.
“Beware the irrational, however seductive. Shun the ‘transcendent’ and all who invite you to subordinate or annihilate yourself. Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and others. Don’t be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. Do not live for others any more than you would expect others to live for you.”—Christopher Hitchens
Oh. Damn. We needed the intelligence and critical insight of Christopher Hitchens now more than ever. Instead, by some unfair reasoning, his brother Peter Hitchens continues to exist. If there was a God, I’d be shaking my fist at him right now for such gross unfairness.
See, I know what you all want. You’ve been deluged by people’s Best of 2011 Spotify playlists, and now you want another one. Yes, you do. Don’t deny it. The difference with my playlist is that it’s not only good (an admittedly highly subjective judgement there, but bear with me), but also that there will be a number of points while listening to it when you’ll think “I never knew synthesizers had an automatic ‘sound like 1981’ setting these days…”