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Frum on Hitch

David Frum reflects on the passing of Hitchens:

Hitchens was not one of those romantics who fetishized “dialogue.” Far from suffering fools gladly, he delighted in making fools suffer. When he heard that another friend, a professor, had a habit of seducing female students in his writing seminars, he shook his head pityingly. “It’s not worth it. Afterward, you have to read their short stories.”

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7 Responses

  1. Excellent. 🙂

  2. Unfortunately, the Frum comment also points to Hitchens’ well documented tendency to belittle women. Feminists weren’t always thrilled with Hitchens’ positions on abortion.

    • Belittle? He said women weren’t funny, or at least that they weren’t as funny as men. A matter of opinion sure to provoke, no doubt. His position on abortion was simply that a developing fetus is not without any rights; that it should be considered a candidate member of society and is certainly properly called “human life.” There’s nothing controversial about that. On occasions too numerous to mention Hitch stridently and repeatedly opposed the oppression of women; their treatment as chattel; lack of access to education and/or proper medical care; honor killings, genital mutilation, the tendency of all organized religions to dismiss the contributions of women to society…
      If your argument is that accepting that a fetus IS a human being is somehow anti-feminist, I’d say you’ve had your head shoved up your ass by an angry girlfriend who doesn’t shave her legs.
      At what point must one actually grow tits to be considered a supporter of women’s issues?

      • I admit that I trusted Katha Pollitt’s perspective. From her column in the Nation:

        “Women shouldn’t need to/want to/get to have a job. The Dixie Chicks were “fucking fat slags” (not “sluts,” as he misremembered later). And then of course there was his 1989 column in which he attacked legal abortion and his cartoon version of feminism as “possessive individualism.” I don’t suppose I ever really forgave Christopher for that.”

        I was not able to link to the 1989 column. Maybe Pollitt is being totally unfair to Hitch. Nevertheless I don’t think there is anything wrong with presenting a complicated history of Hitchens. In fact, I think it makes him more interesting.

        • It’s not about being unfair to Hitch except in a very general (but not insignificant) sense. It’s about recognizing that just because one refuses to march in lockstep with whichever branch of feminist critique happens to be momentarily in vogue, that doesn’t make one necessarily a Nazi level misogynist.
          Speaking of which, do you know why it’s called “Feminist critique”? Because it offers no solutions.

          Hitch was certainly complicated…except in his opposition to oppression. Not merely without regard for gender, but with a keen understanding of how gender oppression plays a keystone role in the most retrograde social conditions.
          The Dixie Chicks are not an oppressed class.

      • I’ve little to input save, he was complex. Today it is all about fitting into a frame, progressive, conservative, repub, demo, we fit all into a framework that doesn’t serve understanding just exposition. RIP

      • “At what point must one actually grow tits to be considered a supporter of women’s issues?”

        You don’t have to grow them anymore, you can just buy them off the shelf these days…and it’s only a matter of time until women demand we get them. Women are never satisfied. It’s just one demand after the next.

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