Tuesday, March 18, 2003

The Hitch on C-Span

There he is, looking slovenly and disheveled as ever. Floppy hair, no tie, bloodshot eyes that lead one to wonder about the nature of the clear contents of his water bottle... I think I missed his opening monologue, because I saw all the other panelists deliver their orations and not him. But although he was [far too] well behaved last night, there were a couple good Hitchens moments, such as when he stated that he was not opposed to the mention of oil "as if it were some ghastly bodily secretion." And when Robert Scheer brought up Marx in passing ("Was it Marx who said 'Relgion is the opium of the masses?") I could hear Hitchens gnashing his Trotskyite teeth in the background, and the microphone caught his repeated mumbled corrections: "opiate. opiate." Then it was his turn and he delivered a florid recitation of Marx's full quote. Other than that, there were just the snorts and harumphs and scoffing noises that his microphone broadcast while others were speaking. All in all, a rather tame performance for Hitch--he must be gettting tired. I remember reading about a while back about Hitch in a panel discussion about Orwell, when he attacked his unsuspecting panel colleague Vivian Gornick as follows:

Hitchens, appalled at the prospect of Gornick trivializing Orwell by turning him into a repulsive pile of harmless fluff, derisively informed Mrs. Gornick that There Would Be No More of That.

"Lest you think," he addressed the audience, "that we're going to spend the entire evening engaged in languorous fellatio..."

Gornick's jaw dropped.

"Not to disparage your traditional approach..." he nodded at Gornick, before continuing with a slightly less flattering portrayal of Orwell's abilities.

(Here's the whole Blow by Blow of that old debate in case you're interested.)


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