Why I love Christopher Hitchens, part XXI
Some time back, I blogged profusely (doesn't that sound like a symptom of something awful? "Doctor, I'm blogging profusely and running a fever, is it serious?") about Christopher Hitchens standing out among essayists as one daring to put forth a strong opinion in a field of wishy-washy peers. When I saw him speak in person some time ago, I realized that his fierce pronouncements and fiery opinions aren't just reserved for his work in print. So I was hardly surprised to find some classic Hitch moments in this summary of a festival that featured Mr. Hitchens on several panels.
One bold audience member asked the Hitch what he thought of the treatment of the Dixie Chicks after their illustrious anti-Bush statements. Hitch's reply:
"Each day they dig up dead bodies in personal death camps run by a Caligula dictator," Hitchens shouted, "and I'm being asked to worry about these fucking fat slags - do me a favour!"
Later, Hitchens expanded on this sentiment:
"The reason I like P.G. Wodehouse and Oscar Wilde is that they teach you to take frivolous things seriously and serious things frivolously," Hitchens replies. "It's all a complete farce, you understand, we're born into a losing struggle. In the meantime, I think, I must show some contempt and defiance and the best means of doing that that I know are irony and obscenity."
Laughter, applause. "Which is why it was a mistake for that man to ask me about those slut Dixie Chicks," he adds.
Of course, by refusing to comment on the Dixie Chicks due to the far greater importance of mass graves, he could be accused of taking serious things seriously and frivolous things frivolously, but I'm certainly not going to argue with him. Nor am I going to get into a huff over his misogynistic attitude towards the Dixie Chicks. For one, the Hitch is not Sean Hannity, and has proven himself as a tireless advocate on behalf of the underrepresented and repressed; secondly, it was damn funny, and thirdly, I hate New Country anyway. Between Fleetwood Mac and the Smashing Pumpkins, Landslide has been taken care of brilliantly and their nasally twangy selves aren't going to add much to the canon.