“This site is dedicated to preying on peoples vanity, ignorance, or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse.”

Saturday, April 21, 2012

"The party is going on but you have to leave."



Christopher Hitchens Is Memorialized With an Irreverence That Would Please Him 

Apr 20, 2012 7:55 PM EDT THE DAILY BEAST

Notables from Salman Rushdie and Martin Amis to Sean Penn and Olivia Wilde gathered at a New York memorial service to honor the contrarian wit and indefatigable lifestyle of the late author, Lloyd Grove reports.

Polemicist and journalist Christopher Hitchens, who died in December at 62 after a battle with esophageal cancer, was celebrated Friday as an incorrigible contrarian, dazzling public intellectual, obdurate justice seeker, and passionate bon vivant in a star-studded memorial service at New York’s Cooper Union.

Yet “service,” as in pious activity, is probably the wrong word—for Hitchens was famously an adamant atheist, and his 2007 faith-debunking bestseller God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything was the most successful of his 12 books and five essay collections.

“Shortly after his death, I was interviewed by an annoying interviewer on CNN,” theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss told the capacity crowd of around 800, which included many of the leading figures in literature, journalism, science, and entertainment that Hitchens counted as friends, notably Hollywood actors Sean Penn and Olivia Wilde (who confided that Hitchens, a close pal of her parents, “was a wonderful babysitter”).

Krauss went on with his story by saying that the unnamed CNN personality introduced the Hitchens segment thusly: “On the one hand, he inspired the ideals of skepticism, free inquiry, and rational thought, but at the same time has been called a bullying, lying, opportunistic, cynical contrarian. She said that as if it were a bad thing.”

Big laugh from the audience—one of many moments of hilarity throughout the two hours of remembrances by friends and family and readings from Hitchens’s prolific body of work. His writings—often dashed off while he sat on a barstool yet informed by amazing erudition—appeared everywhere from The Nation to Newsweek to Vanity Fair, where he spent more than a decade as a marquee columnist.

Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, who organized the event, called Hitchens “a man of ferocious appetites—for Scotch, for cigarettes, and for talk. That he had the output to equal what he consumed was the true miracle of the man.” Carter added, “He wrote fast, frequently without benefit of a second draft or even corrections.” He was “an editor’s dream and he was a reader’s dream,” Carter continued, noting that Hitchens possessed “a legendary memory that held up even under the most liquid of late-night conditions.”

Hitchens’ prodigious drinking and smoking—documented by numerous photographs and a tailor-made documentary projected behind the stage—was a leitmotif of the memorial, as was his insistence on leaving “the cozy cocoon of conventional liberal wisdom,” as Carter put it, to back George W. Bush’s war in Iraq, savage the sainted Mother Teresa as a fraud and hypocrite, and pursue Henry Kissinger as an evil war criminal. Richard Nixon’s former national security adviser and secretary of state, generally one of the more sought-after eulogists whenever a VIP passes away, was understandably not in attendance.

Sitting in the invited audience, however, were media mogul Tom Freston, writer and director Nora Ephron, 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft, New Yorker editor David Remnick, Newsweek and The Daily Beast editor Tina Brown, and London lawyer Eleni Meleagrou, Hitchens’ ex-wife and the mother of two of his three children, Alexander and Sophia. Carol Blue, his widow and the mother of his daughter Antonia, joined his son Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens in reading excerpts from his writing.

Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, who organized the event, called Hitchens “a man of ferocious appetites—for Scotch, for cigarettes, and for talk. That he had the output to equal what he consumed was the true miracle of the man.”

Among others who read from Hitchens’s work were playwright Tom Stoppard, novelist Salman Rushdie, and satirist and novelist Christopher Buckley, along with Penn and Wilde. Geneticist Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, who helped guide Hitchens’s cancer treatment, played a piano piece that he composed in honor of the writer after noting that they became warm friends even though “I am a follower of Jesus Christ.”

Eulogist Martin Amis, the famed novelist and Hitchens’s close friend since their Oxford days, cheekily recalled that his pal was a “self-mythologizer” who “often referred to himself in the third person,” as in “The Hitch.” Whenever an injustice occurred, Hitchens would declare, “The pen of the Hitch will flash from its scabbard.” Once, when they were strolling toward a movie theater in Southampton, N.Y., Amis teased his friend that “no one has recognized The Hitch for at least 10 minutes,” Amis recounted. “And he said, ‘Longer. It’s been at least 15 minutes.’”

British actor and playwright Stephen Fry, memorializing Hitch the hedonist, recalled that he maintained that “the most overrated things in life were champagne, lobster, anal sex, and picnics.” Fry, who is out and proud, waited a beat before adding, “Well, three out of four!” It would have tickled Hitchens that his memorial started and ended with a rousing recording of “The Internationale,” and it probably wouldn't have bothered him excessively that afterward, once the mourners were outside on the sidewalk, clouds of cigarette smoke wafted over their heads.

57 comments:

  1. I lost my finger in a cup
    I could not bring the tankard up
    I pushed the wind before me as
    I bumped into the man I was


    ....

    Sit in the instant if you can
    And you'll become another man;
    A where you were will be the place
    Still tenanted by empty space

    ...

    I am by way of becoming
    No more or less than I am

    ...

    Sing all beginnings, sing,
    Dance, dance, one-legged man
    We're not the same as then
    But worse in flesh and skin
    It's time that we begin...

    ...

    Eternity' the motion of my shoe
    She said, and cast her slipper off

    ....

    To my dead self with its perpetual fear of death
    I said Goodbye

    ...

    Few of the blind are mad

    ....

    In the dead middle of the night
    I lost my name and that was my delight
    I cried a name I cried a name out loud
    I was the shape I was when I was born

    ...

    What place could know him in that frantic hour
    When he put off being like a shirt?

    The mirror melted down and flowed away
    And God had use of me on that dark day

    In the womb I refused death

    ...

    Act your heart there is nothing else

    I have prayed long she might leave her skin
    And leaving, she would ask me in

    You're in a cage, all her kisses said.

    ....

    Roethke left 277 spiral notebooks of long hand writing at his death, rejects mostly not making it into his formal poetry.

    That's about 2 pages.

    I liked this one, it made me think of some folks here.

    I got third in a hog calling contest once.

    Hitch hit a fifth.

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  2. Okay, let's get a little bit real about Christopher Hitchens. Yes, he was smart, clever, witty, at times uniquely so, but he died of throat cancer at a young age because he was so utterly angry, as manifested by his compulsive cigarette smoking and excessive alcohol drinking. While I applaud his excoriating of organized religion and the hypocrites who adhere to its childish dogma, Hitch's utter lack of spiritual connection left him bitter and bereft, and ultimately suicidal. There is something in between childish religiosity and soullessness. It's called reality.

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  3. Hitchens nails it in the Fear segment.

    Speaking of soulfulness, The Koch Brothers – Exposed! (Link)

    Whether or not Greenwald’s film reaches its hoped-for audience, we can expect to hear plenty about the Koch brothers this campaign season. Obama and the Democrats are going to make the election a referendum on a Republican Party hijacked by ideological zealots, 1 percenters, and religious nuts – we’re a long way from hope and change here – and the Kochs make a handy proxy for two out of the three. Team Obama regularly beats the Koch drum in their fundraising emails, leading to an angry public back-and-forth recently between a Koch lieutenant and the president's campaign manager. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney has been discreetly courting the Kochs, who backed him for president in 2008 and are said to have pledged to raise $100 million to defeat Obama. As Greenwald put it in a recent interview, Charles and David Koch "are going to do everything their money will allow them to do to influence this election negatively."

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  4. As I age, I wonder about the people in this time who might one day be preserved in statue on university campuses a hundred years from now. Christopher Hitchens was truly a great man - courageous to the last and an example of humanity at its best. The world is a poorer place without him.

    We live in a cynical and highly documented world: we must remember many so-called 'great men' lived in, shall we say, less demanding times: Isaac Newton was an alchemist, and George Washington and Benjamin Franklin were - for all their achievements - rank hypocrites on the question of equality of men amongst the slaves. If we were truly pedantic, we could say Nelson Mandela or Albert Einstein were poor husbands, neglecting their loves ones in pursuit of their careers.

    No.

    Let's please have statues on university campuses in the decades to come of the people in this article; most notably Christopher Hitchens. Regardless of whether you agreed with everything he said or did, let's preserve their best work and make it so cherished, because the world needs people of thought, spirit and intellectual rigor, even if we do live in an age where every wart and wild claim in a debate is preserved forever. No one is perfect, but many people are inspiring. Christopher Hitchens is one of them.

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  5. There is something in between childish religiosity and soullessness. It's called reality.

    For the record, the "conversation" began with objections to:

    (1) those who self-describe as Christians first and citizens second, and

    (2) those who argue that the logical end-state of conservative governance is Christian theocracy.

    I have no idea the relative "size" of either group, aside from the empirical observation that the first is larger than the second, but both are real, as opposed to metaphorical.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. .

      Hmmmn.

      Funny, I don't recall either

      (1) those who self-describe as Christians first and citizens second, and

      (2) those who argue that the logical end-state of conservative governance is Christian theocracy.


      being part of the 'conversation'.

      As I recall, the 'conversation' started with a blanket condemnation of 'modern conservatives' and then devolved into a blanket condemnation of 'Christians'. All through the 'conversation' I tried to get you to be more specific but failed. Had you started out with the two statements you just listed, we might have had a ‘conversation’ about them but it would likely have been much shorter than the one we did have.

      You objected to my observation about mind reading. Lesson learned. In the future I will just ‘assume’ what you mean.

      On another point, since you continue to bring this up two or three streams down the road, I 'assume' it is you who are clinging to it.

      .

      Delete
    3. I suggest you take it up with Peter who raised the subject.

      Delete
  6. Cardoza, who like Miller will retire at the end of the Congress, said he thought the bill should have been done “in digestible pieces that the American public could understand and that we could implement.”

    The most recent wave of misgivings from Democrats began with Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who told New York magazine that Democrats “paid a terrible price for healthcare.”

    Link

    “I think the Affordable Care Act is the single least popular piece of major domestic legislation in the last 70 years. It was not popular when it passed; it’s less popular now,” Davis said. “I think the worst thing that could happen to Barack Obama’s reelection campaign would be if he had to spend four months this fall explaining what ObamaCare 2 would look like.”

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  7. This sibling rivalry is not just between Republicans and Democrats; it also exists somewhat more subtly within each caucus. Most obvious is the jealousy and back-stabbing of the Majority Leader, Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

    In my decade in Congress, I have spent a fair amount of time with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). I respect him and we have worked well together. John and I often don’t agree on policy, but he is always thoughtful and gracious. The rivalry between him and Mr. Cantor is not unusual, but it is unusually destructive, and it is one of the main reasons that this Congress has been so unable to find consensus on anything. I am not the only one to notice the divide, either. Just a few weeks ago at the annual Alfalfa Club Dinner, President Obama ribbed the Speaker saying, “Mr. Boehner, it's good to see you sitting at the main table. I know how badly Mr. Cantor wanted that seat!”

    Link

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  8. "Partnering" - the new GSE for "how to fix A:"

    At Microsoft, we believe that technology can play a critical role helping all workers realize their potential, but particularly the next generation. Over the past decade, Microsoft has created important public/private partnerships with governments, communities, and non-profits to help prepare the next generation of students for success in this ever evolving marketplace. We have focused our efforts on programs that provide youth with the tools they will need to succeed.

    Link

    It's also part and parcel of "Creative Capitalism" another pet project of Bill Gates.

    ReplyDelete
  9. **************************

    In America and Europe, he learned, polluters had been forced to clean up their act by governments that passed and enforced laws, and by individuals who took persistent violators to court.

    Neither of those routes was going to work in China, he realized.

    "We have the laws and regulations, but enforcement remains very weak," he says. "Environmental agencies in China are hamstrung by local officials who put economic growth ahead of environmental protection; even the courts are beholden to local officials, and they are not open to environmental litigation.

    "So we can't go that way," he concluded.

    Instead, he thought, the key was transparency. If enough people knew who was spewing what into China's rivers they might be able to put sufficient pressure on the polluters to shame them into better behavior.

    **************************

    Link

    I'm not sure that work work here.

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  10. *************************

    Yet in what is now a storied pattern from the early days of the music business, camaraderie crumbled amid fame. Robbie Robertson, The Band’s lead guitarist, joined with the band’s management to persuade the others to sign away their individual publishing rights, which in today’s era of multiplatform media are considered the pension plans of the music industry. They ensure artists later income when the songs receive renewed life in movies, television, and beyond.

    In his autobiography “This Wheel’s On Fire,” Helm describes seeing a copy of the 1969 album “The Band” and noticing he was credited for writing only half of one song, with Mr. Robertson credited on all 12.

    “Someone had pencil-whipped us. It was an old tactic: divide and conquer,” he writes.

    Things got worse in 1978 when director Martin Scorsese, who collaborated with Robertson on the film “The Last Waltz,” reinforced what Helm said was a false narrative that Robertson was somehow the band’s auteur.

    ***************************

    Link

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  11. Link

    Now, despite the Arab Spring and other pro-democracy movements around the world, including in Russia, lowering clouds have rolled back in for these scientists. So much so that on Tuesday the BAS directors announced they were moving the minute hand of the clock back to the 2007 position – 11:55.

    “Two years ago, it appeared that world leaders might address the truly global threats that we face,” the BAS directors said in a statement. “In many cases, that trend has not continued or been reversed.”

    “Inaction on key issues including climate change, and rising international tensions motivate the movement of the clock,” the group said in its statement. “As we see it, the major challenge at the heart of humanity’s survival in the 21st century is how to meet energy needs for economic growth in developing and industrial countries without further damaging the climate, exposing people to loss of health and community, and without risking further spread of nuclear weapons.”

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  12. Follow the Money (Link)

    Crossroads alone announced Friday it had raised $100 million through the end of last month for its 2012 efforts. And while it’s debatable whether the haul puts Crossroads on pace to raise the jaw-dropping $300 million it hopes to spend during campaign 2012, it definitely puts them on the same plane as the RNC, which had raised $122 million for its 2012 efforts through March. Crossroads has even raised more money this year, pulling in $49 million to the RNC’s $44 million.

    But it’s not just Crossroads’ money that poses a threat to the RNC. While the official GOP navigates bureaucracy and internal tensions, outside groups led by just a handful of seasoned operatives are quickly and quietly coordinating their strategies and ad buys in regular meetings held in Crossroads’ conference room.

    The fundraising ability, influence and efficiency of these groups are raising questions about whether this year isn’t just a fluke, but the new normal — where outsiders are the real power center of conservative politics.

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  13. In addition to forcing the parties to narrow their remit, the outside groups also are cannibalizing the RNC’s big-donor base, asserted Michael Steele. He was chairman of the RNC when Crossroads was created in 2010 and accused Rove and his cohort of steering big donors away from the RNC and to Crossroads.

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  14. **************************

    The Campaign for Primary Accountability, a super PAC that has targeted incumbent members of Congress, raised more than $645,000 in March, federal documents show.

    ...

    It has also touched off controversy within the Republican Party due of a $25,000 contribution House Minority Leader Eric Cantor made to the group through his leadership PAC last month.

    ...

    Responding to the controversy stemming from his donation, Cantor has said that the money was supposed to have been earmarked for the Manzullo race, not for expenditures against other Republican incumbents.

    ...

    However, Curtis Ellis, a spokesman for CPA, insisted repeatedly in an interview that neither Cantor nor his staff asked CPA to earmark his donation to that race before it was spent.

    *************************

    Link

    Eric Cantor is a piece of work.

    For those who don't know, Leo Linbeck III is a semi-regular at BC who posts under his name (obviously.) He repeatedly emphasizes that the PAC, of which he is a co-founder, targets incumbents - of both parties. He consistently receives a muted response.

    ReplyDelete
  15. We must also save the oceans

    SAVING THE OCEAN is not just another doom-and-gloom TV show; it's about people solving problems.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Not sure at under $100 million that Linbeck's group is big enough to be called "shadowy."

    By extension that would make the Koch Brothers black holes.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Make that under $1 million.

    Enough already.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Big Democratic donors stiff super PACs (Link)

    **************************

    “This is new for Democrats,” said Bill Burton, a former aide to Obama who left the White House this year to help form a new outside spending outfit called Priorities USA. “Democrats really haven’t tried a comprehensive set of outside groups to answer what the right is doing. And in the last presidential cycle, there was very little outside activity at all.”

    ...

    The emergence of outside groups as integral players in campaigns stems from a pair of federal court rulings last year, including a case called Citizens United vs. FEC that cleared corporations and unions to spend unlimited sums in politics and another that spawned a new breed of political action committee known as super PACs.

    Leaning on the rulings, Crossroads pioneered a legal structure that includes two groups that can accept unlimited donations — a super PAC that’s required to disclose its contributors and a nonprofit registered under section 501(c)(4) of the Tax Code that can keep its donors anonymous.

    The structure was copied this year by Priorities and other new Democratic outside outfits.

    ...

    “There is a discontent brewing with both the super PACs and the party committees because there are donors who don’t want their money going to help the likes of a Ben Nelson, who can’t even vote to extend unemployment benefits, or some of the Blue Dogs,” said Leo Hindery, a New York investor who’s contributed more than $2.8 million to Democratic candidates and groups. “But in principal, I dislike the super PACs more than I dislike the committees, as I hate seeing either party playing the so-called PAC game.”

    ************************

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  19. Yes let's put a statue up of hitchens. Right, then we can name a bunch of blvds after him. In fact let's raise statues for every narrow minded intolerant blow hard.

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    1. .

      Hitchens will be remembered by his words. I liked the guy although I disagreed with about half of what he said. Like you, Gag, I don't think we need to statue to the him; however, naming a bourbon ("Old Hitch"?) after him might be appropriate.

      .

      Delete
  20. Peak Oil Is A Big Fraud

    Before Rufus blows a gasket, most of the comments are on his side of the argument.

    Next week is consideration of the new five year food stamp bill, aka The Farm Bill.
    80% of the money in the bill is targeted to food assistance of some kind. Lots of conflicting interests here, democracy at work.

    Spring has sprung here finally and for sure.

    whooeeee!

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  21. I doubt there are even 29 virgins in Denmark.

    ReplyDelete
  22. In honor of Earth Day and saving everything KILL THE WOLVES SAVE THE ELK.

    I am reminded as I just gave a deposit back to a couple the wife of which works for Idaho Fish and Game.

    Now, I want my elk back, says I.

    "It wasn't our fault, it wasn't all our fault" she says, defensively.

    "It was mostly the fault of the Feds"

    In my mind I stored away that 'mostly'.

    The blame game is on.

    But she is right about that it was mostly the Feds.

    aka fools back east like deuce, quirk, etc. Melody excluded as PETA for against introduction. and from California.

    Now the elk are gone, not enough in Lolo to reproduce, and the helicopter gunships are still in the air, failing.

    POISON THE BRUTES ITS THE ONLY WAY

    St. Francis is going to do it. It's way past his pay grade.

    I hope you folks are happy with yourselves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In honor of Earth Day and saving everything KILL THE WOLVES SAVE THE ELK.

      I am reminded as I just gave a deposit back to a couple the wife of which works for Idaho Fish and Game.

      Now, I want my elk back, says I.

      "It wasn't our fault, it wasn't all our fault" she says, defensively.

      "It was mostly the fault of the Feds"

      In my mind I stored away that 'mostly'.

      The blame game is on.

      But she is right about that it was mostly the Feds.

      aka fools back east like deuce, quirk, etc. Melody excluded as PETA was against introduction, and fools from California.

      Now the elk are gone, not enough in Lolo to reproduce, and the helicopter gunships are still in the air, failing.

      POISON THE BRUTES ITS THE ONLY WAY

      St. Francis is going to do it? It's way past his pay grade.

      I hope you folks are happy with yourselves.

      Delete
  23. What Really Keeps US Post Office From Making A Profit (Link)

    Well before online bill paying was popular, the Postal Service in 2000 began operating a secure system that would have allowed it to remain the primary conduit for most Americans’ monthly payments.

    But the Internet industry objected, and Congress successfully pressured the Postal Service to abandon it.

    The same pattern has repeated several times over the last decade, with the Postal Service identifying a way to cope with the decline of traditional mail, only to have companies — and ultimately Congress — object.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Replies
    1. sorry about the dropped comma. It is malbec time.

      Delete
  25. Giving up your Man Card (Link)

    First there was the metrosexual.

    Then men started shaving their legs even if they weren't Lance Armstrong. Then came the man-purse — I mean, satchel. Then Tom Brady started wearing UGGs.

    Now there's Mantyhose.

    Left out the ever popular boyzilian.

    ReplyDelete
  26. A statue for Quirk.

    Old Hitch it should be.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Replies
    1. Sorry, why would we expect something sensible from a person willing to take a bullet for Obama. The life of a worker bee.

      Delete
  28. See, thing is, I don't give a rat's ass.

    Speaking of which might want to check out the new Deserat poster @BC.

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  29. Remembering Allan Bloom

    Everything really started to go to hell with Little Richard and Elvis. Even Frank Sinatra recognized that.

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  30. Saddam died cursing the Iranians. Hitchens cursed the darkness pretending to be the light.

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  31. We really are children. Imagine, three years ago the dopes in Stockholm awared Obama the Peace Prize. Even those fools grew up.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Charles Colson, a Nixon aide involved in Watergate, dies aged 80. I understood him better when he was an un-alloyed prick.

    ReplyDelete
  33. We will not be doing a tribute to CC.

    ReplyDelete
  34. .

    Let's hope we don't have to end up doing a tribute for the rat.

    I predicted he would be back here in April. We are fast running out of April. Hope nothing happened to the old caballero.

    .

    ReplyDelete
  35. Who is Ted Nugent?

    I really want to know.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Who is Orrin Hatch?

    Oh, he's that forever 'Republican' Senator in Utah forced into a primary because he could not get 60% in the caucus with all the operational and organizational advantages.

    I don't know if this is good or bad. He will probably win the primary but if he doesn't and a Tea Party republican runs in the general....who knows?

    Who is Ted Nugent?

    ReplyDelete