Notes From Babel


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I finished reading Christopher Hitchens’ Hitch-22 last week.  (I bought the book at Barnes & Noble, but then found it at Costco for $10 cheaper, and now I can’t find the B&N receipt.  If anyone wants a copy, I’ve got one for cheap.)  Hitchens has an almost irritably endearing quality of winning you over with one point immediately after irking you with another. Depending on your point of view, this process may work in reverse order.

Hitchens indulges in at least one deviation from this construct when it comes to religion, however.  Here, Hitchens wastes no opportunity to lavish insult on those harboring any sympathy for the transcendental, and then obnoxiously and bewilderingly twists the knife by explaining why Judaism demonstrates an inherent skepticism, suggesting Jews are perhaps latent or unrealized atheists, and thus morally superior to Christians and Muslims.  Perhaps Hitchens is merely thinking out loud here, trying to reconcile his half-Jewishness with his full-atheistness.

This, of course, is more-or-less a footnote of Hitch-22.  Hitchens’ journey from a young socialist to a left-hawk is the major theme of the work.  given Hitchens’ impossibly diverse collection of experiences and assemblage of points of view, it is altogether unlikely there will not be some important and heretofore unlearned lesson for every constituent of his readership.

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Written by Tim Kowal

July 10, 2010 at 10:58 am

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