Dover Bitch

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Smite those furrows, Hitchens

Ezra Klein has an amusing and fascinating post about Christopher Hitchens and his understated, self-described solipsism. Oh, and the fact that he's completely insane.

In a 2003 interview, Hitchens said the events of September 11th filled him with "exhiliration." His friend Ian Buruma, the writer, told me, "I don't quite see Christopher as a 'man of action,' but he's always looking for our defining moments--as it were, our Spanish Civil War, where you put yourself on the right side and stand up to the enemy." Hitchens foresaw "a war to the finish between everything I love and everything I hate." Here was a question on which history would judge him; and just as Orwell had (in his view) got it right on the great questions of the 20th century -- Communism, Fascism, and imperialism -- so Hitchens wanted a future student to see that he had been similarly clear-eyed (He once wrote, "I have tried for much of my life to write as if I was composing my sentences posthumously.)

Absorb that: This isn't about 9/11, or "Islamofascism," or repression in the Arab World. It's about Christopher Hitchens. It's about his need for an enemy great enough, dark enough, sinister enough, and threatening enough that he can match the exploits and courage of Orwell's unpopular, often courageous crusades.

DB didn't blog on it at the time, but this post by Josh Marshall is an all-time favorite:

A little earlier this evening I linked to this post from young DC blogger Kris Lofgren who got into the AEI Chalabi speech today and managed to score a few moments of quality time with Christopher Hitchens to boot.

In his post he tells us ...

Hitchens then turned the subject back to Chalabi, his good friend. I asked him if he thought Chalabi had been passing American intelligence to the Iranians. "No," he insisted. "It's possible that with his training, you know, at [The University of] Chicago that with his own ability he was able to crack the codes. He is a mathematical genius. His expertise is cryptology. It is possible that he broke the codes himself." (This is a paraphrase since I was walking down M Street and crossing Connecticut Avenue all while being amazed that I was having an actual conversation with Christopher Hitchens at the time). Now, I don't believe this for one second. Why would Chalabi be trying to break American codes in his spare time anyway? Who does that if they are friendly to us? Suspicious, I say.

Damn, that's funny. This guy is has so much Kool-Aide coming out of his pores (insert booze joke here) that he thought Chalabi could be a walking quantum computer, capable of factoring enormous numbers into primes with a pencil, or perhaps just his mind. A TPM reader points out that Chalabi didn't even specialize in cryptology. Hilarious.

Looking back at Hitchens' May 2004 defense of Chalabi, appropriately titled by an observant copy editor, "Ahmad and Me," it is clearer than ever that it's always all about "Me."

DB's favorite part:

As for "exile" -- a term used as a sneer by many people who have never set foot in Iraq -- it is a word that would cover Willy Brandt, Bruno Kreisky, Andreas Papandreou, Benigno Aquino, and Kim Dae Jung, to name a few. Admittedly these brave men (four of whom I have met) were in prominent positions in existing mass-based parties before they fled their homelands, later to return as leaders.

Awesome. To find that kind of futile self-gratification-through-association from a dreamer whose time has come and gone, one must look to the great poets, like Alfred Lord Tennyson:

Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.

Tho' much is taken, much abides, indeed.

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