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"We Prefer a Conspiracy Theory to No Theory At All" - Christopher Hitchens Interview (2007)

SILVIEW Media
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Published on 03 Jul 2022 / In News and Politics

Hitchens' books: https://www.amazon.com/gp/search?ie=UTF8&tag=tra0c7-20&linkCode=ur2&linkId=72cf442f293aa9c43f5d1803934cd95a&camp=1789&creative=9325&index=books&keywords=christopher%20hitchens

Hitchens went to the United States in 1981 as part of an editor exchange programme between the New Statesman and The Nation. After joining The Nation, he penned vociferous critiques of Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and American foreign policy in South and Central America.

Hitchens became a contributing editor of Vanity Fair in 1992, writing ten columns a year. He left The Nation in 2002 after profoundly disagreeing with other contributors over the Iraq War.

There is speculation that Hitchens was the inspiration for Tom Wolfe's character Peter Fallow in the 1987 novel The Bonfire of the Vanities, but others—including Hitchens—believe it to be Spy Magazine's "Ironman Nightlife Decathlete", Anthony Haden-Guest. In 1987, Hitchens's father died from cancer of the oesophagus, the same disease that would later claim his own life. In April 2007, Hitchens became a US citizen; he later stated that he saw himself as Anglo-American.

Hitchens spent part of his early career in journalism as a foreign correspondent in Cyprus.[69] Through his work there he met his first wife Eleni Meleagrou, a Greek Cypriot, with whom he had two children, Alexander and Sophia. His son, Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens, born in 1984, has worked as a policy researcher in London. Hitchens continued writing essay-style correspondence pieces from a variety of locales, including Chad, Uganda and the Darfur region of Sudan. In 1991, he received a Lannan Literary Award for Nonfiction.

Hitchens met Carol Blue in Los Angeles in 1989 and they married in 1991. Hitchens called it love at first sight. In 1999, Hitchens and Blue, both harsh critics of President Clinton, submitted an affidavit to the trial managers of the Republican Party in the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Therein they swore that their then friend Sidney Blumenthal had described Monica Lewinsky as a stalker. This allegation contradicted Blumenthal's own sworn deposition in the trial, and it resulted in a hostile exchange of opinion in the public sphere between Hitchens and Blumenthal. Following the publication of Blumenthal's The Clinton Wars, Hitchens wrote several pieces in which he accused Blumenthal of manipulating the facts. The incident ended their friendship and sparked a personal crisis for Hitchens, who was stridently criticised by friends for what they saw as a cynical and ultimately politically futile act.

Before Hitchens's political shift, the American author and polemicist Gore Vidal was apt to speak of Hitchens as his "dauphin" or "heir". In 2010, Hitchens attacked Vidal in a Vanity Fair piece headlined "Vidal Loco", calling him a "crackpot" for his adoption of 9/11 conspiracy theories. Hitchens's strong advocacy of the war in Iraq gained him a wider readership, and in September 2005 he was named as fifth on the list of the "Top 100 Public Intellectuals" by Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines. An online poll ranked the 100 intellectuals, but the magazines noted that the rankings of Hitchens (5), Noam Chomsky (1), and Abdolkarim Soroush (15) were partly due to their respective supporters' publicising of the vote. Hitchens later responded to his ranking with a few articles about his status as such.

Hitchens did not leave his position writing for The Nation until after the 11 September attacks, stating that he felt the magazine had arrived at a position "that John Ashcroft is a greater menace than Osama bin Laden". The 11 September attacks "exhilarated" him, bringing into focus "a battle between everything I love and everything I hate" and strengthening his embrace of an interventionist foreign policy that challenged "fascism with an Islamic face." His numerous editorials in support of the Iraq War caused some to label him a neoconservative, although Hitchens insisted he was not "a conservative of any kind", and his friend Ian McEwan described him as representing the anti-totalitarian left. Hitchens recalls in his memoir having been "invited by Bernard-Henri Lévy to write an essay on political reconsiderations for his magazine La Regle du Jeu. I gave it the partly ironic title: 'Can One Be a Neoconservative?' Impatient with this, some copy editor put it on the cover as 'How I Became a Neoconservative.' Perhaps this was an instance of the Cartesian principle as opposed to the English empiricist one: It was decided that I evidently was what I apparently only thought." Indeed, in a 2010 BBC interview, he stated that he "still [thought] like a Marxist" and considered himself "a leftist."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Hitchens

Image: meesh from washington dc, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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