We are fond of our categories here at Federalist Paupers, but we do fight over them at times. The Hitch-Slapped! one, for example, was originally called When I grow up I want to be Christopher Hitchens. We made the name change for two reasons: first, that the new one was shorter and punnier; second, that of all the sins Hitchens is guilty of, growing up isn’t one of them.
Theodore Dalrymple wrote a dual review of Christopher and Peter Hitchens’s memoirs. It’s painfully accurate about Chris’s strengths and flaws:
For me, indeed, there hangs over his writing the air of a clever adolescent alarming the less clever grown-ups with pronouncements he knows they will find outrageous or annoying; and, taking to heart his mother’s dictum that the one unforgivable sin is to be boring, he has eschewed moderation because it is so rarely amusing. This air of the naughty boy is present even when (in my opinion) he is quite right; and, unlike religion, it spoils everything.
By all means, read the whole thing.
Hubbard posted this at 10:50 AM CDT on Tuesday, May 25th, 2010 as Hatchet Job Time!, Hitch-slapped!
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Christopher Hitchens might be misstating the church’s position on contraception and homosexuality—I’m not enough of an expert on Catholic dogma to know the exact teachings here—but he’s very much right about the problems of pedophile priests:
Almost every week, I go and debate with spokesmen of religious faith. Invariably and without exception, they inform me that without a belief in supernatural authority I would have no basis for my morality. Yet here is an ancient Christian church that deals in awful certainties when it comes to outright condemnation of sins like divorce, abortion, contraception, and homosexuality between consenting adults. For these offenses there is no forgiveness, and moral absolutism is invoked. Yet let the subject be the rape and torture of defenseless children, and at once every kind of wiggle room and excuse-making is invoked. What can one say of a church that finds so much latitude for a crime so ghastly that no morally normal person can even think of it without shuddering?
It’s interesting, too, that the same church did its best to hide the rape and torture from the secular authorities, even forcing child victims (as in the disgusting case of Cardinal Sean Brady, the spiritual chieftain of the Catholics of Ireland) to sign secrecy oaths that prevented them from testifying against their rapists and torturers. Why were they so afraid of secular justice? Did they think it would be less indifferent and pliable than private priestly investigations? In that case, what is left of the shabby half-baked argument that people can’t understand elementary morality without a divine warrant?
For the record, I believe that the Catholic Church is one of the great forces for good in the world, but unless it cleans house, whether it will so remain is an open question. I realize that Hitchens is hardly a friend of religion, but some things are true about the church even if he says them.
Hubbard posted this at 7:25 PM CDT on Monday, March 22nd, 2010 as Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, Faith, Hatchet Job Time!, Hitch-slapped!
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Then this post, or at least the first third of it, is for you. It bothers me that someone so young and completely devoid of experience or expertise has risen so far and so fast. A 25 year old should not be writing opinion in one of the nation’s top newspapers.
Apollo posted this at 11:43 AM CDT on Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009 as Hatchet Job Time!, Journalism
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Peggy Noonan is often like a box of chocolates: you never know when the twee will ooze out. Today, however, she leaves behind the sugar and spice and bring out the hatchet. She chops away at Sarah Palin:
In television interviews [Palin] was out of her depth in a shallow pool. She was limited in her ability to explain and defend her positions, and sometimes in knowing them. She couldn’t say what she read because she didn’t read anything. She was utterly unconcerned by all this and seemed in fact rather proud of it: It was evidence of her authenticity. She experienced criticism as both partisan and cruel because she could see no truth in any of it. She wasn’t thoughtful enough to know she wasn’t thoughtful enough. Her presentation up to the end has been scattered, illogical, manipulative and self-referential to the point of self-reverence. “I’m not wired that way,” “I’m not a quitter,” “I’m standing up for our values.” I’m, I’m, I’m.
In another age it might not have been terrible, but here and now it was actually rather horrifying.
Few conservative commentators are so forgiving of conservatives as Noonan is. To paraphrase what Lyndon Johnson said of Cronkite, if Palin’s lost Noonan, she’s lost the nation.
Hubbard posted this at 9:00 AM CDT on Friday, July 10th, 2009 as Hatchet Job Time!, Politics
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