Christopher Hitchens, 1949 – 2011

Writer Christopher Hitchens has died aged 62.

He was as contrary as he was brilliant.

Here is a brief In Memoriam from Vanity Fair (his outlet of choice since 1992) and, here, a longer tribute from his friend Christopher Buckley Stanley in The New Yorker.

Better, perhaps, though to post one of Hitchens’ own writings in tribute.  I’ll make no apology for choosing one of his most remarked upon pieces of recent years — his 2008 Vanity Fair article on waterboarding, Believe Me, It’s Torture, after having volunteered to personally experience the infamous interrogation technique.

This was a brave article, not just in the physical or mental sense of someone voluntarily undergoing torture (albeit one that was within his power to stop),  but because of Hitchens’ willingness to challenge the orthodox US view of waterboarding as morally acceptable. All the braver, perhaps, too as Hitchens had previously endorsed the war on Iraq and Bush as President.

Christopher Hitchens, 1949 – 2011