I will confess to not being the biggest Hitchens fan, which is putting it lightly. I know the guy just died, but if I’m being honest… I was rooting for the scotch and cigarettes.
I just never liked Hitchens. I’m sorry for the loss to his family and friends, but I know they won’t be reading this. I imagine only fans of Hitchens will read this, and to them, I have a few choice words.
There’s really two main points on which I disagree with Hitchens, and only one of them is enough to make me dislike the guy. The first, less severe disagreement I have with him is that he tried to argue that women are naturally less funny than men. He tried to pull some labored evolutionary argument out of his ass (something about how women are already attractive to men, so they don’t have to make men laugh, whereas men have to attract women… I found it piss-poor at best). Never mind that humor is not an in-born trait, but an art which is worked at. Plenty of women make the effort and succeed at comedy, and not only as a career.
But I can overlook that. In the grand scheme of things, I can get over one article where someone is sharing his blatant bias and justifying it by utterly misinterpreting a scientific study whose actual findings were that women seem to essentially enjoy humor more and be more sensitive to what they find to be “unfunny.” Plus, it’s quite clear from the article that he does address many of these concerns (though why he ignores them is anyone’s guess). I didn’t even hate the article [http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2007/01/hitchens200701], I just think it’s a dumb conclusion to think women are less humorous than men. I’ve said more offensive things, and there’s much worse insults to women than to outright claim they’re less funny.
But the deal breaker, the one thing that I found out about Hitchens which I cannot stand, is his anti-Islamic war-mongering. If my interpretation of his writing on the subject is correct, he basically thinks we should be killing Muslims wholesale because he hates religion. I’m positive that isn’t how he would have phrased it, but that is what is essentially coming out. He appears to think that some distant group who believes something different than we do is a threat to us.
That’s precisely the kind of atheism I do not like. I don’t want anything to do with people who actually support hurting – let alone killing – others because of their beliefs. I thought this was a basic ethical imperative, but apparently “feeling threatened” has become the new argument for justifying anything these days. Just FYI: you don’t have the right to not feel threatened.
I keep hearing from Hitchens and people like him that Muslims want to take away our freedoms… but from what I can see, the strategy seems to be for the governments of the West to violate all civil and human rights first, before these damned Muslims can get their dirty hands on them. Oddly enough, I feel threatened by the breach in basic freedoms and human rights which the War on Terror has resulted in. I don’t need some overseas, brown-skinned boogeyman to make me feel like my rights are going to be violated; there’s an army of pale-faced chickenhawks here in the West.
And now there’s one less. Pardon me if I don’t miss him.