zaterdag, november 12, 2005

Hitchens' Kurdish Jeep Revisionism

Correction: In the last piece, I mentioned that everyone, both critics and admirers of Hitchens, have accepted at face value Christopher's Kurdish Jeep Revisionism. This is not completely true, as Dennis Perrin, a friend of Hitch's and author of American Fan, has written in to say. Dennis has written about the mythical Jeep episode a number of times. From his blog, Red State Son:
'He may have been in a Kurdish jeep, but the [story about his conversion therein] is a complete lie, and Hitchens knows this. I spent time with him in the period he mentions, and he never stopped criticizing Bush's "mad contest" with Saddam, much less opined that "co-existence" with Saddam was "no longer possible." I have a tape of him debating Ken Adelman on C-SPAN in 1993 where he's still critical of the Gulf War, and again no mention of wanting to overthrow Saddam. As late as 2002, when I asked him directly if he did indeed favor a US invasion, he waffled and said that W. would have to convince him on "about a zillion fronts" before he could sign on.

'But that wouldn't make for good drama, nor would it bolster his public image as Stout Warrior. So he tells the above tale, and does so without shame. When I first heard him do this on Don Imus's radio show (Hitchens is no racist but he has no problem using one for exposure), I emailed him and reminded him of his history. He didn't deny it, said that perhaps his memory wasn't as sharp as he would like, but in the end it didn't matter. Who cares what he said in 1993 or 2002 -- this is what he's saying now and if I didn't like it, tough.'
Also worth reading, if you haven't yet, Dennis' 2003 obituary for Hitchens, which appeared in the Minneapolis/St. Paul City Pages, which is far better than Alexander Cockburns' sometimes-bordering-on-homophobic attacks on Hitchens, and expresses very well the disappointment rather than the anger many of us feel who once were fans of Hitchens . As another of Hitchens' former friends and Buffy the Vampire Slayer analyst, Roz Kaveney, puts it,
'There is that exchange in Buffy 6.6 where Dawn says "This is going to be one of those things where you are not angry, just very disappointed" and Giles says "Yes, except for the not being angry part."
I was never a Buffy fan, but that about sums up my feelings towards the once great writer.

Oh, and do go have a read of Roz's captivating remembrance of her days with Hitch at Oxford. He may these days prefer the company of those campaigning against the militant homosexualist agenda, but as a young buck he had a rather different prediliction.


Update: It seems it's just a right-old salmagundi of hypocrisy and double-standards for Hitchens these days, le pauvre.

Jonathan at A Tiny Revolution apparently did a comedy double-take when watching that somewhat oldish Hitch documentary of his book, The Trial of Henry Kissenger, saying, 'Hold on a sec, lemme just rewind that bit...That's not...why, why, yes it is the International Action Center Christopher is chatting quite, quite friendlily with at an anti-Kissinger protest. But, but I thought he didn't like them very much...'