Leaving the hotel early, I hadn’t time to read the copy of the New York Times that was delivered to my room. I decided to save that pleasure for the flight home and took the paper with me. Ensconced in a comfortable seat on the Airbus and heading toward TOC, I read that Christopher Hitchens had died, succumbing to pneumonia—a complication of esophageal cancer. I am devastated.
I cannot say why I feel so connected to Christopher. His succinct summation of Sarah Palin during the last election cycle and his voluntary subjection to waterboarding were two outstanding moments in the life of a journalist, I thought. His position with regard to the Deity challenged many of us to review and consider our own thoughts on the subject thus qualifying Christopher, in my view, as the quintessential philosopher.
He had a way with words did Christopher. This was an art form in which he excelled. He was a wordsmith--a consummate communicator--and that, I think, is the highest compliment I can pay to anyone.
It is a supreme irony that I return from a journey celebrating the efforts of Charlie Evans Jr. and Victor DeNoble to spread the word about nicotine addiction and the horrific effects of tobacco on human mortality to read about the loss of a valued intellect and instigator of critical thought.
Woe is all of us.