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Tony Grist

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Peter Hitchens, Snow, Holiday Reading [Dec. 17th, 2011|12:55 pm]
Tony Grist
Christopher Hitchens died and by a process of lateral thinking I found myself spending much of the afternoon on his brother's website. Peter Hitchens wants it to be the 1950s or the 1900s or the Middle Ages or any time at all except the present. He thinks the bombing of civilians is an atrocious crime (even when we Brits do it) and he detests David Cameron. Christopher characterised him as a good, buff-coated Cromwellian soldier- and I think that fits him admirably. You don't have to agree with a person to find them congenial.

It snowed overnight- and I walked to our local Tesco through slush. I bought oatcakes. I would like it to snow some more. Let's have a day or two of proper Breughelian winter.

The holidays are upon us and I've been downloading holiday reading onto my e-reader. My seasonal choices are Charlotte Bronte's Villette (the only Bronte novel I've ever read is Wuthering Heights), Conan Doyle's two books about Brigadier Gerard and Conrad's Heart of Darkness.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: ooxc
2011-12-17 01:06 pm (UTC)
Don't let's! I don't want to be snowed up for two weeks again this Christmas - or, at least - let's wait until I come back for the New Year -
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-12-17 01:43 pm (UTC)
The forecast is for a cold weekend, followed by a warmer week. I think that would be quite nice. I'd like snow tomorrow and then a thaw.
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[User Picture]From: ideealisme
2011-12-17 01:58 pm (UTC)
I'm meh about Christopher Hitchens. He just strikes me as a man given every privilege possible by society who availed himself unthinkingly of all those given privileges, including that of being able to leave his pregnant wife for a younger woman due to handsomeness, status and male reproductive endurance, who then sets himself up as a left-wing rebel. A bit like Dawkins's constant Oxford in-jokes. I think it's a bit special pleading of privileged rich men to decry belief systems that have provided comfort for the poor. Not saying I'm happy he's dead or that he doesn't have things worth saying, it's just that the tired old maxim "check your privilege" really does apply here IMO.

Edited at 2011-12-17 01:59 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: ideealisme
2011-12-17 02:00 pm (UTC)
Good god, did I say "privileged" enough in that comment or what ;)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-12-17 03:01 pm (UTC)
I largely agree.

I don't think he was that wonderful a writer either- and certainly not an original thinker.

I like his brother better.
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[User Picture]From: ideealisme
2011-12-17 03:07 pm (UTC)
I have God Is Not Great in my bookshelf. It seemed a sustained rant against some daddy figure who had let him down. I wonder if men are more into his style than women. We don't have to overthrow Daddy, so we're not interested.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-12-17 06:01 pm (UTC)
Perhaps. Hitchens seemed like a very blokey guy. I'm fairly sure I wouldn't have liked him in person.

I used to have Daddy issues. And they got all mixed up with my feelings about God and Christianity. These days I don't care nearly so much about any of that stuff.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-12-17 06:01 pm (UTC)
I hear tell it's actually her best book.
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[User Picture]From: sorenr
2011-12-17 04:19 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't mind a spot of snow just up to Christmas... It would complete the holiday decorations of the apartment if the cemetery on the other side of the street was covered in snow...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-12-17 06:06 pm (UTC)
I want snow NOW- and for it to be gone by the end of next week, when I will be travelling.
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[User Picture]From: ron_broxted
2011-12-17 04:21 pm (UTC)
The hagiography of Hitchens has gone too far. He was a self hating Jew who despised Islam. Only thing I agreed with him about was Mother Teresa. Dreadful shit.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-12-17 06:19 pm (UTC)
I believe he is being made out to be a far more significant cultural figure than he actually was. Will his work still be read in 50 years time? I doubt it.
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[User Picture]From: ron_broxted
2011-12-17 07:15 pm (UTC)
I am trying to write a letter to the FCO. Is there a polite way to tell someone they are a (cont p.6)
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[User Picture]From: wolfshift
2011-12-17 07:46 pm (UTC)
And then in about 120 years he'll come back into vogue in academic circles!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-12-18 10:03 am (UTC)
Well, he'll obviously be important as a figure in the social/cultural history of the early 21st century. Academics will read him to get a handle on these times, but not- I think- to get a handle on their own.
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[User Picture]From: wolfshift
2011-12-17 07:47 pm (UTC)
Dare I ask WHY he thinks the 1950s or middle ages would be better than the 21st century?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-12-18 10:05 am (UTC)
I think he's nostalgic for his childhood.
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