May 31, 2005


The Heritage Foundation (DANIEL LAZARE, June 13, 2005, The Nation)

James Atlas, the bow-tied editor in charge of HarperCollins's "Eminent Lives" series of short biographies, is not known for his sense of humor, but in publishing Paul Johnson and Christopher Hitchens back to back, he's revealed a mischievous streak that had previously gone unnoticed. Johnson, the New Statesman editor turned right-wing author of such bestsellers as Modern Times (1983), A History of the Jews (1987) and Intellectuals (1988), once denounced Hitchens for launching an attack on Mother Teresa that he termed "loathsome and mendacious." Hitchens, the ex-Trotskyist turned supporter of Bush's invasion of Iraq, has attacked Johnson over the years as not only a drunken, wife-beating, racist snob but a drunken, wife-beating, racist snob who, when not assailing the morals of others, has been known to enjoy a good spanking at the hands of his friendly local dominatrix. In short, not the sort of couple you'd expect to find sharing a candle-lit dinner at some quiet bistro. Yet here they are, together at last, with nearly simultaneous bios of two of America's most sainted founders

What is with the Left's weird fascination with the sex lives of conservatives? Christopher Hitchens no sooner came out as a man of the Right than his friends started accusing him of being at best a repressed homosexual.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 31, 2005 5:02 PM

Thay don't understand sin. For them moral failings are a sign that one is on board for the transvaluation of all values. For the non-twisted, sin is to be repented of.

Posted by: Luciferous at May 31, 2005 5:43 PM

The Left is fascinated with sex, period.

Posted by: Jeff Brokaw at May 31, 2005 5:52 PM

Worth pointing out, though, that Johnson was caught cheating on his wife and admitted as much. Boy, did Hitchens have fun with that.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at May 31, 2005 6:55 PM

leftists are biologically incapable of having fun, that's why they get into so many twisted activities, and why they envy others who do know how to have a good time. its funny the things they thing are insulting or hurtful.

Posted by: cjm at May 31, 2005 7:11 PM

For the British, the combination of politics, class and psychology is irresistible. There is nothing about anyone's political convictions that can't be thrown into a carping, very personal and mean debate. Dr. Phil would be way over his head over there.

Posted by: Peter B at May 31, 2005 8:03 PM

Peter B:

Who does this sound like?

[Christopher] has several faiths. He has the faith I think of Darwinism, which is just like Christianity, an unproveable theory, which you can believe if you want because you prefer that arrangement of the universe. I happen to think the arrangement of the universe based on the belief in intelligent life is more tolerable than both morally and aesthetically, but he prefers another. I dislike only the attitude that his atheism is not a faith, because it is.

And sorry OJ -- I mean Mr. Hitchens -- but there's no way this guy is converting to Catholicism:

The real difference between Peter and myself is the belief in the supernatural. I'm a materialist and he attributes his presence here to a divine plan. I can't stand anyone who believes in God, who invokes the divinity or who is a person of faith. I mean, that to me is horrible repulsive thing.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at May 31, 2005 8:15 PM


As that points out, they're quite similar. Darwinism is the faith of one's immature years.

Posted by: oj at May 31, 2005 8:21 PM


I'll go with you on this one. Hitchens is an anti-religious,leftist American exceptionalist. I fully realize such an aninal is not supposed to exist, but he is already too old and cranky to expect much more.

Posted by: Peter B at May 31, 2005 8:41 PM

Lindbergh, too, though for some reason brothersjuddblog ignored that one last week.

It was really juicy, too.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at May 31, 2005 9:52 PM


His old lady was banging Antoine St. Exupery--of course he had some on the side.

Posted by: oj at May 31, 2005 10:16 PM

are you saying "Silent Spring" was a metaphor for the Lindbergh marital bed ?

Posted by: cjm at May 31, 2005 11:36 PM

Peter B:

What I don't understand is when did Hitchens become, in OJ's words, a "man of the Right"? Sure, he doesn't fit into the usual pigeonholes, but he still calls himself a socialist while despising traditional morality and the very concept of God. His support of the War on Terror against illiberal, theocratic maniacs only shows that he takes the Left's ideals more seriously than his compatriots do: they become blinded whenever America enters the picture.

I suppose conceivably he could be a man of the Right in the same way a libertarian is a man of the Right -- but he's not a conservative.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at June 1, 2005 12:28 AM

Read him on Orwell and Waugh and you can see where he's headed.

Posted by: oj at June 1, 2005 12:32 AM

Hitchens explicitly stated that Orwell was not a conservative.
Then again, Orwell also explicitly stated that Orwell was not a conservative, and Orrin won't take his word for it. We can hardly be surprised when he claims the same thing about Hitchens.


Posted by: Noel Erinjeri at June 1, 2005 2:18 AM


I don't know what to say about him. His writings on the war on terror and Iraq were the best of anything I read and his takedown of Michael Moore was a work of art. He is also very good on the American character and what distinguishes American politics. But he is mean and you never know where his lines of battle are and what are his baseline values. I know Orrin thinks he is headed in an irreversible direction, but Orrin thinks everyone is. :-)

OTOH, his brother, who can be great, if shrill, on social and moral issues, took an old-fashioned "county squire and tea with the vicar" conservative approach to the war on terror and argued Britain should stay out of that dangerously progressive, secular venture. Go figure.

Posted by: Peter B at June 1, 2005 6:41 AM


Yes, Hitchens is not explicit but implict in his conservatism.

Posted by: oj at June 1, 2005 7:28 AM

It is precisely Hitchens' sense of morals that prevents him from believing in God.

But some may refer to this as "implicit" belief.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at June 2, 2005 10:17 AM


But that's just the old bit about "I'd be a better God than this one." People generally outgrow that one.

Posted by: oj at June 2, 2005 10:25 AM