DC iconoclast, polemicist, journalist and denizen Christopher Hitchens has had to cut short his book tour due a recent cancer diagnosis. While details are still murky, Hitchens informed the public in a surprisingly British fashion:
I have been advised by my physician that I must undergo a course of chemotherapy on my esophagus. This advice seems persuasive to me. I regret having had to cancel so many engagements at such short notice.
Strangely understated for a man that once dubbed George W. Bush (whom he supported in 2004) as:
…unusually incurious, abnormally unintelligent, amazingly inarticulate, fantastically uncultured, extraordinarily uneducated, and apparently proud of all these things.
While there isn’t a good type of cancer to have, if he indeed does have cancer of the esophagus that would certainly fall into the more grim category.
This is a great shame. In addition to being hyper-articulate and one of the most brilliant public intellectuals of our time, he is also one of DC’s true gems. While DC is not shy on celebrities, they tend to be the very clichéd politicians, political consultants and the like, whereas Hitchens is probably better suited for trendy Manhattan social events, or the Oxford speaking circuit. Yet he chooses to reside in our fair provincial city; obsessed with being close to the beating-heart of the Republic he defends with considerable vigor.
If you are unconvinced by his celebrity, a quick troll through Youtube will find him in every national and international forum verbally demolishing an opponent. While he has certainly many more impressive appearances than the one below, I doubt you’ll find one more entertaining (watch it till the very end):
Being the son of an Anglo-American, anti-monarchist, anti-religion, scotch-loving, verbally jousting man myself, I have always had a certain affection for his work. While I am sure he will fight this cancer like he does every other cause in his life, we should all be pulling for his recovery. Whether you agree with him or not (there are certainly issues where I do not) to lose him would be a great tragedy for the public discourse. So please, hope for the best – but by all means – don’t pray for him.