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Hitchens Reading List 12.19.20

With the passing of Vanity Fair Contributing Editor Christopher Hitchens came an outpouring of personal stories by journalists about their relationship with their friend, their mentor, their hero and in one case, someone they had met just once. We rounded them up for you here with a poignant line or excerpt.

Portrait by Patrick Ryan.

The Weekly Standard/Daily Caller’s Matt Labash writes for Slate on traveling with Hitchens in Iraq. “After a protracted tussle in which Yacoub demanded Hitchens’ press badges, then after a cooling off in which he gave them back, then after a resumption of hostilities when Hitchens decided he didn’t want his Kuwaiti press badge back as the Kuwaitis were proving themselves the tramplers of liberty, Yacoub screamed that Hitchens would ‘leave Kuwait tonight!’ It’s pretty hard to get kicked out of a war. But Hitchens almost managed.”

David Frum writes about the man he couldn’t resist even after meeting him.

Washington Photographer Patrick Ryan once spent a morning smoking and drinking with the great writer. “He came over to greet me wearing socks and we immediately started talking as though we’d known each other for years.”

Townhall columnist and WMAL’s Derek Hunter writes about the pitfalls of Hitchens’ literal interpretation of everything. Like vodka for instance. Or toads. “Speaking of emails, I remember one that he signed, ‘Wishing you well in this toad-filled season.’ I thought, ‘What the Hell does that mean?’ I Googled it, I asked everyone. I found nothing to explain it. Finally I asked Grover if he knew what it meant, because I didn’t want to ask Hitchens and risk looking stupid. Grover looked up from his desk and said, ‘I don’t know. Maybe he’s just some place with a lot of toads.’”

WaPo syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker wrote about how she “devoured” Hitchens’ writing. Eventually she met him one day in the makeup room of NBC. “To say I was a friend of Hitchens would be an exaggeration, though I did enjoy the pleasure of his company on several occasions. But one needn’t have known a writer to mourn his passing or to feel profound sadness about all the silent days to come. No matter what the topic, I always wanted to know what Hitchens thought about it and, lucky for the world, he seemed always willing to end the suspense.”

Christopher Buckley‘s was fittingly among the first eulogies to emerge on Hitchens in The New Yorker. He starts out, “We were friends for more than thirty years, which is a long time but, now that he is gone, seems not nearly long enough.”

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