Hazleton on Hitchens

Last month, Town Hall Seattle ran a program called ‘Three Lives,’  originally touted as eulogies of three public figures — Christopher Hitchens, Kim Jong-Il, and Vaclav Havel — linked by the sole fact that they’d happened to die within four days of each other in December.  I was asked to speak about Hitchens.  “No way,” I said.  “Not unless you’re ready for an anti-eulogy.”

They were.

Here’s the video, in which I start at about the 4.45 time mark, running to 23.10.

But if you want to see a really great presentation, go back to the video and start at the 57.35 mark, where ACT Theatre artistic director Kurt Beattie and actors Bob Wright and Tom Carrato deliver a stunning tribute to Vaclav Havel, inspiring me to go out and buy a copy of ‘Disturbing the Peace’ the next day, when I also read this moving assessment by his long-time translator, Paul Wilson.  I’m only sorry Havel had to die for me to pay closer attention.  But then that’s kind of Wilson’s point.

5 Responses

  1. Dear Leslie, sycophancy isn’t really what I do best, so I shall keep this brief. Your blog is marvellous. See, that was brief. I have been surfing for this brand of intelligent read for a while, and the reason for this is that I am stuck. Recently ‘homophilosophicus’ (an Irish theology blog) has begun an interfaith project at which I would dearly like you to take a peek. At present we are short on a Jewish voice, female voices in general and a Feminist opinion. You may not have the time, you may not even be interested, but please take a look:
    and the contributors so far:
    Yes, we run the risk of looking rather pale in your light (there’s that sycophant again!), but this is something we are willing to risk.

    The pay scale is rubbish (non-existent in fact), but if we could entice you in anyway whatsoever please mail me on:

    Jason Michael

  2. Bravo, and thanks for reading Hitchens so I don’t have to, as they say. I’ve always prided myself on having grown out of my taste for his brand of bullshit well before the Iraq war made plain his true nature.

  3. Reblogged this on Heightened Senses and commented:
    Though I have not read her works (yet, and yes, it is on my to read list; I can’t wait for her biography of the Prophet to be published), Ms Hazelton is one of the most articulate (and astute at that) speakers I have heard, and if that is anything to go by, I cannot wait to get started on her books; this might sound sycophantic but I really love the way her mind seems to work, and how she appropriates words in a nuanced and colourful way, without ever distorting her topic.

    Do watch this eulogy

  4. What an excellent presentation; your case was cogent, and very sharply articulated! I’m glad that there are those ‘out there’ in the world who don’t drool over him or his work, or can’t help but fawn because of his ability to produce quotes; I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him whilst listening to him- his life appears to have been wasted, and I pray mine does not go the way of his. As George Galloway wrote, “He wrote like an angel but placed himself in the service of the devils.”

    I hope you don’t mind but I have reblogged this.


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