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By Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
Topic - Christopher Hitchens
Put Salman Rushdie, Martin Amis and Ian McEwan on a stage and expect a night of high art and schoolboy humor, of reading, writing and Christopher Hitchens. The three literary stars, all in their 60s and friends for more than half their lives, appeared together Monday night in New York.
The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI has sent shock waves throughout the Catholic world -- and rightly so. The Holy Father's eight-year reign was very successful. With his announcement that he will be stepping down at the end of February, the church must find a suitable successor. It will be difficult.
This must have been a very hard book to write. Of course, once Christopher Hitchens had been struck with advanced cancer of the esophagus, his very life became difficult. There was nothing he could do about that, but writing about it was a choice, and his hesitation about doing so speaks well about him as a human being. His reluctance shows fastidiousness and grace, qualities not even his most ardent fans might have associated with this slash-and-burn writer.
No one smoked or drank on stage during the memorial for Christopher Hitchens, although one overhead picture featured a cigarette drooping from his mouth. And few of the speakers swore, unless quoting from their departed friend.
Three of Christopher Hitchens' most contentious books are coming back into print, and debuting in digital form.
This has been a busy week for the Grim Reaper, slashing out at friend and foe, winning each battle fought against clay-footed humans who earned obituaries on the front page inspired by love or hate or both. Words often have a life of their own, particularly in matters of life and death. Cosmic coincidences in man's fate bring to our attention very different men merely because they died within days of each other.
It's hard to say anything about Christopher Hitchens that hasn't been said already, but it's even harder to say nothing. Hitchens died last week, a year-and-a-half after he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He and I were not lifelong friends or family members, but I got to know him fairly well. We met nearly seven years ago, and it's safe to say that, during this time, Hitchens mattered more to me than I did to him.
Beach Boys announce 50th anniversary reunion tour
Cancer weakened but did not soften Christopher Hitchens. He did not repent or forgive or ask for pity. As if granted diplomatic immunity, his mind's eye looked plainly upon the attack and counterattack of disease and treatments that robbed him of his hair, his stamina, his speaking voice and eventually his life.
Christopher Hitchens, a D.C.-based author, essayist and polemicist who waged verbal and occasional physical battle on behalf of causes left and right, died Thursday night at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston of pneumonia, a complication of his esophageal cancer, according to a statement from Vanity Fair magazine. He was 62.
Reactions to the death of author and pundit Christopher Hitchens:
Fans of Christopher Hitchens are doing more than mourning his death: They're buying his books.
In the June issue of Vanity Fair, Christopher Hitchens writes about the newest assault by his esophageal cancer: "Most despond-inducing and alarming of all, so far, was the moment when my voice suddenly rose to a childish (or perhaps piglet-like) piping squeak.
An essay by Christopher Hitchens on the death of Osama bin Laden has been released as an e-book, exclusively through Amazon.com.
Monday has been informally proclaimed "Everybody Pray for Hitchens Day," in honor of author and outspoken atheist Christopher Hitchens, who has esophageal cancer, but he won't be bowing his head.
The late Mr. Hitchens, a fine and friendly fellow when he stepped down from his soapbox, said religion, though not necessarily believers in religion, "should be treated with ridicule, hatred and contempt."
he would reach for the consolations of faith, and warned everyone that if anyone heard that he had had a deathbed conversion not to believe it.