December 16, 2011

1949 - 2011 . . . .

The lines from Edna Millay's poem "Dirge Without Music" come unbidden to my mind at some deaths:
Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.
When reading Christopher Hitchens I have at least as often been exasperated, even irritated, rather than admiring. But he also sometimes shared piercing insight so that the moments, even months, of exasperation have been worth it for the moments of flashing brilliance. There will doubtless be many of his friends or colleagues who will pen moving and thoughtful tributes. I think that David Frum's tribute on FrumForum is probably as good a place to start as any . . .
One sometimes hears of people who try to model their writing or their persona on Christopher Hitchens’ example. The results are usually absurd and sometimes perverse. Christopher did not offer a model of what to think. He offered a model of how to think – and how to live. Fully. Fearlessly. Joyously. And then, alas too soon, of how to die: without bluster but without flinching, boldly writing until the fingers moved no more.

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