Christopher Hitchens on His Cancer


Christopher Hitchens writes in Vanity Fair of his cancer. A snippet:

I am badly oppressed by a gnawing sense of waste. I had real plans for my next decade and felt I'd worked hard enough to earn it. Will I really not live to see my children married? To watch the World Trade Center rise again? To read—if not indeed write—the obituaries of elderly villains like Henry Kissinger and Joseph Ratzinger? But I understand this sort of non-thinking for what it is: sentimentality and self-pity. Of course my book hit the best-seller list on the day that I received the grimmest of news bulletins, and for that matter the last flight I took as a healthy-feeling person (to a fine, big audience at the Chicago Book Fair) was the one that made me a million-miler on United Airlines, with a lifetime of free upgrades to look forward to. But irony is my business and I just can't see any ironies here: would it be less poignant to get cancer on the day that my memoirs were remaindered as a box-office turkey, or that I was bounced from a coach-class flight and left on the tarmac? To the dumb question "Why me?" the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply: Why not?

Whole thing, well worth reading, here.

Michael Moynihan just reviewed Hitchens' memoir, Hitch-22.

Hitchens participated in this 2003 Reason symposium about whether freedom could be spread by the point of a gun. And here is his pre-9/11 2001 Reason interview where he broke ranks with his Nation comrades and talked fondly of Margaret Thatcher. And below is his dramatic reading of Tom Lehrer's Christmas Song at Reason's Very Secular Christmas Party in 2007.

All of us at Reason wish him a full and speedy recovery.

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  1. Vanity Fair. How appropriate.

  2. To the dumb question “Why me?” the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply: Why not?

    Indeed. The cosmos is indifferent. To the “compassionate” theists who will dance on Hitchens’ grave, the final joke will be on them, but they won’t know it, of course, being dead forever in a world that never had a god. Have a nice day!

  3. Hitchens is the only person I know who actually looks healthier since developing cancer.

  4. Hitchens, for all his Atheistic fervor, will at least know the answer to the eternal question before I do . . . such delicious irony. As for waltzing on his patch, I think not . . .

    1. He’s a man who thinks his own thoughts. This is quite different than the talking heads who seem only to bunker down and defend the thinking of others.

      1. Meant to be a reply to the water boarding comment.

  5. I have a lot of respect for Hitchens. He had the balls to put his money where is mouth is to try to prove that waterboarding isn’t torture. Then when he realized that it clearly is, he was not ashamed to admit how wrong he was.

  6. The Four Ages of Man

    He with body waged a fight,
    But body won; it walks upright.

    Then he struggled with he heart;
    Innocence and peace depart.

    Then he struggled with the mind;
    His proud heart he left behind.

    Now his wars on God begin;
    At stroke of midnight God shall win.

    W.B. Yeats

  7. Got a tad choked up when I read this this morning. What a talent and how shameful that he suffers as he does. But also how fortunate that nobody can write of it so well than he. So many have gone through this yet nobody has written of it quite like him. He’s a great voice for just thinking. I don’t agree with him all the time (not sure anyone does at this point) but he’s as genuine a writer and thinker as they come.

  8. I feel terrible after reading his column because it’s pretty clear the cancer is much more serious than initial news reports made out. That essay makes you want him to live forever, but I don’t think he has long. =(

  9. I’m confused. Was he for or against the cancer?

    1. i think you have far more serious issues than confusion.

      1. Just a little gallows humor. I think Hitch would approve.

  10. I wonder what he is going to think about God when he is roasting in hellfire.

    There aren’t any atheists in a foxhole, cancer neither.

    1. Mission Statement

      The American Third Position exists to represent the political interests of White Americans, because no one else will.

      Well said, idiots.

    2. He’d probably be pretty pissed at The Big Guy for giving him cancer and then sending him to burn in fire forever just because he didn’t believe in an unlikely proposition without being given any proof.

    3. And let me ask you this, Whatever. How do you know that God doesn’t have a meta-God that is someday going to put God in hellfire forever for putting perfectly innocent people in hellfire forever?

      1. Is it in the King James Bible? No? Then I don’t fucking care.

        1. Don’t think White Supremacism is mentioned in the King James Bible, either, but you care a lot about that.

    4. My mother always shouts me down with this witless remark, ‘There are no atheists in foxholes’. My frustration is that she believes this succinctly ends the discussion.

      My response is “Fear of death does not constitute proof of God”.

      She can choose to ponder the significance of that, but in actuality she will not. Choices are what we are about, right people?


  11. Sad to say he has an extremely bad type of cancer. My ex-brother-in-law had it. One day he had trouble swallowing, he got diagnosed and given maybe six months to live, and died in about two. Yikes.

  12. your are smart guy, you shouldn’t take the dx hands down.
    all info you’ve learnt really is the “Clinic Sciense” the bread and butter of the profession.
    cancer grows d/t Chi cut off, restore the Chi, cancer will be gone.
    find a professional understands your true cause and restore your will be OK.

  13. I’m a big Hitchens fan and this is tough news. I’m glad, and not the least bit surprised, that he’s handling it with his usual deft aplomb.

  14. My favorite Hitch-ism was the brawl he and Totten got into with some Syrian Nationalist thugs, after Hitch tore down some Syrian swastikas in Lebanon.…

  15. Another issue of liberty. Dr. Paul Ewald, an evolutionary biologist, who believes that doctors have been taught the wrong standard of care for cancer treatment. He believes that 85% of all cancers are caused by microbes. Being a cancer victim myself, I agree with him. BigPharma receives 85% of its revenues from chemotherapy sales. Yep, the same type of drugs the FDA has been approving for decades, which harm healthy cells and have failed to produce a cancer cure. Think about it, the same standard of care: surgery, radiation, chemo for not just years, but decades, and no cancer cure.
    BTW, I’ve had no surgery, radiation or chemo. I did go outside of the U.S. to have my tumor ablated, a treatment the FDA refused to approve, even though it doesn’t harm healthy cells like radiation and chemo, and even though radiation and chemo have failed to cure cancer. Hitch had unidentified rashes and vomiting. Rashes and vomiting can be caused by microbes. It’s likely he probably has an undiagnosed infection(s) due to no fault of his own. Probably something where the diagnosis is controversial, i.e. lyme disease, Bartonella, ehrlichiosis, Babesiosis, etc. If so, life-giving antibiotics instead of cell destructing chemo might be what Christopher really needs.

  16. The best Hitchens was in Fox re. Falwell?s death, it?s a classic

  17. “You as a christian require hypocrisy from people..I? sorry you?re asking the wrong person”

  18. Fuck this self centered hawk pig. The fact that he can coolly say the Cosmos does not have to give him an answer for his cancer is pure hypocrisy, when him and his legions of boot lickers expect theists to explain “why does God make bad things happen to good people.” Fuck your assumption on what is good, fuck your assumptions on what is bad and, most of all, fuck your assumptions on what god is.

    I only hope in his dying days he sees the error of being an islamophobic, progressive, military interventionist.

    1. I’m sure God had some purpose in making you so vindictive.

    2. Um, I don’t think you understand what the word “hypocrisy” means. Hitchens has consistently maintained that there is no divine plan, which is precisely why he challenges believers to explain their belief in one. What is hypocritical about that?

  19. Dear Mr Hitchens,
    OOH!! How sad I was to see the update of your news on YOU TUBE- such a waste of an eloquent,outstanding,people’s people altrustic-MAN.
    May your own “God be with you”
    Your charming witty comment’s about your self made me cry,very BRAVE indeed.
    I am one of million’s wish YOU AND YOUR FAMILY PEACE-for the journey that
    is yet to come.
    Your soul will find relief.


  20. It always comes unexpectedly and with it there is nothing will not do, unfortunately treatment extremely seldom helps, and it is a pity

  21. It always comes unexpectedly and with it there is nothing will not do, unfortunately treatment extremely seldom helps, and it is a pity

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