16 December 2011

Christopher Hitchens 1949-2011

"Here’s a thing I will say now without hesitation, unqualified and important. The one word that comes to mind when I think of my brother is ‘courage’. By this I don’t mean the lack of fear which some people have, which enables them to do very dangerous or frightening things because they have no idea what it is to be afraid. I mean a courage which overcomes real fear, while actually experiencing it." -- Peter Hitchens

There's a kind of impertinence in mourning someone else's loss. Fannying about on the internet explaining to everyone how saddened you are by the passing of someone you never met or had a conversation with, is a peculiar almost self-indulgent thing. So I hope his family will forgive me if they read my blog, which I'm sure they do else wise where will they learn about sandwiches?, for hi-jacking their loss.

Marco Simmoncelli's death earlier this year genuinely upset me. Very different people, but for the same reasons, Christopher Hitchens' death has also. There are so few people left in this world who are able to think for themselves let alone force other people to think too. Perhaps that's why we describe them as being larger than life, because they lift us above the foggy sluggish tedium of it.

Both men did this in vastly different ways. It is something I admire in people more than anything. Of all the people eulogising over him today I bet I'm the only one comparing him to Marco Simmoncelli.

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