Wednesday, April 18, 2012


While driving back from Haifa today (the third day in a row I had to visit Haifa), I had one of those skin crawling moments when you just marvel at human excellence.  As I have stated before, I am listening to "Arguably", a collection of Christopher Hitchen's essays. It is a big collection (28.5 hours). Some of the literary criticism is quite heavy, but just listening to his perfect use of language is enough. Today I happened on a number of essays towards the end of the third of the four audible book parts which just kept getting better. The peak (in my opinion) was his essay on the Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange used to defoliate Vietnam's jungle during the war. The effects of its Dioxin are still being felt now by the third generation. His descriptions are vivid, his outrage can be felt physically and I could not help becoming quite emotional and sharing his sympathy and remorse for the mutilated victims. At one point I swear the narrator himself almost choked up. It's very powerful stuff. This is some of the very best writing I have come across in years. I never appreciated what a great writer he was, and only now can appreciate the outpouring of emotion his death last December generated.


oliviao said...

Isn't he amazing. i have just listened to his scathing attack on Gore Vidal and his equally sarcastic depiction of JFK. After just finishing listening to JackieO tapes, quite a contrast! Also love the piece about America being a Banana Republic. Have a few more to go - great use of language, but some of them are HEAVY!

blackpetero said...

In my opinion the essays get better and better. The end of the the third and the last piece (end of download 3 and then 4) have some excellent pieces. I am in the middle of his criticism of books on Nazi Germany. Very strong. You should also listen to "God is not Great" if you want to be put off of religion forever. I am glad that there is someone else in the world listening to this :-)