Give Them A Migraine! Fan-boy Ben Burgis Slobbers over Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens reading his book Hitch-22 (2010)

At the outset, I admit that this review of a 160 page book is excessively long. Why exert this much time on a book that doesn’t even contain footnotes and outright admits its major mode of engagement was watching old YouTube video debates featuring the subject?

Answer: Despite the utter failure of the volume to make a viable argument for Hitchens’ utility in radical politics, what caused his neocon turn, or even shed light on his contributions, the late polemicist remains a useful tool for liberal imperialists and outright reactionaries. On the anniversary of his death, former Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter wrote a fawning tribute that in many ways is indistinguishable from the purple prose of this current volume. Matthew Continetti of the American Enterprise Institute likewise wrote a reverential tribute. Hitchens remains a useful propaganda tool via his seemingly-endless Hitch-Slap videos on YouTube. Also, obvious from the testimonials page at the front of the book, apparently there are people in DSA who have fondness for him. Why?

There are many ways to parse this book, just as there are many ways to parse its subject. Adulatory reviews of this title have previously granted Ben Burgis, a philosophy professor and leading advocate of the Jacobin magazine tendency within the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), the tacit acknowledgement of legitimacy to both his interrogative stance, predicated upon philosophy, and the intellectual validity of the inquiry, that Hitchens had a deep level of thought and political grounding.

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Andrew Stewart is a documentary film maker and reporter who lives outside Providence.  His film, AARON BRIGGS AND THE HMS GASPEE, about the historical role of Brown University in the slave trade, is available for purchase on Amazon Instant Video or on DVD.

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