Hitchens was by far the greatest orator I’ve ever seen. He was also the finest advocate for atheism to be found on the web. (much love to Dawkins and Harris.) Who knows how many he won over thrashing persons of faith in debates, and through his prolific appears on the talk show circuit, his powers on best display on the Charlie Rose Show and Real Time With Bill Maher. In print Hitchens wasn’t quite as effective. His articles and books rarely live up to the power of his speaking ability, but then again how could they? That being said, the wisdom he shares in print is quite palpable, as he thrashed against Mother Teresa and Henry Kissinger for their fraudulence and ill-will, and praised Jefferson and Paine for their rationalism.
Nobody outside of a handful of legendary actors, musicians and novelists ever looked as cool with a cigarette in their hand as much as Hitch. (Never touch the stuff kids, it eventually killed him.) He looked damn good with a drink in his hand as well. Hitchens was oh so brash and smug, and never back away from a fight, though I wish he had backed off his support of the Iraq War. He was one of those rare people who gave off the impression of knowing everything, rather than just somebody who pretends to know everything; those people are a dime a dozen. And oh how he hated religion! He treated it with the contempt it deserved and wouldn’t give an inch to anyone who thought otherwise. His quote on the then recently deceased Jerry Falwell, “if you gave Falwell an enema, he could be buried in a matchbox” is one for the ages. Perhaps the biggest shame about his early death is that it happened just as both he and his views on religion were hitting the mainstream.