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Arguably by Christopher Hitchens

Arguably (2011)

by Christopher Hitchens

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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A first-class intellect, slashing his way through the phony crap of the politically correct culture.
  KurtK | Oct 15, 2013 |
A collection of book reviews and articles (both online and print), Arguably covers almost every conceivable topic. The book reviews cover 18c to the present and most geographic areas of the world-Persian poetry to Harry Potter. His articles likewise explore the depth and breadth of the globe. Well worth the listen. ( )
  ScoutJ | Apr 27, 2013 |
I don't always agree with Christopher Hitchens - probably very few people do due to his very independent and original no-hole-barred and no-cow is-sacred approach. However the man was brilliant and his writings were outstanding. It is always interesting to read or listen to him. This book is a collection of his various essays of last years before his death. It covers many subjects and I found myself fascinated even when reading about something I wouldn't normally be interested in. Most of those subjects though are very interesting and relevant and will be relevant - sometimes unfortunately - for years to come. ( )
  everfresh1 | Apr 23, 2013 |
Ah, these politically polarized days we live in. We are constantly fed the idea that we must accept one of two predigested slates of beliefs. If you're a "conservative", you must be pro-gun rights and anti-abortion. If you're "liberal", you must be critical of Christianity, but "culturally sensitive" enough to be tolerant of the worst excesses of Islam. No matter that the belief system you've been handed is often internally inconsistent. Just believe! No thought required! Pick up one of these signs we've prepared for you and stand in front of the court house! Yell your slogan really loudly so you can't hear what the other side is saying!

One complaint people had about Christopher Hitchens was that he was inconsistent in that he didn't jump with both feet into one of those camps. He was an atheist and a neocon. He thought George W. Bush was an over-privileged ninny. He was not "culturally sensitive" enough to suffer Islamic extremists gladly. He was a man of the left who often sided with the right. Was he inconsistent? No. He was a rigorous thinker. He was an Englishman who, late in life, became an American citizen and who was a scholar of the Founding Fathers.

You know, in these days of shorthand thinking, everyone should go out and buy this man's books and read them. Not quickly, as you read a thriller, but slowly, closely, and intently. Parse his sentences. Grok him in fulness. As a result, you may be inspired not to take what you're handed at face value. Do your own investigations. Make up your own mind based on the best available information. Read and learn constantly. Be willing to admit you were wrong when it becomes apparent that you are.

LISTEN! READ! INVESTIGATE! OBSERVE! THINK! LEARN TO FORMULATE AND ARTICULATE COMPLEX IDEAS! We seem to be losing the power to do all these things, and Hitchens sets a great example. Don't let people simplify him as an atheist or as a neocon. He was so much more than either of these things.

And sometimes he will make you laugh. Deep, rich belly laughs of absurdity and irony.

I must read more. ( )
1 vote EricKibler | Apr 6, 2013 |
From deadly serious discussion of political martyrdom and suicide bombers ... to blowjobs: I honestly cannot think of another single non-fiction book I've encountered in all my days that contains such a range of sacred and profane, triviality and gravity as one human mind often does.

The full-scale electronic edition is almost as infuriating as Hitchens' views on Iraq; it's 750 pages of unindexed text, and the table of contents is impossible to scroll. (Or that might just be my [Kindle] Touch.)

Whilst a reasonably-priced - or indeed any - paperback is not yet available, plenty of these articles are to be found online.

Hitchens' article entitled 'Why Women Aren't Funny' actually concedes that plenty of them are, although the funniest ones may be fat, Jewish or lesbian. (I hope we're far enough along to consider that this sort of daft statement isn't worth the effort of getting riled about.) His premise that women don't need to be funny because men will be attracted to them anyway doesn't really work if applied to men under about 50. Younger than that - or so I get the impression after a decade and a half of adulthood - funny people pretty much consistently want funny partners, if it's anything more than a one night stand.

A great chunk of Arguably is about the USA. I've not read many of those pieces yet, but having noticed his refrains harking back to Jefferson et al, I get the feeling that Hitchens' love for America is based on its past and its original theoretical concepts - not the present reality. Very much like some of the Labour members I know who are in near-permanent disagreement with the parliamentary party, yet remain stubbornly, perplexingly loyal retainers.

For some reasons - wit and style and fervour and how damn good they are when I agree on the topic, I think - I still want to read more despite the above silliness.

Started 20 August 2012 - returned later that day unfinished due to lack of indexing in Kindle edition.
  antonomasia | Apr 4, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
So, having paid my dues to critical candor, I still find Hitchens one of the most stimulating thinkers and entertaining writers we have, even when — perhaps especially when — he provokes. And while he clearly wants to win you over, you always sense that he is playing in part to the jury of history, which is why so much of what he might, in a rare self-deprecating moment, refer to as hackwork stands up so well to ­anthologizing.
Hitchens is, and has been for many years, the mightiest knocker-down in argumentative journalism in the Anglophone world. This vast volume, containing ten years of argufying, is every bit as pugilistic, as unanswerable, as toughly rationalist, as unstoppable, as strenuously lived, as its many predecessors from his hand.

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Christopher Hitchensprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Prebble, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Live all you can: It's a mistake not to." - Lambert Strether, in The Ambassadors
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Essayist Christopher Hitchens ruminates on why Charles Dickens was among the best of writers and the worst of men, the haunting science fiction of J.G. Ballard, the enduring legacies of Thomas Jefferson and George Orwell, the persistent agonies of anti-Semitism and jihad, the enduring relevance of Karl Marx, and how politics justifies itself by culture--and how the latter prompts the former.… (more)

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