Shut up, already!

There are many things I’d obliterate from our political discourse if given the chance, but chief among them, I think, would have to be “people feeling betrayed by Christopher Hitchens.”

For most of us, when you feel betrayed by a friend, your impulse is to confront him privately — or at the very least, complain about him to another friend. Not Hitchens’s friends. They confront him loudly and publicly. You’d think he was the Pope. After the novelist Martin Amis read a bunch of books about Stalin, he suddenly realized that Christopher — his own buddy! — had made a bunch of not-entirely-unserious cracks about being a Trotskyist. Instead of confronting his old pal in private, like a normal person, Amis wrote a book about it. (A pretty bad one.) It ended with a chapter called “An Open Letter to a Friend,” or something like that. (Hitchens responded in kind, with an article titled “Don’t. Be. Silly.”)

Now that Hitchens has decided, after some reflection, to endorse Obama, he’s elicited a spasm of fury from the Right — eerily similar to the righteous indignation we used to hear all the time from the Left. “I was dismayed and profoundly disappointed — and, on reflection, felt betrayed — when I heard that you endorsed Barack Obama for president of the United States,” moans one “longtime Iraqi friend.” “All the stuff you’ve written and debated your entire career about the War on Terror is all wiped away because you don’t like Sarah Palin,” quacks Laura Ingraham.

Please. Let’s nip this particular round of regretful moaning in the bud. In the spirit of “centrism” and “compromise” and “reaching across the aisle” going around these days, let’s agree on this: It doesn’t really matter what Christopher Hitchens says. He only takes half the positions he does to annoy you, anyway.

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One Response to “Shut up, already!”

  1. Stretching Your Textbook Dollars Says:

    […] Shut up, already! « The Civic Spirit […]

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