Christopher Hitchens Speaks About Death

Hitchens’ recent Slate article Topic of Cancer was a beautifully written essay that gives the world a glimpse of how an intellectual atheist deals with cancer and the idea of impending death.

Now, he sits down with Anderson Cooper to expand upon his thoughts. I hope he’s able to do more interviews, because he is (as always) insightful and poignant, speaking from a unique perspective about a topic we don’t often talk about so openly. I really like Anderson Cooper but I’d like to hear someone with a bit more philosophical heft delve into Hitchens’ mind. Regardless, I’m looking forward to the full interview being posted online after it airs tonight at 10pm. [EDIT: Apparently this aired last night? I can’t tell with these crazy time zones.]

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

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  1. He seems ready to do what needs to be done and I hope he gets a chance to do it.

    He mentioned the prayer groups at the end and hinted to going into it further on a later date. I can’t help but hope that he doesn’t waste the energy to tear into them. I am far from an accommodationist, and I am sure it would be quite entertaining, but I can’t help but feel that there are much bigger fish to fry. But it is his barbeque and, at least for now, he is the cook and gets to set the menu.

    Here’s to science based medicine, let’s hope it is enough.

  2. Rare talent to weave such poetry from something so stark and profane.

    He’s one of my all-time favorite people, and I hope he pulls through.

  3. Christopher is about as brilliant as anyone I can think of. Man oh man I hope he doesn’t die yet. I admire him for his intelligence, his knowledge and his joy in hunting idiots.

    I admire him for the fact that everyone who has ever written a single thing about him begins with “I don’t always agree with Hitchens but….”

    That’s what inspires me. I’m pretty smart. I know many things. And *nobody* gets madder at idiots than I do. But if people eventually say of me “that wanker pisses me off….*but*….”

    I’ll feel like I’m finally starting to live up to an impossible standard.

  4. Hitchens’ talk about chemotherapy reminds me of Julia Sweeney’s “God Said Ha” monologue, when she discusses the regularity of taking her brother Mike in for sessions and his dark sense of humor about what was happening. That’s not “unemotional”– just because you’re not wailing and gnashing your teeth doesn’t mean you’re unemotional. God forbid some of us should treat cancer as a very unfortunate and painful but also boring and tedious experience that it actually is. It doesn’t become less important or worthy when you stop portraying it as a battle and people with cancer as knights in shining armor by virtue of having developed a disease and trying not to die of it. I would’ve thought we should be past the point that it is considered appropriate to browbeat an eliminativist (non-believer in life after death) about whether he’s changed his mind now that death is staring him the face. Might as well taunt a believer by saying “Are you sure you’re going to heaven?”

  5. Some days, when I’m rocking out and listening to my mp3s I’m startled to hear Christopher Hitchens voice reading some chapter of God is Not Great. I never fast forward to the next song. It’s always a pleasure to listen to him.
    Hope he gets better.

  6. Totally agree with him about “closure”. And “battling”. Get well, Mr. Hitchens.

  7. Just an excellent example of the bravery of Anti-theism (as Hitchens once called it). Not bowing or scraping towards the thuggish God-myth and leaving the world as aware and enlightened about reality as possible.

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