WITHOUT A HITCH
No one is neutral about the departure from these pages of Christopher Hitchens. Below is a sample of the voluminous amounts of mail we’ve received–and are still receiving. –The Editors
Santa Margarita, Calif.
Say it ain’t so, Christopher. If Hitchens’s September 26 “Minority Report” is indeed his last, the nation, capitalized and not, will be poorer. Hitchens brings a singular voice to the discussion–incisive, articulate and erudite. His approach to the issues is usually discerning, often acute, sometimes infuriating, but it’s always worth the read, even–especially–if you don’t agree with him. That is the reason I’ve subscribed to The Nation for fourteen years. I don’t want to say “ditto” to everything I read. I don’t say “ditto” to every Hitchens column. But “Minority Report” has been a refreshing contrast to The Nation‘s increasing orthodoxy. The infamous Hitchens-Noam Chomsky “debate” last fall brought this into sharp relief. I won’t cancel my subscription, but for this reader, Hitchens’s departure will leave an irreplaceable gap. It’s a damned shame.
Good riddance to Hitchens. The few pearls found buried in his apologia for US imperialism were hardly worth suffering his arrogance and contempt for those who disagreed with his views.
Takoma Park, Md.
Where else will Hitchens find such editorial freedom and such an appreciative audience? He’s left because of a flawed premise, if his grievance is that the Nation crowd “believes John Ashcroft is a greater menace than Osama bin Laden.” Ashcroft is not the greater menace but the greater disappointment. Bin Laden is not expected to enforce, or even comprehend, our Constitution; Ashcroft is. Both threaten our hard-won liberty, but we didn’t hire bin Laden to protect our liberty.
I was heartbroken when I read Hitchens’s last “Minority Report.” I had just gotten off a twelve-hour shift working at the Dallas Convention Center through my union, IATSE Local 127, hands covered in aluminum stains from hauling truss. I’d had to eat a late dinner in the company of a wealthy libertarian yahoo, trying to shut out his nonsense between bites of what I could afford. Then, tired beyond reckoning, I come home to find one of my all-time-favorite journalists has left my all-time-favorite publication!?
Excuse me, but what the hell is going on?! I’ve read the arguments against the war in Iraq, and I have to agree utterly with their reasoned interpretation of the facts. But I read Hitchens and I agree with him as well, maybe not always, but certainly insofar as this issue is concerned. I’m in the political wilderness out here in Texas, losing my mind from barrages of hate mail I received while penning a column for SMU’s campus newspaper. I’m still mourning the loss of my father, thrown away by the engines of corporate greed. And this is what I come home to? Two bastions of progressive thought and investigative journalism willing to turn away from each other in the times we need them the most?