Terry Eagleton on Christopher Hitchens

Terry Eagleton can barely conceal his disgust while reviewing Hitchens’ new memoir, the cheekily-titled Hitch-22, in the New Statesman. Hitchens has never been the shy sort, and his infamous conversion from a fiery left-liberal to a neoconservative in all but name has been a target of criticism for a long time. But from reading Eagleton’s review (because I certainly won’t be reading the book itself), one gets an even more straightforward account of Hitchens’ narcissism and opportunism.

It is better to read the entire piece, but I think Eagleton sums up Hitchens in a nutshell when he writes:

But Hitchens, despite being one of the world’s most renowned public intellectuals, was never very adept at ideas. In some ways, Hitchens is a reactionary English patrician, in other ways a closet Thatcherite, and in yet other ways a right-leaning liberal. The problem, in a striking historical irony, is that it is the literary-liberal guardians of the flame of tolerance and pluralism who are nowadays most likely to be cultural supremacists and gung-ho militarists when it comes to the Muslim world.


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