The English language took a terrible blow today when it lost its finest practitioner. There haven’t been many like Christoper Hitchens – even across centuries – who, during a journey from working class to Oxford to Trotskyite to American to war supporter, enriched the body of liberal and secular literature and thought with unique and eloquent passion. With words.
In the Times obit, he is quoted thusly:
“I personally want to ‘do’ death in the active and not the passive,” he wrote, “and to be there to look it in the eye and be doing something when it comes for me.”
And there he articulates what I’ve always hoped for myself, but haven’t been able to articulate. I hear others say they want to die quickly, perhaps in sleep, ‘suddenly’ (as we say when it’s unexpected).
Not me. I want to know, I want to ponder but mostly I want to experience it and say goodbye to my world, my life. Like Hitchens.