George Packer weighs in on Hitchens and his waterboarding moment.
The uncharitable view is that Hitchens will do anything to be noticed, that celebrity elicits a kind of masochism in him, and that being unpublished or unheard or unseen for even a day must be more agonizing for him than having his pubic hair removed by strips of hot wax or trying to breathe while water is poured over a towel spread across his face. And this view might well be true, but there’s more to it—there always is with Hitchens.
His greatest weakness as a writer is his need to put himself at the center of attention, to win every argument, to walk away from every encounter in prose, as in life, having gotten the better of someone else.
I can’t fault Hitchens for his solipsism1 but since Hitchens has so vehemently supported the Bush version of the war on terror, one does wish Hitchens would have managed to work in more discussion of that topic, perhaps wrapped around his proclamation that torture is waterboarding and waterboarding is torture.
See also tristero for a longer look at George Packer’s little throw-away post.Footnotes: