Just now, on Charlie Rose, a guest host whose name I didn’t catch was filling in for Charlie’s corpse and hosting a panel of Martin Amis, Carol Blue, Leslie Cockburn and Douglas Brinkley. The topic was “What Would Hitch Say?”

Evidently, the late Christopher Hitchens, who was known mostly for being for and against everything before and after he was for and against it, has achieved a status previously confined to the likes of Aristotle, Jesus and Thomas Jefferson: What would the dead man think about our current predicament (you know, the one bearing the initials DT)?

Yes, that’s what it’s come to…Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the modern intelligentsia! So devoid of any thoughts of their own they have to channel a dead pundit to be able to express themselves properly.

And the smug solemnity of the participants occurred in a vacuum so complete it achieved reverse zero negative awareness of its own complicity (or Chris Hitchens’) in our “predicament.”

Jesus Christ, I know a man chooses his friends, but if these were the best he could do, I begin to understand why this particular man stayed sloshed for the entirety of his adult life. I almost feel a kind of solidarity with him, too, because I can now imagine him being granted some kind of dispensation in the afterlife he didn’t believe in just so he can join my future ghost in a chorus of something no man of his gentle breeding would have ever let his hair down far enough to enjoy while he was stuck here, where the mysteries of the universe so obvious to some of us are forever bound to befuddle our betters….Come on Hitch. Sing it with me! (Cue the Sun God.)



“..a talented hick who was destroyed by success: what else is new?” (Martin Amis. Source: The War on Cliche. Published 2002)

Okay. Martin Amis is a thin man with heavy burdens. He’s sort of the Hank Williams, Jr. of the literary world. Clear case of “genius father, son-not-without-talent-if-only-the-general-meatiness-of-his-head-didn’t-keep-getting-in-the-way syndrome.”

It can’t be easy.

Still, perusing this, I inevitably find myself communing with the spirit of the Continental Op: counting how many lies could be found in nine words of advertising and reaching four “with promise of more” before he’s interrupted.

Ignoring the general hilarity of discovering this little gem reprinted in a volume called The War On Cliche, (I find stupidity that has convinced itself of its own striking originality to be sort of touching actually) let’s just stick to posing some of the more obvious questions:

To prove a “hick” was ever “destroyed by success” wouldn’t you have to prove self-same hick–not some other hick, but that very one–would not have been destroyed by the absence of success?

And if you’ve posited something as proven when it can’t be, is it quite kosher to follow on by asking “what else is new?”

On the other hand, if you have access to alternative dimensions where parallel fates can be studied for comparison and contrast–and thus, the aforementioned “proof”–should you be wasting valuable time on the fate of hicks, actual or theoretical, successful or otherwise?

I mean, shouldn’t you be concerned with more important things like….I don’t know….the existence of God maybe, or the possible ends of human suffering?

(I’ll stop now, But here’s a link to Amis’ entire essay–actually a book review–in case you think I’m being unduly harsh or quoting him out of context or anything.)