Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Read Terry Eagleton's hilarious review of Christopher Hitchens' new book here. At Balliol Hitchens was known as 'Hypocritchins' because of his two-faced habit of ingratiating himself with 'knobs' while at the same time being to all intents and purposes a revolutionary socialist and their class enemy. And, according to Eagleton, 'made Uriah Heep look like Little Nell'. In Eagleton's view, 'Hitchens, despite being one of the world's most renowned public intellectuals, was never very adept at ideas.' Now anyone bored by the recent round of so-called 'debates' in which atheists such as Hitchens regularly claim to trounce their theological opponents, largely through a mixture of ignoring or simply failing to grasp the subtlety of their opponents' theological arguments, packing the venues with their atheist supporters and playing to that gallery, might wish that Eagleton, who knows how to be entertaining, would engage Hitchens on the question of God. Eagleton's insight into the mind and personality of Hitchens suggests he is someone who has the nous to take Hitchens on in what, let's be honest, amounts to a public brawl, and win. Now that would be a 'debate' worth attending. Of course, the down side of this is that it would provide more oxygen of publicity for Hitchens' new book.