Hitch on Wine

Posted by Justin on December 16th, 2011

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When a someone truly great dies, everyone talks about how it relates to them. A testimony. As if to say, you could discount everything else about them, but I know my life was changed and here is how.

You will see many, many people write about the brilliant Christopher Hitchens today. They will all be honest testaments by friends, and enemies, he made in his all too brief 62 years.

I only have two anecdotes, both from the same dinner at a since demolished Ruby Tuesdays in the Stardust Casino on January 16th, 2005. Both, to my delight, involved alcohol. For me, watching Hitchens drolly fire off one liners about booze was akin to Paul McCartney picking up an acoustic guitar and strumming out Yesterday while we waited for appetizers.

Anyhow, this was right after The Amazing Meeting 3 where Hitchens was speaker. Thanks to Andrew Mayne, I was tagging along to a speakers and staff only dinner after the convention wrapped up. As everyone began seating themselves, we resolved to angle our way next to Hitch. We did.

Waiter: Would you like something to drink.

Hitchens: Yes, wine.

Waiter: Red or white?

Hitchens: (5% more serious than anyone you’ve ever seen order a drink at Ruby Tuesdays) Wine. Is. Red.

His wine was then delivered.

Hitchens: (Drinks wine, grimaces) Ugh, this is terrible. This is awful. This is sheep dip. (Turns to me) You want to know the only thing worse?

Me: What?

Hitchens: No wine at all.

Christopher Hitchens was a larger than life hero for me. As a prolific writer, ferocious thinker and fearless personality. He was a great man. The world is much less interesting today.

[NPR]

  • http://twitter.com/HooverGA Garrett Hoover

    Awesome experience. Hitchens helped put a large number of things in context for me and I now feel ridiculously honored to see him speak the few times that I did. I found out last night reading an obit that he died in the exact cancer hospital that I work at here in Houston, 2 floors above my office. From what I heard from my associates that also found out, he was surrounded by plenty of people that loved and cared about him. That gives me peace. 

  • mxyzptlk

    In 2003, his book Why Orwell Matters just came out. I was travelling and was stuck in the Detroit Metro Airport for a few hours. The Detroit Metro Airport is one long hall with giant screens near the ceiling and the attendant news stands peppered between the Cinnabons and Starbucks.

    I had just reached the part of his book when he describes North Korea, with the giant prints of the Dear Leader on every building and smaller images of him at eye level. Hitchens spends a couple pages hammering in how pervasive and enforced the cult of personality is in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

    As I read that chapter, I looked up and could countless enormous screens down the hall all featuring George W. Bush, who was prominently featured on the USA Todays at the news stands, and I both appreciated Hitchens even more and became a little unnerved.

  • ZoA

    He
    was racist imperialist, hatemonger and apparently alcoholic too. Why
    would anybody like him is bend me but it centrally says something
    about nature of those individuals.

  • http://iTricks.com/news JustinRYoung

    To disagree with Hitchens was to prove you’d read enough of him.