Drinking with Christopher Hitchens

I was going to save this for the Traffic Jam but it’s worth its own post. Michael J. Totten recounts his evening drinking with Christopher Hitchens in D.C. this past weekend after a joint television appearance. The piece defies excerpting but it confirmed my suspicions:

The bartender came by and asked Hitchens if he wanted another drink. “Thank you so much,†Hitchens said, “you’re a perfect gentleman.†It’s funny. He’s exactly the same in person as he is on TV. The only difference is that he has a drink in one hand and a Rothmans cigarette in the other. What you see on TV is what you get. His persona isn’t a shtick, it’s his real personality.

Hitchens is simultaneously disarmingly polite and possessed of a biting wit. The breadth and depth of his knowledge is simply unrivaled by any journalist working today.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. JakeV says:

    I read the piece and didn’t see what the big deal about Hitchens was. He says thank you to the bartender? He doesn’t read blogs? He knows what Kurdistan is? Somebody get that man a knighthood!

    People certainly weren’t lining up to pay homage to Hitchens when he was still taking on Mother Teresa. Maybe he’s gotten more debonair since then.

    I have a hard time getting through passages like this:

    We’re instantly on the same page on multiple levels all at once. We can talk about the finer points without getting bogged down in spats about imperialism, pacifism, and Bush.

    What a mash note! If I were Hitchens I’d be embarassed to have Totten fawning over me like that.

  2. Michael says:

    “The breadth and depth of his knowledge is simply unrivaled by any journalist working today.”

    Oh, I don’t know about that. I would give Victor Davis Hanson pretty good odds in that match.

  3. McGehee says:

    The breadth and depth of his knowledge is simply unrivaled by any journalist working today.

    Hrm. Hitchens is by far one of the most intellectually honest leftists writing today — and though that could be very faint praise indeed, it’s not intended as such — but I would stop well short of the above.

  4. James Joyner says:

    Michael: Maybe so–although I don’t think of VDH as a journalist, since he’s a professional historian.

    McGehee: I’m not saying he’s the guy with whom I most agree, just that he’s brilliant and incredibly well read.