Warts and All

Andrew Sullivan, reacting to a reader email wondering how he can be friends with Christopher Hitchens, who is a drunk and hostile to religion, responds,

My own position with friends is to accept them totally, or not be friends. I have no desire for Hitch to be anything other than completely himself, and if that includes a fondness of whiskey, more power to him. I have no desire to change him in any way. His fearless brilliance, astonishingly wide reading and great wit are treasures to me and a lot of others.

Hitchens has accomplished more under the influence of whiskey than perhaps anyone since General Grant.

And I agree completely that someone is your friend as is or not at all. As the old saying goes, “A friend is one who knows us, but loves us anyway.” People change over time and, presumably, one’s friends have some role in that process. Usually, though, it’s a byproduct of shared experiences rather than calculated effort.

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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. Ted says:

    Remember what Lincoln said about Grant: “Find out what he’s drinking so I can get it for the rest of my generals.”
    Hitchens is a throwback to those opinionated old-times who had as much booze in their veins as printers’ ink. He is witty and erudite but much of his humor comes, I think, from a sense of despair.

  2. Steve Verdon says:

    But does Hitchens drink Whiskey or Whisky?

  3. floyd says:

    “”Hitchens has accomplished more under the influence of whiskey than perhaps anyone since General Grant.””

    Perfect Analogy !