Sunday, January 24, 2010
Hitchens vs. Vidal
This is only moderately interesting. I have thought that Hitchens was a very good polemicist for a long time, he did go completely off the rails after 9/11. Of course he did climb back on once it became clear that Bush and co. were torturers.
This however, really has nothing to do with that. He is attacking Vidal for some of his conspiracy theories. Ones that I have to say I find hard to swallow. Still it does seem to give a lot of people an opportunity to call Vidal an anti-Semite and an old queen, among other things. The worst thing Vidal seems to have done is to have consistently and accurately criticized America and its neo-colonial empire for the last half-century.
Those I find most interesting (in the same way one finds public exhibitionist interesting) are the commentators who jump in by first admitting that they haven't read anything by Vidal, or maybe only one thing many years ago and then go on to slag him for not being creative or not being original. That takes more nerve or stupidity than I have.
He was certainly the the most perfect American prose stylist of the twentieth century and perhaps ever. He was also one of the most widely publish and accurate critics of our empire.