Hitchens On His Gay Side, His “Conservative Marxism”, And His Money Motive

Promoting his new book,Hitch-22: A Memoir, last weekend Christopher Hitchens provided frequently witty replies to frequently dimwitted questions from the New York Times’s Deborah Solomon. Here are a few provocative highlights:

What did you mean to suggest by including the detail about your long-ago flings with two men who became part of Margaret Thatcher’s administration?

There are still people who want to criminalize homosexuality one way or another, and I thought it might be useful if more heterosexual men admitted that they are a little bit gay, as is everyone, and that homosexuality is a form of love and not just sex.

Not everyone is “a little bit gay,” as you say. Do you think your basic sexual confusion underlies your political confusions?

No, I wouldn’t call it confusion. I’d call it a punctuated consistency. I argue in the book that my principles were the same throughout.

You’re a Washington-based polemicist who has written in support of the Iraq war but who was previously a self-described socialist with a column in The Nation. Why do you see yourself as consistent?

I still think like a Marxist in many ways. I think the materialist conception of history is valid. I consider myself a very conservative Marxist.

Did you write the book for money?

Of course, I do everything for money. Dr. Johnson is correct when he says that only a fool writes for anything but money. It would be useful to keep a diary, but I don’t like writing unpaid. I don’t like writing checks without getting paid.

I trust you answer the e-mail of your friends at no charge.

I haven’t got to the point yet where phone calls and e-mails are billable, but I am working on it. That would be happiness defined for me. What I’m hoping is to get a 900 number, so I can tell all my friends, “Call me back on my 900 number: 1-900-HITCH22.” I can talk for a long time.

But who would want to listen?
That would be the 900-number test.

I am such a fool.

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • ben

    brilliant hitch! his responses always so witty and on point!

  • http://www.raywhiting.com/MyLife Raytheist

    I haven’t read the book, and have little direct exposure to any of this other writings, and seen few interviews. I don’t know the full context of the statement, but I pretty much agree with the idea that everyone is “a little bit gay”. I would only change “everyone” to “almost everyone”. As I understand the Kinsey scale, hardly anyone is 100% exclusively hetero or homosexual, but most people fall somewhere along the spectrum.

    And there’s no shame in this, nor any shame in actually admitting it.

    More importantly there is no shame in admitting “Yeah, I tried it a couple times. It was fun. Don’t know if I’d do it again, but I did it before. So what?”

  • forumlogic

    the curse of intelligence … you rapidly run out of people who can engage you in debate.


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