If this is a surprise to anyone, it may be because we harbored some secret hope that he’d find a way to beat cancer into submission. Or somehow argue it out of his body.
While I’ve seen him from a distance at a conference or two over the years, I had a chance to talk to him in person about five years ago, just before the release of God Is Not Great, when he showed up to a hotel room party at The Amazing Meeting 5 and mingled with the guests. He was as blunt and hilarious as you would expect, managing to offend several people with a joke while making them laugh at the same time.
I remember asking him how his new book about religion would be any different from the ones by Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris.
His response was short and to the point: “It’s better.”
And, indeed, it was the only one of the New Atheist books to hit #1 on the New York Times bestsellers list.
He’s not in a “better place.” He’s not in hell, either. And he won’t ever be looking down from above. But we have something better than that: a legacy of Hitch that’s going to live on in perpetuity. Decades’ worth of books, collections of his articles, and videos of his lectures and interviews are everywhere. Here’s a man who will still influence people for years to come, giving them the arguments and confidence they need to finally leave their faith.
Raise a glass, everyone. Here’s to a man who did more to challenge faith and tip over sacred cows than just about anyone else.