Aaron Lewis, who hung out a couple of times with Christopher Hitchens, pointed out that the British assessments on the occasion of his death are rather more measured than what the Americans are saying. Aaron alerted me to this comment from Alexander Cockburn on Hitchens:
He courted the label “contrarian,” but if the word is to have any muscle, it surely must imply the expression of dangerous opinions. Hitchens never wrote anything truly discommoding to respectable opinion and if he had he would never have enjoyed so long a billet at Vanity Fair. Attacking God? The big battles on that issue were fought one, two, even five hundred years ago when they burned Giordano Bruno at the stake in the Campo de’ Fiore. A contrarian these days would be someone who staunchly argued for the existence of a Supreme Being.