I haven’t known really what to say about the passing of Christopher Hitchens. There have been hagiographies coming in from the left and the right, as well as those who take a much more nuanced view of his oeuvre and those who see no need to cut Hitchens the slack that he never cut anyone else.
For me, the question of how to judge Hitchens and his work was put elegantly by Jack Black’s character in High Fidelity, while speaking of Stevie Wonder:
At 45 seconds in, Jack Black’s character Barry asks Cusack’s character Rob:
Rob, top five musical crimes perpetuated by Stevie Wonder in the ’80s and ’90s. Go. Sub-question: is it, in fact, unfair to criticize a formerly great artist for his latter day sins. Is it better to burn out than to fade away?