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Christopher Hitchens — dazzling writer, ferocious debater, loyal friend, scourge of weasel-worders, wit, yarn-spinner, and closet sentimentalist — has died of esophageal cancer.
I met him only once. Peter knew him much better. But I still recall the special kind of goosebumps I got when he mentioned me once, favorably, in the pages of the Atlantic. He was that kind of writer. It seemed, sometimes, like he was using a different alphabet from the rest of us.
Hitchens was a dedicated and unrepentant unbeliever. A give-no-quarter atheist. But he also had a wonderful sense of humor.
I hope that he’s laughing now, in sheepish delight.
Here are a couple of his appearances on early episodes of Peter’s Uncommon Knowledge, along with another lost dazzler, William F. Buckley, Jr., who I hope is needling Hitchens nonstop at this very moment.