Cancer isn’t very funny, but this is the best thing I’ve read all day. Christopher Hitchens, if you don’t know, is a devout atheist and has terminal cancer. I’ve always enjoyed reading the stuff he’s written.
What I’ve liked is his penchant for taking a second look at “things we can all agree on” – Mother Teresa’s saintliness, for example – and saying, “No, actually these mandatory thoughts and emotions are draining the life from us a bit.” In Miss Manners and the Big C, he speaks of Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture, colorfully imploring that the end of life need not be met with clichés and sentimentality. (Although I have to say, it’s rather amusing to imagine Mr. Hitchens bounding from the podium to entertain his audience with one-handed push-ups.)
And here’s YouTube Hitchens in rare form, talking about the “War on Christmas”:
And here’s Hitchens on the death of Jerry Falwell:
My own thoughts have not always been as independent as I’d like. At times I find myself buying into the deadening emotional clichés of our culture. A thinker who breaks through these empty rituals of thought is a rare thing.