Talk:Christopher Hitchens

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edit disputes[edit]

Removed a quotation because I don't think Wikiquote should be about deliberately trying to discredit people we don't like. User:172.201.189.67

I have no clue why this particular quote bothers you, compared to the other quotes. I would have thought that the quote from Kenyon College is the worst. Also, if he said something, we should assume that he stands behind his words and proud of them, and wants them to be publicized as much as possible. Just because you personally think that a particular quote "discredits" him doesn't mean the he isn't proud of his words in that case. If he decides to retract some of his words, we could add a clarification next to the quote, in order to add context for the benefit of the reader, but still not delete the original. Anyway, wikiquote is about posting accurate quotes that are notable, the more the better. iddo999 18:46, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

What you include is only relevant when you consider what you exclude, surely? That quotation paints Hitchens as a sadistic loon - your response, and your apparent enthusiasm for Chomsky, suggests that's how you perceive him. Fine. But am i to assume you have no problem with me adding ANY sourced Christopher Hitchens quotations in the interest of, as i see it, accurate representation? User:172.201.189.67

The answer to your question is yes. But note that quotes should be notable in some fashion, as I said above - i.e. don't include a quote about him describing what he ate for breakfast, even if it's accurate:) I don't "exclude" anything, but it's true that I only add quotes that I find interesting. Others may add other stuff, that's how the wiki process works. iddo999 00:57, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

It's worth pointing out that the Kenyon college quote isn't properly referenced, since it goes to a restricted page. User:172.201.189.67

Yes, but iirc the link also wasn't available some time ago, and then it became available, and now it's gone again. Therefore I think that it's better to leave it as it is, for now. The google cache is still available, and it's mentioned in a few other places if you seach for some of the keywords. I saved a local copy, just in case. iddo999 00:57, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

This discussion between the two of you is rather timely for me, since I have a number of "fair use" quotations from two of his books (For the Sake of Argument and Unacknowledged Legislation) that I'd like to add to the mix. Just about everything on the Hitchens page so far has been written or said in the shadow of 9/11. It would be worthwhile and stimulating, I think, to have a sample of him from those earlier times as well. InvisibleSun 02:32, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

The more quotes, the better. That should be obvious. Be bold. But it's true that each quote should be considered individually, to decide whether it's inaccurate, or lacking context that should be added, or not notable. It's just that the reason that 172.201.189.67 gave for deleting a specific quote is dubious, i.e. I see no reason to think that Hitchens isn't proud of that quote, and even if he isn't, there's still no reason to delete it, though perhaps it'd be good to add the new context as discussed above. iddo999 06:54, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

None of the quotations labelled as Scotland Live are properly sourced. If you search for the quotations on google, this is the only site that they come up on. User:172.201.189.67

Right. I'll remove the link. Click on my signature for more info. iddo999 16:35, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

"Since Hitchens evidently dosen't take himself seriously, there's no reason for anyone to". And since Chomsky is an old, blubbering fool who dosen't take anyone seriously, there's no reason for anyone to take him too. Please, stop putting this insulting and crude quote, or I will continue to erase it.

—This unsigned comment is by 190.132.54.64 (talkcontribs) .
The quotation you have been removing is a notable comment by a notable person about the subject of the page. It is standard practice to permit diverse views here about all subjects, and to not exclude any particular viewpoints merely because they are unpopular with various political or social factions. Removing sourced quotes merely because they do not accord with one's own viewpoints is considered vandalism, and can result in IPs or user names being blocked. ~ Kalki·· 00:29, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

Source citations[edit]

I don't have the time to go through all of them, but many of the citations here are missing some fundamental elements (like titles, names of publications, and so on). I suspect that all of this can be found through the Web links for most of them, so it would not be a difficult project to update all of them to use {{cite news}} or a similar presentation with the full information—just tedious. 121a0012 02:09, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

I've worked on supplying the missing info.

Those who post on this and other Wikiquote pages should keep in mind that merely providing links to quotes is not enough information. Links may not last forever. Unless titles of articles, names of publications or broadcasts, dates, etc. are provided as sources, the loss of a link means that we will no longer know where quotes came from. - InvisibleSun 09:40, 30 December 2006 (UTC)


Self-contradictions[edit]

Wikiquote:Neutral_point_of_view/Draft#Selection_of_quotes. It is exceedingly easy to take selected quotes from ANY public figure and arrange them out of context in a seemingly contradictory way. That is not what Wikipedia or Wikiquotes is about. 24.15.39.102 22:20, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Please read the policy. It says "Quotations included in Wikiquote do not need to conform to NPOV, as they are reflections of the point-of-view of the quoted individual; however, all non-quote text on Wikiquote (excluding userpages and with limitations in the Wikiquote namespace) should conform to NPOV. This includes intro text on quote pages, templates intended for the main namespace (they should not express preference for or against any view, etc.), and where relevant, the contents of the Wikiquote namespace." There is nothing about the arrangement of quotations.--Cato 11:11, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree the particular quotes should not have been removed, but would note that the whole page needs a cleanup and the quotes and sections should be arranged chronologically, by the date of the sources, and not by "subject" to minimize the intrusion of imbalanced POVs. ~ Kalki 18:14, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
24.15.39.102, please give (here) an example of a quote that you consider to be out of context, along with the extra context that is missing (in your opinion). iddo999 18:43, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
I'd like to direct readers of this discussion to a relevant discussion of this issue in the Village Pump. I have not forgotten my wish to reformat the Hitchens page, although other projects had distracted me from working on it. The best thing to do for now, I think, is to delete the tendentious title "Self-Contradictions" per the consensus here and in the Village Pump discussion. The quotes from that section will be dispersed throughout the article, in chronological order, pending the creation of sections for Hitchens' magazine columns (Slate, The Atlantic Monthly, etc.) Per the previous discussion, Hitchens' columns will be treated as subsections, with links for each column where available. Some of the quotes may need expansion. I am volunteering to do this within the week. - InvisibleSun 21:37, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
Why are you indenting this as a response to my request of 24.15.39.102? And what's the "consensus here"? I don't care for the "Self-Contradictions" section title, but those quotes make better sense in pairs. ~ iddo999 23:16, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
I hadn't thought about the implications of indenting my post. It should have been posted without indentation. As for consensus: it may have involved only a few people, but that's as good as most Wikiquote discussions get. As for pairing the quotes to "make better sense," does this mean that you wish, by the arrangement of quotes, to guide readers in their interpretations? I would argue that this is not our practice. We arrange quotes chronologically, subdividing by works, and let readers do the rest. Hasn't this been our way of doing things? And hasn't there been a consensus that arrangement by topics is tendentious, i.e., an attempt to channel the reader's understanding? Perhaps, to resolve the matter more definitively, it should be brought up as a general policy question. The result would then become a part of Wikiquote:Guide to layout. - InvisibleSun 23:51, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
So again, what's the consensus of the few people here? I'm not all that interested in this particular page, so you can divide as you wish from my perspective (and you should be commended for doing the cleanup, as opposed to someone like me who just doesn't care enough about this yoyo to bother cleaning up his page). But in general I think that dividing into subjects, when there are many quotes, is actually a very significant and positive service to the average readers. A random reader who comes across a wikiquote page shouldn't be expected to research the page in order to find (among many quotes) stuff that he's interested in, so imho division into sections (along with the table of contents) is helpful for readers on average. Regarding the self-contradictions, I didn't create that section, but maybe if the title is renamed to a neutral term (e.g. something like "comparisons", or a better term that other editors might suggest) and each subsection of it would contain all relevant quotes arranged chronologically, then it'd be inviting the readers to make their own interpretations (and perhaps contribute more context if they find any), as opposed to guiding readers in their interpretations. But if other editors think that the only alternative for this section is separate everything into the wilderness among one big 'sourced' section, so be it:) iddo999 20:58, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

I strongly agree with Iddo and have changed self-contradictions to comparisons (unless anyone has a better suggestion).--Cato 22:35, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Unsourced[edit]

  • Now just wait a minute, a second ago you mentioned character assassination. Be careful that your character doesn't commit suicide in front of everyone in this room!
    • Debate with Rabbi Schmuley Boteach, 92nd Street Y (2008)
  • Name me an ethical statement made or an action performed by a believer that could not have been made or performed by a non-believer.
  • Public opinion is often wrong, mob opinion is almost always wrong, [and] religious opinion is wrong by definition.

(Private discussion between Hitchens, Dawkins, Dennet, Harris on the 30th of September 2007, 'The Four Horseman' (source: 33:45min /n7IHU28aR2E on a well-known video platform)

  • On Jerry Falwell: No, and I think it’s a pity there isn’t a hell for him to go to... The empty life of this ugly little charlatan proves only one thing: that you can get away with the most extraordinary offenses to morality and to truth in this country if you’ll just get yourself called Reverend. Who would, even at your network, have invited on such a little toad to tell us that the attacks of September 11th were the result of our sinfulness and were God’s punishment if they hadn’t got some kind of clerical qualification. People like that should be out in the street, shouting and hollering with a cardboard sign and selling pencils from a cup. The whole consideration of this horrible little person is offensive to very, very many of us who have some regard for truth and for morality and who think that ethics do not require that lies be told to children by evil old men, that we’re not told that people who believe like Falwell will be snatched up into heaven - I’m glad to see he skipped the rapture and was found on the floor of his office – while the rest of us go to hell. How dare they talk to children like this, how dare they raise money from credulous people on their huckster-like Elmer Gantry radio stations and fly around in private jets as he did, giggling and snickering all the time at what he was getting away with?…How dare he say, for example, that the Antichrist is already present amongst us and is an adult male Jew, while all the time fawning on the worst elements in Israel, with his other hand pumping anti-Semitic innuendos into American politics along with his friends Robertson and Graham, encouraging the most extreme theocratic fanatics and maniacs on the West Bank and in Gaza not to give an inch of what he thought of as holy land to the people who already lived there, undercutting and ruining every democrat and secularist in the Jewish state in the name of God? He’s done us an enormous, enormous disservice by this sort of demagoguery…the fact is that the country suffers to a considerable extent from paying too much by way of compliment to anyone who can describe themselves as a person of faith – Jimmy Swaggart, Ted Haggard: Chaucerian frauds, people who are simply pickpockets and frauds who prey on the gullible…He woke up every morning, as I say, pinching his chubby little flanks and thinking “I’ve got away with it again!”…I think he was a conscious charlatan and bully and fraud and I think if he read the Bible at all – and I would doubt whether he could actually read any long book at all – that he did so only in the most hucksterish, as we say, Bible-pounding way. I’m gonna repeat what I said before about the Israeli question. It’s very important. Jerry Falwell kept saying to his own crowd “Yeah you gotta like the Jews cos they can make more money in ten minutes than you can make in a lifetime.” He was also full, as his friends Robertson and Graham are and were, of anti-Semitic innuendo, yet, in the most base and hypocritical way, he encouraged the worst elements among Jewry. He got Menachim Begin to give him the Jabotinsky Medal, celebrating an alliance between Christian fundamentalism and Jewish fanaticism that has ruined the chances for peace in the Middle East. Lots of people are going to die and are already leading miserable lives because of the nonsense preached by this man.
    • Anderson Cooper 360, CNN, (2007-05-16) (/umVp2L82nPY on a popular video site)

Unsourced / partly sourced[edit]

  • What makes the Israel-Palestine two-state solution ungettable? Because there’s a chunk of people on both sides who say they have God in their corner and God gave only their group the land, and they can negate the votes of everybody else including the whole of the international community, by the way, just because of their faith. [1]
  • Atheists have always argued that this world is all that we have, and that our duty is to one another to make the very most and best of it.
    • The Portable Atheist, page xvi
  • Religion ends and philosophy begins, just as alchemy ends and chemistry begins and astrology ends, and astronomy begins.
    • Interview with Lou Dobbs [2]
  • And not scorning the three delightful children who result — who are everything to me and who are my only chance of even a glimpse of a second life, let alone an immortal one, and I’ll tell you something: if I was told to sacrifice them to prove my devotion to God, if I was told to do what all monotheists are told to do and admire the man who said, “Yes, I’ll gut my kid to show my love of God,” I’d say, “No. Fuck you."
  • Religious exhortation and telling people, telling children, that if they don’t do the right thing, they’ll go to terrifying punishments or unbelievable rewards, that’s making a living out of lying to children. That’s what the priesthood do. And if all they did was lie to the children, it would be bad enough. But they rape them and torture them and then hope we’ll call it ‘abuse’. [4]
  • People are frightened of death, and the central lie of all religion is that there’s a cure for this and an exception we’ve made in your own case: an eternal life offered if you make the right propitiations and the right abjections. Well, I’m sorry. I think that it's the height of immorality to lie to people like that. That’s why [religion] survives.” [5]
  • [Religious belief] is a totalitarian belief. It is the wish to be a slave. It is the desire that there be an unalterable, unchallengeable, tyrannical authority who can convict you of thought crime while you are asleep, who can subject you - who must, indeed, subject you - to total surveillance around the clock every waking and sleeping minute of your life - I say, of your life - before you're born and, even worse and where the real fun begins, after you're dead. A celestial North Korea. Who wants this to be true? Who but a slave desires such a ghastly fate? I've been to North Korea. It has a dead man as its president, Kim Jong-Il is only head of the party and head of the army. He's not head of the state. That office belongs to his deceased father, Kim Il-Sung. It's a necrocracy, a thanatocracy. It's one short of a trinity I might add. The son is the reincarnation of the father. It is the most revolting and utter and absolute and heartless tyranny the human species has ever evolved. But at least you can fucking die and leave North Korea! [6]
  • Religion is not provided to us by revelation, it doesn't come from the heavens, it doesn't come from the beyond, it doesn't come from the divine. It's man-made. And it shows. It shows very well - that religion is created, invented, imposed by a species half a chromosome away from the chimpanzee. [7]
  • It will happen to all of us, that at some point you get tapped on the shoulder and told, not just that the party's over, but slightly worse: the party's going on — but you have to leave. And it's going on without you. That's the reflection that I think most upsets people about their demise. All right, then, because it might make us feel better, let's pretend the opposite. Instead, you'll get tapped on the shoulder and told, Great news: this party's going on forever – and you can't leave. You've got to stay; the boss says so. And he also insists that you have a good time. [8]
  • There is no Big Brother in the sky. It is a horrible idea that there is somebody who owns us, who makes us, who supervises us waking and sleeping, who knows our thoughts, who can convict us of thought crime, thought crime - just for what we think, who can judge us while we sleep for things that might occur to us in our dreams, who can create us sick (as apparently we are) and then order us on pain of eternal torture to be well again. To demand this, to wish this to be true, is to wish to live as an abject slave. It is a wonderful thing, in my submission, that we now have enough information, enough intelligence, and - I hope - enough intellectual and moral courage to say that this ghastly proposition is founded on a lie, and to celebrate that fact, and I invite you to join me in doing so. [9]
  • "There is not a single world religion which doesn't hold women in contempt. Even Buddha was apparently born from a slit in his mother's side, anything but the filth and disgust of having to contemplate the female reproductive system. Yet again, anything but the vagina. Disgust for females, contempt for females, revulsion from menstrual blood and the female reproductive system. What could be more obviously man made than this, and made in a barbaric period even in the history of the male sex?" [10]
  • The crucial thing for most of the left now, is what goes under the name of "anti-globalization". A sort of primitive, I would say non-Marxist form of anti-capitalism. If that is your main concern then by definition the United States is the main enemy. Which with only a little displacement means that any enemy of the United States is at least a potential friend. I have certainly read articles and heard speeches from quite prominent leftists that give the strong impression that jihadism may have it's drawbacks but it is better than no "anti-globalization" at all.
  • But Portugal had broken the mainspring for me, because it had caused me to understand that I thought democracy and pluralism were good things in themselves, and ends in themselves at that, rather than means to another end.
    • Hitch 22, p.186
  • [I am persuaded by] the materialist conception of history. [11]
  • A theory that seems to explain everything is just as good at explaining nothing. [12]
  • I mean, for me, it’s enough to be at war. The crucial thing is to be at war. [13]
  • And if I didn’t know better, I’d say they [the U.S. marines] were doing God’s work. Let them fear us. That’s the thing -- let them fear us. [14]
  • I’m too old to shoulder a rifle in any meaningful sense myself. [15]
    • Hitchens' response to the suggestion that those who preach war should consider fighting it themselves.
  • To be involved in this [the Iraq War], frankly, just makes me happy. [16]
  • You only said did I regret the targets I did pick. There are some I regret not picking. I was much too soft on Mugabe. I say it in my memoir. I claim to have had good reasons for it, and I was very keen to see the end of white supremacist dictatorship in Southern Africa and I was probably soft-pedalling what I knew about some of ZANU-PF. But having a good enough motive is not a good enough reason for doing something that was a betrayal, really, of principles. Anyway, hoping to see the end of these and others is a good reason for KBO. [17]

Unsourced quotes about Christopher Hitchens[edit]

  • The man had more wit and style and substance than a few civilizations I could name.
  • Christopher Hitchens is the most extraordinary writer. I would say the premier living essayist in the English language. He can write on an amazing array of subjects with extraordinary knowledge. Nobody has his range or his eloquence.