Leon Neyfakh: “Chuck Shelton, the editor of the publishing trade publication Kirkus, came over to the table to say hello to Mr. Karp. Mr. Shelton greeted Mr. Hitchens, whom he said he knew from cocktail parties. Shortly thereafter, according to Mr. Shelton, he was inexplicably touching Mr. Hitchens’ penis and rubbing his balls.”
Whether Mr. Shelton paid for the privilege is unknown. I can only presume that this was merely an unprofessional gesture.
(This podcast is part of our National Book Awards coverage for 2007, in which five bloggers are attempting various journalistic experiments using unusual technological methods. For more posts and other tomfoolery, keep checking under this category.)
People on This Podcast: Christopher Hitchens
Click to listen: (MP3)
Huffington Post: “That brings the reader to the second page, where Hitchens is photographed both smoking in the shower as he soaps up and smoking while he shaves. Only towards the end of page two does Hitchens begin writing. By page three of four he gets shipped to a Four Seasons in Santa Barbara where he is massaged with hot stones and given facials, all while drifting in and out of a slumber. More pictures of Hitchens smoking at the gym and drinking scotch during a body wrap.”
Crooks & Liars: “During a segment on Bill Maher’s show–he flipped the audience off and cursed them out. I’ve seen Maher ask the audience to calm down before, but never have I seen a guest react like that.”
Christopher Hitchens tears Gunter Grass a new one: “‘Let those who want to judge, pass judgment,’ Grass said last week in a typically sententious utterance. Very well, then, mein lieber Herr. The first judgment is that you kept quiet about your past until you could win the Nobel Prize for literature. The second judgment is that you are not as important to German or to literary history as you think you are. The third judgment is that you will be remembered neither as a war criminal nor as an anti-Nazi hero, but more as a bit of a bloody fool.”
Slate: “Yellow-dog Democrats like Keillor spend a lot of time whining about how America’s standing in the world has declined of late, but this is how he treats a guest who spends half his time combating anti-Americanism in France. Simply because [Bernard-Henri Levy] mentions a fact that has actually caught other eyes (the tendency of Americans to become riotously fat) he is addressed like this: ‘Thanks pal. … Thanks for coming. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. For your next book, tell us about those riots in France, the cars burning in the suburbs of Paris. What was all that about? Were fat people involved?’ One moans for shame that such a vulgar jerk is thought of, and even known overseas, as some kind of national entertainer.”
- Ready Steady Book has a comprehensive Books of the Year 2005 symposium.
- Another year, another end-of-the-year panel, another set of pages that isn’t formatted properly for Firefox. But despite the usual platitudes from the usual people, Mr. Birnbaum maanages to offer a defense of Hitchens that many of his naysayers (including this blogger) might wish to consider.
- Question: Will the moralists now go after Chuck Palahniuk with the same vigor that they go after music, films, and video games? Come on, you fundies, you’ve got your smoking gun!
- First, Orhan Pamuk. Now Abdullah Yildiz. In Turkey, it’s all literary persecution, all the time! Note to the hypersensitive Turkish nationalists: Georgie Porgie only served you pudding and pie and kissed the girls and made them cry! Let the little fucker run away and learn to deal.
- Rodney Whitaker (aka Trevnian), author of the source material for the worst Clint Eastwood movie ever made, has passed on.
- Do crime writers get a bad rap?
- An interesting review of Park Honan’s Marlowe bio, wondering how much of biography is fiction.
- The playwright Gary Mitchell has received serious death threats and was attacked by men with baseball bats and gasoline bombs. Serious shit.
- Another million dollar debut deal. This time, for Diane Setterfield, a Yorkshire French teacher whose turned out a gothic novel in the vein of Jane Eyre, et al.
- Jack Anderson: last of a dying breed?
- Dan Green wonders why critics are picking on John Barth.
Tom Hayden: “In the film ‘The Big Lebowski,’ several decades later, the stoned ‘dude’ played by Jeff Bridges claims to have written the Port Huron statement. Perhaps that is where Hitchens took his cue, for it certainly didn’t come from reading the document.”
For all of The Atlantic‘s candor, it still doesn’t explain why the current double issue would include not one, but two takes on high-profile translations (the former a swell introspective look on Don Quixote, the latter another smug collection of Christopher Hitchens intonations), while saving the remaining lengthy slot for Dr. Laura’s new book. While influential polemicists certainly do warrant a serious look, we can’t help but wonder if The Atlantic is preaching to the converted or contemplate why The Atlantic would dwell upon a polemicist that has, it would seem to us, had her day. Despite the long, long, long (did we mention long?), blustery essays on Iraq, one involving hawkish apologia, both of which hurt our heads to varying degrees, we believe The Atlantic‘s readers are not likely to find solace in a hateful crank. Nor do we believe that hi/lo dichotomies are necessarily the order of the day. The current object, it would seem to us, is guided more by mitosis. To the point where it has us now using that dreaded first person plural, which use we reserve only when drunk, half-awake, or otherwise devoid of our ten senses.