Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Luk√°cs

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Book Review: Hitchens Is Not Great


When people try to imagine what Hitchens looks like, they invariably think of an old frail man dressed in white and with a white beard

Hitchens Is Not Great: How Imperialism Poisons Everything by G.O'Dot

Famed for his biting polemical satire 'Waiting for', G.O'Dot has now unleashed a tremendously fierce and impassioned attack on neo-conservative apologists for American imperial power and corporate greed, entitled, provocatively, 'Hitchens Is Not Great'. The same contrarian spirit that makes G.O'Dot delightful reading as a political commentator, even (or especially) when he's completely wrong, makes him an entertaining huckster prosecutor once he has Hitchens placed in the dock. In this book, G.O'Dot exposes how if Hitchens did not exist, there would be a need to invent him, as imperialism has always needed and found shameless journalists prepared to lie and prostitute their talents in exchange for material reward. 'Hired prizefighters for the capitalist class', Marx called them. Yet their cause is incredibly damaging to humanity. Imperialism, G.O'Dot writes, is 'violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism and tribalism and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children'. It truly 'poisons everything'.

Water into Whine

Yet G.O'Dot is especially damning when it comes to the question of Hitchens himself. Many have claimed for Hitchens special super-natural powers, particularly when it comes to hard drinking. For example, one believer, George Galloway, has claimed that 'What Mr Hitchens has done is unique in natural history; the first-ever metamorphosis from a butterfly back into a slug. I mention 'slug' purposefully, because the one thing a slug does leave behind it is a trial of slime'. This is remarkable stuff, remarkable, but though there are people around who claim to have seen such acts - 'miracles' - they are very thin on the ground and there is still no rational, scientific, reasonable proof of Hitchens' existence as of yet.

False Profits

Others have asked that if it is true that Hitchens exists, and if he is such a kind benign spirit, why does he let so much suffering and destruction at the hands of the American Empire happen without intervening? Indeed, at times it seems as though Hitchens positively glories in the death and misery caused by imperialism - what sort of idol is this? Overall, G.O'Dot's short work, while perhaps a little hastily put together, is both timely and important and highly recommended to readers of Histomat.

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