Christopher Hitchens’s lefty publisher begged from him – and then betrayed him

Why is Christopher Hitchens’s old publisher turning on him?

16 March 2013

9:00 AM

16 March 2013

9:00 AM

Before the crash of 2007, as aid agencies were asking the governments of what we once called ‘the rich world’ to wipe out poor countries’ debts, Christopher Hitchens received a begging letter from his publishers.

Verso, if you have never come across it, boasts that it is ‘the largest independent, radical publishing house in the English-speaking world’. Its old stagers are Tariq Ali and Perry Anderson, Marxist-Leninists of the upper class, who had been Hitchens’s comrades on the soixante-huitard left. Hitchens told me that along with aristocratic style of their fine offices in London and New York went the classic capitalist desire to expropriate the fruits of the workers’ labour.

As ‘debt forgiveness’ was in the air, Verso had said to him, would he forgive the debts of his publishers by allowing them to keep his royalties? ‘They think,’ said Hitchens, his eyes shining with incredulous glee, ‘that I’m the equivalent of the World Bank and that they’re the equivalent of a banana republic.’

Verso looks like a tin-pot dictatorship now. The publishing house has done something I have not seen since the passing of communism: denounced its dead author for his ideological deviations. It recruited one Richard Seymour, a Marxist Leninist hack, to produce Unhitched. (Geddit?) Among his many, many other sins, Seymour accuses his Verso colleague of being a ‘terrible liar’, ‘career-minded’, a ‘power fetishist’, ‘a cliché’ an ‘ouvrierist’ and, worst of all, an apostate who abandoned ‘the left’ to support the West’s wars against al-Qa’eda and Saddam Hussein.

As that ‘ouvrierist’ suggests, nature did not intend Mr Seymour to write. Whatever you think of Hitchens’s arguments, he loved the English language, and it loved him back. Seymour read the collected works of that compelling stylist and still produced sentences such as, ‘Turns to the right among the intelligentsia were drawn out processes punctuated by miniwaves and with distinct temporalities.’

People write this badly when they have something to hide. Seymour and Verso’s secret is that when they say ‘the left’ they mean the far left, which in our age is also an ally of the far right: the 21st-century equivalent of the Hitler-Stalin pact. Verso publishes the speeches of Osama bin Laden. Without irony or self-awareness, Seymour denounces Hitchens’s support for Salman Rushdie and opposition to Ayatollah Khomeini. This is a world where any enemy of the West, even a clerical and reactionary enemy that executes leftists, must be supported; where Seymour can say ‘the ascendant form of resistant politics had become one or other variant of Islamism’ and mean ‘resistant’ as a compliment.


The trouble is that the heretic-hunter fears that the reader may see through his double standards. It is therefore not enough for him to criticise his target’s ideas, he seems to want to destroy his target’s character too. But how? He can say he was a bad man in private. Intelligent readers will just separate the writer from the work, the gossip from the gist, and shrug.

The practised calumniator knows there is only one killer charge to level in these circumstances: plagiarism. Everything about the writer becomes fraudulent then, because ‘the work’ becomes stolen goods.

Deplorably, Seymour levels it at Hitchens. Seymour writes that ‘a great deal of his work on Bill Clinton’s betrayal on health care’ in No One Left to Lie To, Hitchens’s polemic on the Clinton administration, was ‘lifted’ from another journalist. Shocking behaviour, I am sure you agree. But Seymour does not say that the section on health filled a modest part of the book. And in the endnotes he concedes, ‘In fairness, Hitchens credited [the journalist’s] work in the chapter in the paperback edition.’ In other words, Seymour is a critic who makes an allegation in the daylight of the main text and withdraws it in the gloom of the small print.

His most sensational charge is that Hitchens’s The Missionary Position, a celebrated assault on Mother Teresa, was straight theft. Verso said when it published in the 1990s that Hitchens had based it on a documentary, Hell’s Angel, that he had presented on Channel 4. Hitchens certainly made the programme, you can still see it on YouTube. But Seymour says an Indian author ‘produced most of the original research’ for the book. Verso thought the manuscript needed rewriting. Its editors passed it to Hitchens, who then won fame and notoriety by passing it off as his own work.

‘Who was the Indian author?’ I asked a Verso press spokeswoman. She did not know. ‘Why didn’t Verso insist on crediting him or her on the dust jacket?’ Ah, came the reply, the mysterious Indian ‘didn’t mind’ Hitchens’s theft. He must be the most easy-going writer in human history, I thought, but went along with the spin and asked, ‘Well why didn’t Seymour say that?’

The spokeswoman did not know; but the true answer is that ‘the left’ detests Hitchens’s ‘betrayal’ and cannot grant him the smallest concession. One of Hitchens’s stock of quotes was a warning against allowing hatred to so grip your mind that you no longer cared what you said. ‘The man who thinks any stick will do will pick up a boomerang.’ I think it is from Chesterton, but cannot find the source, but I am certain that if Richard Seymour and Tariq Ali look up they will see a boomerang whirling through the air to smack them in the face.

While I had the Verso PR woman on the line, I remembered that it had published my own book Cruel Britannia in 2000.

‘I can’t remember the last time I saw a royalty statement,’ I said.

‘Ah well, we have been upgrading our royalty department for a couple of years,’ she replied.

Years, I thought. It takes years for a small publisher to ‘upgrade’?

‘I want any money I am owed now,’ I said, and hung up.

Young lefties beware. If you can write, or even, as in the case of Seymour, you cannot, Verso will offer to publish you. Stay away. The record shows that it will try to take your money if you toe the party line, and trash your reputation if you do not.

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Show comments
  • Alphaville

    Christopher Hitchens, one of the great improvers of other people’s work http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n23/john-barrell/the-positions-he-takes (and John Barrell is a scholar of unimpeachable record, whose books on John Clare and the rural poor in C18 painting are original, thoroughly researched with full accompanying references, and shine new light into fascinating areas of British social, political and cultural life). My quibble with Richard Seymour’s book is that he can find better uses for his intelligence than the legacy of an Establishment hack.

    • steveyt ff

      I find it truly hilarious that all these people such as Nick Cohen who wank on about how ‘great a writer’ Hitchens was and how ‘bad a writer’ Seymour is have universally failed to notice the obivous sarcasm in Barrell’s essay.

    • kaish

      the SWP don’t give up so easily! Onwards comrades! The journey of a thousand steps begins with the first mile etc…

    • oystersbienville

      John Barrell trusted the flock at LRB, and its other 24 readers, to take his word as gospel when it came to Hitchens’ book, and, as you demonstrate, most did. Alas, not all. If you take Barrell’s shots one by one, and compare them to Hitchens’ text, it becomes quite clear what that review was all about. Thus, a few slight corrections of phrase for the American edition, and the book went on to become a best seller in several markets. And Christopher went on to have several of the most productive years of his life. If it didn’t work then, when he was at the top of the anti-war left’s hit list for his stance on Iraq, why do you think it will work now? And as for being an establishment hack, please tell that to Bill Clinton and Henry Kissinger.

  • http://twitter.com/MrPaulStott PaulStott

    I can’t help thinking that Hitchens would rather have enjoyed the timing, if not the nature of Seymour’s attack.
    Rather than rushing about promoting his book, Richard Seymour has spent much of this year faction fighting in the Socialist Workers Party’s current crisis. A crisis that has been brought about as much by their own hierarchical, Leninist structure as any failing on the part of individual members.
    That is a much bigger bear for Seymour, or Verso, to wrestle with than Christoper Hitchens.

    • Alphaville

      He’s been attempting, along with other members of the SWP, to get the leadership of the party to take allegations of sexual abuse by a young woman against a senior male comrade seriously. And to change its hierarchical structure to allow for dissident voices. But the focus has been the sexual abuse allegations, correctly given the number of much more significant institutions that are now known to have covered up or ‘dealt with internally’ such allegations. My understanding is he no longer belongs to the SWP. Disclaimer: I am not and never have been a member of the SWP.

      And the link to John Barrell’s review of Hitchens’s Thomas Paine’s ‘Rights of Man’: A Biography suggests that Nick Cohen’s “The practised calumniator knows there is only one killer charge to level in these circumstances: plagiarism. Everything about the writer becomes fraudulent then, because ‘the work’ becomes stolen goods” is somewhat disingenuous.


    • oystersbienville

      The SWP is nothing but a cult, not unlike the Scientologists or the Moonies. Sociopaths use these groups to manipulate the weak. Members are as delusional as creationists who think that Adam and Eve lived with dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden 6017 years ago. And no Mr. Seymour, you are no where near as smart as Christopher Hitchens, and you never will be. Though, your attempts to parrot his style are –to borrow from the Hitch–laugh-making, so keep it up by all means.

  • davey

    Sorry but your defence of Hitchens’s plagiarism is ridiculous. ‘A modest part of the book’ – oh dear god! So it’s ok to literally steal someone’s work, cos there wasn’t THAT much of it (and how much was there, Mr Cohen? ‘modest’ is VERY slippery writing indeed)?

    If anyone else had done what he did – stolen someone else’s work and then, in a later edition, apologised for it (while actually MAINTINING THE THEFT), you would rightly condemn them.

    Face it – he was a mate and people are being nasty about him, and most of their criticisms are well-founded. and it’s upset you. That’s it.

    • Ben

      I really don’t think you have the slightest notion of what plagiarism is. All writers borrow from others either intentionally or otherwise, and considering Hitchens gave credit to whoever he borrowed from, the title of plagiarist does not fit him at all.

      In what world is a slim pamphlet on Paine or Clinton or Kissenger, written by a journalist, ever going to contain only new and freshly researched information? I mean how far do you go? Did Seymour plagiarise the title of his new book? Because that certainly isn’t anything fresh or original. By the standards Seymour purports as plagiarism any writer with a reasonable output would be privy to the charge. You people are living in a dreamworld.

      And calling John Barrell ‘a scholar of unimpeachable record’ is hilarious: i think that phrase is a tad oxymoronic personally. His record is impeached by his being a scholar, and a cog in the racketeering wheel of UK Universities. Whenever have academics been a progressive force is my question? As a force they’ve continually opposed any exceptional individuals that have risen in their ranks to challenge the ego-boosting consensuses they regularly hold: they are defenders of the status quo, and protectors of their own self-important mediocrity. My God, academics are such a waste of space. (I’m sure there are a few good ones, but i never seem to meet them.)

      • steveyt ff

        There is a clear difference between alluding to a previously-used and well-known phrase – ie Seymour’s book title – and lifting information wholesale from someone else’s work and passing it off as your own – which is what Hitchens did to Husseini (and also did in his Paine book). You can see a decent discussion of the difference in Hitchens’s own essay on plagiarism.

        It is absolutely remarkable that Nick Cohen excuses plagriarism when one of his mates does it yet is so withering about, say, Johann Hari’s plagiarism.


        “By the standards Seymour purports as plagiarism any writer with a reasonable output would be privy to the charge.”

        not if that writer acknowledged their sources. Which Hitchens did not do – in many cases. And that is the point – not that he ‘drew on the work of others’ but that he passed it off as his own. Lots of writers do it.

        • oystersbienville

          Who exactly did Hitchens plagiarize in his Paine book? Have you read any of the works you mention? As I recall, John Barrell, an academic with solid left credintials and well versed in the powdered wigs, bear fat and coffee shops of the eighteenth century, was hired by the LRB to do a hit piece on the traitor Hitchens. His review was a nit-picking embarrassment. The Paine book was not an academic dust catcher like Barrell’s books, but rather an excellent pair of essays by one of the world’s foremost public intellectuals, written for a general audience. So please, by all means, tell us where Hitchens plagarized in that book, and if you can’t, well, would STFU be too harsh?

          • steveyt ff

            Barrell’s essay is very clear on what Hitchens lifted in his Paine book, just google the review. It’s not ‘nitpicking’ in any sense. Extensive passages lifted verbatim from sources left unacknowledged (acknowledged elsewhere, as the sources of quotations, but not the sources of material), of which Hitchens changed a couple of words to add a bit of ‘wit’ – but the narratives and ideas were not his own – ergo they were stolen. That’s plagiarism – passing off someone else’s work as your own – and students who do such things are failed by all universities. It’s EXACTLY the thing Johann Hari did – which Nick was so critical of. But when Hitchens does it, suddenly it’s fine.

          • Ben

            First of all: not a single passage was lifted verbatim – the sentences were quite different from the originals. Secondly, the parts of Barrell’s essay that i have been able to corroborate don’t fit with what the Paine book actually says (that thing about seconding Ricardo – not actually in there). Thirdly, using a historical account from a far larger and more detailed biography, to fill in the gaps of your own introductory pamphlet, while most of the book relies on and acknowledges repeatedly that it is in debt to the larger biography, is not at all plagiarism.

            People are acting like this was some sort of treatise he was writing, but in reality it was a tiny introductory account, written for a series of books, that by definition will have to borrow to fill in the historical gaps.

          • oystersbienville

            When you consider Hitchens’ enormous output over 40 years of writing, it would be astonishing not to find a mistake or two. That his enemies are left reheating this thin gruel–all the while hawking his name to make a buck–tells you everything you need to know. It’s enough to make a cat laugh! (And yes, I stole that quote from Hitchens, who likely got it from…who the hell cares.)

          • steveyt ff

            You didn’t ‘steal that quotaiton’ because you acknowledged its source. that’s the difference. and i also agree, all journos are bound to make a few mistakes. It’s just that Hitchens’s fans, in their hagiographic writigns on him, insist that he never did. And that’s the ‘record’ which Seymour is challenging.

          • docnoir

            Good lord how many angels have to dance on the head of this pin before you give Hitch his due. A cat would probably turn up her nose at the whole smelly mess.

          • steveyt ff

            The sentences were not quite different. Hitchens added a couple of jokes, and moved a couple of clauses, but the core information, the core chronology, and the core ideas were nto his own. and he did not acknowledge his source for them.

            I agree that short, pithy. intropductory texts will ‘have to borrow’ from longer, probably better-researched and overall better, works. But that borrowing has to be acknowledged. And Hitchens’s was not.

          • oystersbienville

            So you echo what Barrell wrote in the LRB without looking into it yourself, but you’re complaining that Hitchens lifted narratives and ideas that were not his own. By the Barrell Razor, you’re guilty of plagarism. PS, if you’d bother to look for yourself, you’d see that Hitchens acknowledged every single source he used for the book.

      • docnoir

        Love it in an age of appropriation what writer, artist does not take from what inspires them. A jumping off point not the whole diving board.

      • http://www.facebook.com/bill.webb.946 Bill Webb

        haha ben is major loser.

        an American republican

    • koe


    • koe
    • koe

      Sorry but your defense on plagiarism is ridiculous. If I spoke like you.. Hitchens had an original mind, this is clear to many around the world. You focus on a part of his work that you think was plagiarised (by whom- you do not divulge), at the same time I am very sure you do not even understand the current and changing copyright laws, for example SOPA,

      • steveyt ff

        the accusation is not that Hitchens ‘denied Husseini copyright’ but that he used Husseinii’s work and passed off its findings as his own. And if you look in the Clinton book, the endnote is pretty tawdry really, thanking Husseini for his ‘special help’ with that section – which is not quite the same as admitting that it was lifted directly from Husseini’s work and it is still maintaining the theft. Husseini was a mate at the time – but that doesn’t make it ok.

    • Simon Morgan

      D’oh -you missed the ‘small’ print… Hold your hand open at head height – move it rapidly over the top of your head and make ‘whoosh’ sound.

  • CraigStrachan

    “‘I want any money I am owed now,’ I said, and hung up”

    Quite right.

    • docnoir

      the message is leave it to the left-and the left done left the authors out in the cold while it collected the gold. Makes sense doesn’t it. Must be why I remained a progressive centrist and always distrusted the ideologues on both sides. The one truth is the writer gets screwed.

  • http://twitter.com/JosephDPower Joseph Power

    Great article.

  • Richard Armbach

    You are sounding very, very tired Nick ? Tough being a left wing neo con huh ?

    • koe

      tough being a twat?

  • ArtificialIntelligence

    I have no idea who Seymour is. But I’m a huge fan of Hitchens, having bought and read all of his books, and viewed many of his talks and debates on YouTube.

    I think that pretty much sums up the situation. Seymour who?

    • lemmycaution

      A biographer who is less famous than the subject of his biography? Lets hope this doesn’t catch on.

    • http://www.facebook.com/peter.johnson.90857901 Peter Johnson

      That’s a pathetic ad populum wheeze. “My hero is more popular than you, nyeh nyeh!” What kind of person would admit to thinking in these terms? A rational individual or a wounded fanboy trying to comfort himself?

      Let’s face it, Hitchens was a plagiarist and a despicable human being. Any man who could say things like this;

      “As for that benighted country, I wouldn’t shed a tear if it was wiped off the face of this earth.” — Christopher Hitchens

      is of slight value to humanity. Hitchens is lucky that his hero worshiping fans only know him from his books on atheism and his YouTube debates with Christians, or they would have seen him for the vile thug he was.

      • Landon Marcion Shaw

        This really is becoming boring. These over-inflated, far left guppies swim around the internet awaiting the offset comment to suckle up to. Every damn argument left by one of these types starts or ends with “fanboy”, as if they were never a fan of someone. Admiring a person’s writing, debate skills, and mastery of speech does not make the admirer a submissive, dismissive, knee-bent skin-bag of the laity. We admire Hitchens for good reason and disagree with him often. But to these types if you agree at all with someone they detest then you are a “fanboy”. Well how f***ing lazy is that?

        You say “Hitchens was a plagiarist” when, if you read the article, there is no basis for that tripe. If you have one, I’m sure any person who enjoys Hitchens would like to see it. Not because they’d wish to scoff at you but because, like Hitchens, Russell, Payne, Orwell, and others often expressed, if you think for yourself you are all the better for it. You can pull one quote from many of the greats and make them look disgusting, but perhaps the real note of integrity is played by those who refuse to cherry pick, who will read in full and digest the context.

        If there is one thing I have learned since comedians decked in black and drunken authors and nervous scientists have caused me to rethink my faith based initiative it is that taking anything buffet style is dangerous, lazy, pointless, and depressingly apathetic. While you can go around screaming “fanboy” at people who do not agree with you or swipe away at a person’s character to best create your view of them know this, anyone with half a brain cell of an ability to think for themselves will know you are full of sh*t.

        • Anon

          What a magnificent comment.

      • oleman

        Hilarious. I can’t stop laughing. What a comedian.

  • http://twitter.com/polleetickled Polleetickled

    I won’t be crying in my soup.

  • http://twitter.com/mistersix420 wes

    nick, i must say it reflects very poorly on your that you published a book through verso. care to explain how that peculiar circumstance came about?

  • dmitri the impostor

    Lefty publisher ‘dodgy’ says self-dramatising old hack.

    Not a wet eye in the house. Next.

  • koe

    Hitch, died at the age of 62, who wrote 17 books in all. A huge loss to England. The most articulate and contrary person of our generation. He described Mother Teresa As “a lying thieving, Albanian dwarf”, George Galloway despised him. He wanted US Secretary of state (at the time) Henry Kissenger to be tried for war crimes- the bombing of Cambodia. He described George Bush as “abnormally un-intelligent”.

    A great man

    • steveyt ff

      and he endorsed Bush for president. After endorsing Nader previously.

      Will his fanboys please accept that he got tons of stuff totally wrong? and also that his writing was frequently, really, really bad?

      • Crewel

        ‘…his writing was frequently, really, really bad?’

        Not sure that you should be one to criticize writing….

      • Ben

        What has endorsing Bush or Nader got to do with getting anything right or wrong? So was John Kerry the right answer that year? Let me guess Al Gore was the correct answer the election before? Do you know how ridiculous you sound?

      • ladyfractal

        One can admit that he was wrong about somethings while admiring what good he did do. He was a phenomenal writer. Many times reading him I was arrested by just how sublime his facility with the English language was.

    • Austin Barry


      Hitchens also stood up to the Islamist threat while our politicians are craven cowards who will do anything to appease Muslims.

    • CharlesLambert

      George Galloway despised him? Nuff said.

  • oystersbienville

    So ironic that the creeps at Verso are still trying to exploit their golden goose. And naturally they didn’t have the guts to try it when he was alive. Seymour needs to go back to his pathetic blog. Lenin’s tomb indeed.

  • oystersbienville

    For a chuckle, go to Lenin’s Tomb and read Seymour’s running commentary of the recent coup against the vanguard. Charges of RAPE ignored? My my, whatever happened to the rights of female comrades? WWRD (what would Rosa do?) Oh the irony…..FORWARD! And Allah Akbar!!!! Brought to you by Hugo Chavez’s personal fortune of 2 billion yankee dollars. CH was always so blessed by his enemies.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Simon-Fay/1127268875 Simon Fay

    The very very grand Mr Ali is someone even a nobody like me has some passing familiarity with but I had no idea he was in bed with an Alan Bennett lookalike.

  • steveyt ff

    Since we’re on the topic of poor quality journalism, I’d like to note, here, that it took me precisely 30 seconds to find Hitchens using the stick/boomerang quotation Nick is so fond of – Nick obviously didn’t bother:


    But the provenance is very elusive – one might suggest that Hitchens is atributing words to Chesterton that he has, er, modified.

    But nonetheless, here is Nick using it in a 2008 piece – despite not actually knowing where it is from in Chesterton, or whether it actually IS Chesterton, at all:

    ‘When a man believes that any stick will do, he at once picks up a boomerang,’ said GK Chesterton,

    you really could not make this stuff up. The more people try to attack Seymour, the more pitiful they end up looking.

    • oystersbienville

      Here’s an idea. Why don’t you write a long essay about the provenance of the quote in question and report back to us. And don’t forget the footnotes and bibliography–we wouldn’t want anyone accusing you of plagiarism. Thanks in advance. “Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese” GK Chesterton. There are no uninteresting things, only uninterested people. GK Chesterton.

  • jameshogg

    Nick: when writing, don’t give anyone even a fraction of your Copyright. Ever. Because they will just use it to exploit the fruits of your labour – something that Copyright believers think it is supposed to prevent.

    Use an intellectual servicing approach instead of an intellectual property one. Crowdfund your next book on Kickstarter, and get paid as you write, not after you write. Many people will pay, myself included. Hire someone to help you advertise – have them work for YOU, and not the other way around. Copyright law is positively harmful as demonstrated by these and many other continuous royalty rip-offs, let alone the countless other aggressions that come with it – censorship included, where you may need money for a ton of lawyers just to prove that certain speech was protected under a “fair use” clause. We are approaching an age where intellectual servicing is solving the creator’s free-rider problem much better than intellectual property, and with none of the human rights compromises or transparent nonsense.

    The plagiarism accusations are nonsense of course. People just do not realise that you, Hitchens and Aaronovitch think along the lines of something that is not as black and white as Left and Right, and can’t stand it. Consensus is a revolting thing in politics, because by definition those who agree based on consensus are not thinking for themselves. To think for yourself and to say that nobody is above criticism is seen as too contrarian or, gasp, even worse, too “scientifically orientated”. Usually when people run out of whining excuses for why thinking for yourself is a bad thing, they tend to throw around hollers of being “too anti-religious”. Anything that denounces enlightenment and endorses consensus.

    Write on, and don’t give anyone your Copyrights. They can be turned on you to lock yourself out of your own works. So much for the “rights of authors” and their markets.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    While I agreed with CH on organized religion (deception, violent superstition), I feel he was inconsistent on other issues. As example, he opposed US involvement in Vietnam, Cambodia … while fully supporting US military actions in Iraq. Also, he could never get his head round the possibility that 9/11 was an snide job. Which I find some what inconsistent with his position on religion. Face it, a scam is a scam is a scam.
    Jack, Vietnam

    • http://twitter.com/MatthewWolfff Matthew Wolff

      Trutherism? Right, Hitchens was inconsistent.

  • http://www.facebook.com/franklin.percival Franklin Percival

    Who is Christopher Hitchens?

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      So asks Frank the ignoramus.

    • Jay from Philly

      He was a drunken chickenhawk who hated America.

  • Mr Grumpy

    “Publisher of unreadable Trotskyist rants publishes unreadable Trotskyist rant”

    However, to adapt Orwell’s axiom, some things are true even though Richard Seymour says they are true. It’s OK, then, to pinch someone else’s stuff so long as you only use it in one chapter and you credit it when the paperback comes out? What happened between the hardback and the paperback, I wonder – did Hitch’s conscience trouble him or did Verso get a letter from a lawyer?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=529432592 Rudi Affolter

    Appalling. I am with you ArtificialIntelligence & Koe. Chris Hitchens was a wonderful author, I especially appreciated his book against this mythical entity called “God”. He is greatly missed. Who is Richard Seymour?

  • danial tanvir jafri

    I am 19 years old , am from Pakistan and i am Christopher Hitchens biggest fan and i want to become a great writer like him!. he is my childhood hero,i was very upset when he passed away!!!!!!!!.

    • http://twitter.com/MatthewWolfff Matthew Wolff

      Good for you, Danial!

      • EUSSR

        Little tip for you straight from Christopher Hitchens when I ran into him before a debate, after I said I was a big fan:

        ‘Don’t be a fan, be a critical scrutineer’

        Remember it’s your opinion that counts

    • Donald Oprie


  • rigaud

    A very modest piece . Short on argument-high on prejudice.

    • Nun Yerbizness

      how revealing of your own prejudices that the telling of this particular truth elicits such a jaundiced response

      • rigaud

        You win the silliest comment prize.

        • Nun Yerbizness

          said the prejudiced troll short on arguement

  • Papa493

    A shonda!

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Hitchens took the precaution of obtaining US citizenship before criticizing America. Piers Morgan kindly note.

  • http://www.facebook.com/adrian.harper.92 Adrian Harper

    are you saying publishers should only publish books which pursue the same ideological line? amazing. pro and anti hitchins books are fine by me. i thought the spectator supported free speech? as long as you don’t criticize the brothers who live on sark

  • Aroup Chatterjee

    I was the so-called ‘mystery author’ – the programme was ENTIRELY my brainchild though I did not produce most of the wok. Vanya Del Borgo did most of the leg work. Hitch simply presented it

  • Jay from Philly

    Hitchens was a chickenhawk America-hating warmongering piece of garbage. I’m glad he’s dead.

    • WalterSEllis

      He would have disposed of you in seconds flat, then forgotten you existed.

      • Jay from Philly

        Since he didn’t believe in fighting his own battles who would have fought for him?


        • WalterSEllis

          We appear to be in nincompoop corner. Hitchens fought battles throughout his life – most of which he won. You didn’t have to like him to know that he made a formidable opponent. He was also, or course, pro-American. He loved America. He made his home there for more than 25 years and wrote of his pride at taking out U.S. citizenship. That didn’t mean he wasn’t critical of its leaders. He kept writing, and fighting, until the day he died. Some chicken. Some hawk.

          • Jay from Philly

            Your god Hitchens jacked off to American death for 8 years and then he chose to die rather than face a world where American soldiers were getting slaughtered in Iraq. 4500 of them and $800 billion my kid’s kids will be paying off to the Chinese. For what? A Shiite theocracy that gave us the finger on the way out? So Hitchens and the Hitchmonkey cult could get their jollies. The hell with that. He’s rotting in pieces and the best thing he ever did was die and stop poisoning the greatest nation on earth with his hateful screeds.

          • WalterSEllis

            Whatever the opposite of touché is, this is the time to say it. So détouché it is.

  • João Silva

    Nice one, now I am going to buy the book because despite the fact that I found his anti-religion crusade amusing, his true upper-class, public school-boy, attention-seeking, snooty insecurity eventually showed itself. The Christian fundamentalists (the 1st time I heard the word was in relation to bible-bashers) say he died because of the wrath of god but I know all the booze and fags killed him as he tried to assuage his tortured, sneaky, backstabbing “soul”.

  • Andy Grainger

    I suppose I would describe HItchens as a contrarian, sometimes his opinions (well articulated, forcefully presented to be sure) were wrong-headed as a result. Sometimes not well thought out but coming from a visceral reaction. He was not perfect, our Hitch, but a lot of us liked him a lot.

  • JabbaTheCat

    A timely reminder of what an all round pigmy is Hitchens minor compared to his late brother…

  • http://www.rbccd.tk/ Old Man Ludicrous

    I want any and all money I am owed now by these loquacious leftist bamboozling braggadocios brigands! Why, even if I am NOT owed it!
    Why not?
    Yes- sadly, I too am hung up. An effect resulting from my upbringing by parents of Fabian fortitudes.
    Skeptic Michael Shermer? Will you – indeed, CAN you – help me in my quixotic quest?

  • MikeF

    “People write this badly when they have something to hide.” Or nothing worth saying.

  • darwins beard

    Hitchens has been repeatedly been proved right since his death, be it about Putin’s expansionist desires or the Islamic Caliphate reborn and even the drivel pushed by Verso. He often referred to keeping “two sets of books” but never denied being wrong on issues such as the enevitable state of Zimbabwe or the many flaws in his own Marxist ideals. I wonder if this Seymour would volunteer for waterboarding to see if Hitch`s opinions on that were false or plagiarized too.

  • Donald Oprie

    Quick question, where do our Ancient Friends stand in all of this?