You know, at least when Christopher Hitchens wrote his diatribe against Mother Teresa, she was still alive.
Richard Seymour, on the other hand, has written his polemic against Hitchens a year after his death.
Seymour’s book is called Unhitched: The Trial of Christopher Hitchens and focuses on how Hitchens’ “intellectual trajectory [was] determined by expediency and a fetish for power.”
I’ll admit, I’ve always been more interested about Hitchens’ views on religion than his politics, but this just sounds like an over-the-top attempt to capitalize on his popularity before it’s too late:
“One chapter deals with the trajectory of his political shift, from the time he was a young socialist who joined Labour,” said Seymour. “I’ve interviewed a lot of his former comrades. If you read [Hitchens’ memoir] Hitch 22, it’s not an entirely reliable account — what he remembers and what others remember are different. He’s subtly, and sometimes not so subtly, revised things.”
Seymour will also examine Hitchens’ views on “war and empire, and his surprising shifts on that front — he’s not as consistent in that shift as he liked to make out in retrospect”, said the author. “And there’s a chapter on his approach to religion, and his approach to the ‘English question’ — Thatcher, and Orwell.”
Hitchens had seen a version of Seymour’s criticism of him before he died but (obviously) wasn’t happy with it:
“We stopped exchanging emails shortly afterwards,” [Seymour] said. “He thought of it as an insult, and threw a few back.”
I haven’t read the book. This is obviously not a review of it. But the fact that this is even being published just goes to show you how Hitchens can still get under the skin of his critics. It only makes sense that they’re fighting back now, knowing he won’t get a chance to respond. It’s the only way they could ever top him in a debate.
***Update***: This post has been edited since its initial posting.
(Thanks to Allein for the link)