In memory of Christopher Hitchens, I give you the opening of his memorable "Unfairenheit 9/11: The lies of Michael Moore," from Slate, 2004:
One of the many problems with the American left, and indeed of the American left, has been its image and self-image as something rather too solemn, mirthless, herbivorous, dull, monochrome, righteous, and boring. How many times, in my old days at The Nation magazine, did I hear wistful and semienvious ruminations? Where was the radical Firing Line show? Who will be our Rush Limbaugh? I used privately to hope that the emphasis, if the comrades ever got around to it, would be on the first of those and not the second. But the meetings themselves were so mind-numbing and lugubrious that I thought the danger of success on either front was infinitely slight.
There is in that passage a nerve struck so poignantly and unmistakably as to render it better left ignored by those the passage punctures. Which is why I raise it: Hitchens' proper and, I might add, honorable legacy will be his detestation of conformity of thought, an unintellectual malady nearly as pandemic throughout the progressive community as it is on the right. The peculiar species of incessant, undifferentiated brooding and molecularly identical saccharine sentimentalism that issues from today's progressive activism is the very type of ideological tediousness that progressive pioneers -- see New Deal -- largely and pragmatically succeeded in overcoming.
But it's back, with that proverbial vengeance, because gleaming, glittering virtue knows not what else to do. I enjoyed Hitchens' knocking it down a peg or two every now and then, even when I intensely disagreed with his premises. I shall miss him -- yet another victim of this fucking cancerous plague which takes a backseat in government attention to the kind of idiotic wars that Hitchens came to support.