Sullivan reacts to my warning that advertising-free pontification can, paradoxically, be shackling to the intellect, and though he says he stands ready to resist any such enslavement (and I believe him), he notes: "This has occurred to me. I lost a third of my readers in 2003 when I turned against the Iraq war."
Which, in turn, made the related case of Christopher Hitchens occur to me. A few months ago I was reading a bound collection of Hitchens' essays (Love, Poverty, and War), and among them were some of his final Nation commentaries in support of the Iraq war. They were ill conceived but brilliantly written; at any rate his war-related opinions caused his association with that publication to come to an abrupt end.
As I read these essays (with which, as mentioned, I deeply disagreed), I felt a sadness--a profound sort of compounded loss, for this was around the time of Hitchens' death--that such unorthodoxies and contrariness aren't a fixture in every publication. Maybe I'm twisted, but I adore disagreement. Politically I'm pretty far to the left yet I rarely read progressive blogs and columns and have come to nearly detest primetime MSNBC (its check-the-boxes progressivism, that is; and such wretched Obama-boosterism as "Rev. Al" is, for a cable news network, beyond contempt).
Sorry. I drifted a bit. I mostly just wanted to note the intersecting, crisscrossing trajectories of Sullivan, Hitchens, and the Iraq war--and the indispensability of the intellect's beautiful, grotesque freedom.