January 22nd, 2013

Baby and me

Catching up on 2012, Part 1

Publication!

Reviewing Christopher Hitchens' Mortality

 

P.T. Barnum is alleged to have said, "There's no such thing as bad press, so long as they spell your name right." But what is one supposed to do when the press is good, but the spelling is not?

Shoot the messenger, bite the hand ... and toot one's own horn, I guess. So damn the clichés and full speed ahead.

I suppose I would better have done all of the above when I first got my complimentary copies of the magazine in the mail back in December, but illness and the press of other business got in the way of proper self-promotion.

Those copies made for a sort of early Christmas present, but signed with an insult (presumably unintentional).

 

Or, as the old joke goes, I found good news and bad news in my mailbox.

Since I am one who prefers his misery lessened rather than his happiness punctured, that's how I'll tell the (brief) story.

The bad news was that Humanist Perspectives magazine thinks my first name is spelled GeoffEry, not GeoffrEy.

The good news is, its Winter 2012/2013 edition contains my review of Christopher Hitchens' post-humus meditation on living with the cancer that led to his death, Mortality.

(And, perhaps karmically, though the ultimate E and R are reversed in my byline and the table of contents, both my name and my website address (that's www.ed-rex.com folks!) are exactly right inn the two-line bio below the essay.)

I won't pretend it isn't gratifying to see some of my work in actual (paper) print again. 2009 was a while ago.

But, though the Winter issue of Humanist Perspectives</a> is still the current issue and can still be found on better newsstands across Canada, I think it's time to share the work with the rest of the world.

The full text (very slightly modified from its magazine publication) lives behind this link. And you guys are first in line.

_______

This entry was originally posted at http://ed-rex.dreamwidth.org/249419.html. Comment there using OpenID, or here as per normal.

Baby and me

Review: Mortality, by Christopher Hitchens

The last word on the last words of Christopher Hitchens

Mortality keeps atheism's faith, but falters in the delivery

 
The Winter 2012/2013 issue of the magazine Humanist Perspectives published my review of the late Christopher Hitchens' last book, Mortality.

Naturally, all of you who can find a copy at your local newsstand should rush right out and buy a copy of the magazine before it's gone forever.

But for those who won't (or can't), I have now posted said review on my website.

The TL/DR version is this.

Mortality's eight brief chapters are typical Hitchens. Often caustic, sometimes thoughtful, occasionally even moving, Hitchens' uncompromising look at his affliction with cancer has some lovely moments. The chapter on intercessory prayer (there were Christians praying for the recovery of the outspoken atheist, but at least as many were praying for his death and subsequent eternal torture in the Lake of Fire) is particularly strong. Even in his last days Hitchens remained an entertaining and sometimes even moving polemicist. But he was by no means a deep thinker.

Too often, Hitchens takes the easy road, scoring cheap points and relying on his delivery, rather than rigorous thinking, to make his argument. In his introduction, Vanity Fair's Editor, Graydon Carter, notes that Hitchens, awash in scotch, could bang out a serviceable column in an hour. A rather impressive feat, but one wonders what the man could have accomplished if the words hadn't come, quite, that easily to him.

Cut short by his death, Christopher Hitchens might have been better served had these final essays been left to the impermanent pages of back issues of Vanity Fair or the more permanent, but less tangible, archives of the internet.

As always, comments here or on my site are more than welcome. Was Christopher Hitchens a hero, a villain, or just another too-erudite and too-emotional Englishman who loved a good fight almost as much as he enjoyed his cigarettes and liquor?

The full review lives at ed-rex.com/reviews/books/hitchens_mortality.

This entry was originally posted at http://ed-rex.dreamwidth.org/249605.html. Comment there using OpenID, or here as per normal.

Baby and me

The Joy of Trains!

On the dole, and other magnificent obsessions

(Canadian man really loves trains!)

Some people think Man was put on this earth to pray, others to work, and still others, to tell one another stories.

I think, at least for some of us and for some of the time, our purpose is to play. And that's not such a bad thing.

This morning, allow me to present to you, a man who spent 40 years tape-recording radio programs, and one who has built a full-scale model VIA Rail car in his basement. (I'll leave it for you, the reader, to assign significance to the fact that both men claimed to have wonderfully understanding wives.)

The full story lies behind the link (of course).

This entry was originally posted at http://ed-rex.dreamwidth.org/249894.html. Comment there using OpenID, or here as per normal.