About Me

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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019); AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021); and HOW WE BECAME POST-LIBERAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOLERATION (2024).

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Judge for yourself

Here's Richard Dawkins' piece on Christopher Hitchens which got him (Dawkins) labelled as an "hysterical" writer by Mark Vernon.

I don't see the hysteria. I see some snark. I see some passion. I see carefully controlled variations of tone - with plenty of wry humour (some of it just a bit bleak or bitter) that then segues into solemn praise for a man whom Dawkins clearly respects and admires. Is there just a touch of hero worship, as in the reference to Hitchens' Richard-Burton-like voice? Perhaps. Is it really out of place in the circumstances? Well, judge for yourself. But look, Hitchens is fucking dying. Dawkins' friend is dying.

For my money, it would be petty, even churlish, to complain about anything in Dawkins' short piece.

Really, has Vernon no decency? No compassion? Does he have no humanity?

1 comment:

Ophelia Benson said...

But you see, he said critical things about two popes. What could be more hysterical than that? Hysterical and, quite frankly, deeply wicked.