December 10, 2009

Please, let me remember to use this Christopher Hitchens rhetorical device.



I love it!

36 comments:

Robert Cook said...

Hitch looks drunk in this video.

lucid said...

He always looks a bit drunk, but his thought and speech give no indication of this. I do think "flaying" is the right word to capture the sense of what he is doing to Wright here.

vbspurs said...

Hitch ALWAYS looks drunk (largely because he is).

Incidentally, I wish I could use his rhetorical device when responding to this Canadian article suggesting that, due to environmental concerns, the world should institute China's one-child policy.

A world where girls would barely exist.

Cheers,
Victoria

Ron said...

The other day I had a sort of dream that Victoria was really Nigella Lawson...and here she is! Hi, Vic! ;)

Patm said...

What is he saying? A gay nun couldn't make the case better?

I listened three times. What is he saying?

Chris said...

That was a classic of my ex-wife. Infuriating and unbeatable.

chuck b. said...

Yeah, what is he saying? It's 2009. Speak American, for crying out loud.

Brian said...

I'll watch the video, but to respond to Vbspurs as Nigella :)

Got any recipes for the holidays? Something to go with chocolate chip chili, perhaps?

AF said...

Hitch actually looks half dead.

peter hoh said...

Wright's earnestness is nicely matched by Hitchen's ennui.

Victoria, fwiw, sex selection in this country tends to favor girls.

c3 said...

Context please!

peter hoh said...

C3, the context button is here.

Salamandyr said...

For some reason I can't get the embedded bit to play. Which part are we referring to, the one where he lets Wright say exactly what he wanted to say, and then refuses to argue it, just letting it sit there, sort of glistening in its stupidity?

Henry said...

My favorite quote is this from Hitchens: "Irony is a word that is very precious to me."

Kirk Parker said...

"A world where girls would barely exist."

But Victoria, think of how your own value would rise!

</modest_proposal>

Henry said...

Hitchens is quite right to point out that Wright Agonistes postulates a world in which moral action is impossible.

Listening to Wright's virtuous buck-passing is apt to turn me to Machiavelli for respite. And I sometimes even agree with him.

Synova said...

Oh, what is Hitchens going to say about International Law.

I'm at that part. I don't believe in International Law in any form.

Salamandyr said...

Wright's argument seems to be "the murderer's are culpable, but it's our fault."

He assigns us all the blame for the harm he sees, but gives us no credit for the harm our actions averted.

Heir to the Throne said...

I started dicounting all of Bob Wright's argument since he has never retracted his ACORN talking point that turned out to be completely false.
"They tried it in Philadelphia and this woman turned out to be the picture of integrity and called the cops on them"
Caught on Tape! Media Matters Totally PWNED - Truth Deficit for ACORN's

Henry said...

...I sometimes even agree with him

With Wright that is. And, in diagnosis if not remedy, Machiavelli.

Wright is at his best at the very end, to paraphrase: You're always thought-provoking. You provoke many things in me and thought is among them."

Wright sounded shrill throughout this session, but he retains the ability to be quite wry and always civil.

Synova said...

I wonder how much he feels his own insistence that the terror tactics ARE our fault contribute to the continuation of those tactics?

No one would blow up ANYTHING if they weren't assured that the end result would be condemnation, not of themselves, but of their enemies who made them do it.

This is the whole point of terrorism. That is the essential central tactic of terrorism.

Look what you made us do!

And to the extent that anyone supports that terrorist tactic they are contributing to it. What works is repeated. Look at the response in Spain? Madrid was bombed and people killed and what did Spain do?

Is this different somehow from what Wright does?

rhhardin said...

Wayne Booth, English Prof and Dean of the University of Chicago (fund raising and riot control), in Modern Dogma and the Rhetoric of Assent (search for "reduplicating", p.8-9), on student protests then ongoing,

At one point things got so bad that each side reduplicating broadsides printed by the other side, and distributing them, in thousands of copies, without comment; to each side it seemed as if the other side's rhetoric was self-damning, so absurd had it become.

The chief effect is to destroy trust.

It's a teenager's trope.

jgm said...

Modern D and the R of A! Great stuff. His "The Rhetoric of Irony" would also be appropriate here.

wv: shirph. I'm shirph Hitchens was drinking wine there, so it was funny, when Bob asked him how he was, he said, "It's too early to tell." Love the Hitch.

HT said...

He does look half dead, but at the same time a very young half dead. The man's nearly 60 or is 60 or 65. I don't know.

Pretty bad BhTV.

Kansas City said...

Can someone tell me what Hitch said?

I like Wright because he sometimes combines his liberal nuttiness with dry humor and honesty.

Joe said...

Can someone tell me what Hitch said?

That he was content to let Wright's statement make his [Hitch's] point.

Hitch makes the argument that [mostly] liberal argument of moral equivalency is bogus and rather than make claims as to what liberals say, he lets a died-in-the-wool liberal make the exact kind of moral equivalency argument he was talking about.

* * *

A: You and your ilk always claim this is red when it's clearly blue.

B: I never said it was blue, it's red.

A: I say no more.

AST said...

If he's arguing that religious extremism proves that God doesn't exist, he's wrong. Most religions weren't instituted by God, or if they were, they've long since become the vehicle for men using them for power and privilege. Hence, we guaranteed freedom of religion but outlaw establishment of religion. To the extent that Islam demands the latter as Sharia law, it's incompatible with our constitution, as is any religion that justifies murder and denial of rights recognized by our laws, such a free speech, equality before the law, etc.

That being said, Hitchens has the better of this debate. Even Obama acknowledged today that we have to oppose evil in the world with force.

Wright whiny complaint that he's been unfairly accused of blaming America, shows his intellectual shallowness. His arguments would certainly leave us helpless in the face of those who want to destroy us for fear that defending ourselves might have unforeseen and violent results.

He should stick to writing. His voice and manner of speaking gives him a Barney Fife quality that is quite unconvincing.

PatCA said...

I think he said, "Again, I'm very happy to let you..."

Synova said...

There were two things, I think...

Once was that Hitchens said that some people blame the United States instead of blaming the people who set the bombs. Wright denied the *blame* but said it was caused by our actions.

And then as a sort of example to counter Hitchens argument that other people groups suffer far worse and *don't* set bombs, so how can it be these events that are to blame -- Wright said that not everyone who smokes gets cancer but do we say that smoking doesn't cause cancer?

IIRC, in both cases Hitchens "conceded" the argument and thanked Wright for saying so.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

...sex selection in this country tends to favor girls.

Well, they're certainly what I select.

traditionalguy said...

That was the most complete beat down that I have ever seen. Hitch made Wright look like a panicked intellectual that wants to set a false assumption of facts and argue from that, but he runs into a smooth user of the real facts and reasoning and is smashed. Hitch is really a highly skilled debater.I still like Wright because he has been nice to Althouse, but the man is inept and helpless when he meets a skilled debater.

John Lynch said...

Man, I like Hitch. It's as if Orwell still lives. And I don't even agree with him about much of anything. What I like is his refusal to be nudged away from reality, to stick to what should be obvious.

And if he's drunk, I want some of what he's drinking.

Synova said...

It helps, I think, that Hitchens is *right* about what he was arguing. Certainly he's not right about everything but in this he is.

Even if Wright was right and Hitchens was wrong, however, Hitchens has the nicer voice to listen to, even if he didn't have the cool accent.

It's an entirely unfair thing, but a baritone is nicer to listen to than a tenor.

vbspurs said...

Hey Ron, Peter, and Kirk! Thanks for the shoutouts. ;)

I have to say, regarding the woman imbalance, it's a bitter pill to swallow for a woman who prefers the company of men to that of my own sex.

Not that I would like to be surrounded by a sausage factory, though.

Cheers,
Victoria

sonicfrog said...

My favorite Hitch quote? A reference to George Allen, then running for congress:

“By all means, stupid people should be represented, but not by stupid people.”

Ver Word: maritch - the new term for legal / ordained gay relationship status.

sonicfrog said...

Victoria, there was a line in an old Kevin Gilbert song (there will be few new ones, as he's dead) that went something like this:

"I hate the women who hate the men who hate them back".