December 17, 2011

Christopher Hitchens explores the history of the...

... blowjob. ("The three-letter 'job,' with its can-do implications, also makes the term especially American.")

And here's his classic "Why Women Aren't Funny." ("Women have no corresponding need to appeal to men in this way. They already appeal to men...")

And here's that time he subjected his body to all manner of fancy spa treatments. ("I also take the view that it’s a mistake to try to look younger than one is, and that the face in particular ought to be the register of a properly lived life.")

All of these links come from this collection of Hitch-links at Vanity Fair.

It's so sad to have lost Hitchens! From that 3d link, above:
[M]ost of my bad habits are connected with the only way I know to make a living. In order to keep reading and writing, I need the junky energy that scotch can provide, and the intense short-term concentration that nicotine can help supply. To be crouched over a book or a keyboard, with these conditions of mingled reverie and alertness, is my highest happiness. (Upon having visited the doctor, Jean-Paul Sartre was offered the following alternative: Give up cigarettes and carry on into a quiet old age and a normal death, or keep smoking and have his toes cut off. Then his feet. Then his legs. Assessing his prospects, Sartre told Simone de Beauvoir he “wanted to think it over.” He actually did retire his gaspers, but only briefly. Later that year, asked to name the most important thing in his life, he replied, “Everything. Living. Smoking.”)
By the way, Jean Paul Sartre was way funnier than Simone de Beauvoir.

18 comments:

Psychedelic George said...

"In order to keep reading and writing, I need the junky energy that scotch can provide, and the intense short-term concentration that nicotine can help supply."

That's pretty darn sad. He didn't need either to be creative.

ricpic said...

A sense of humor is incompatible with practicality. Ergo fewer women than men are funny.

Jules Aimé said...

"By the way, Jean Paul Sartre was way funnier than Simone de Beauvoir."

I'll take your word for that but a Sartre vs de Beauvoir joke off is sorta like the infamous David Bowie vs Lou Reed fistfight,you wouldn't watch either with high expectations.

DADvocate said...

Whereas with a man you may freely say of him that he is lousy in the sack, or a bad driver, or an inefficient worker, and still wound him less deeply than you would if you accused him of being deficient in the humor department.

Pretty much true.

Moose said...

I don't know why, but Hitchen's death has really affected me. I suppose he was probably the person I would have most wanted to spend an evening with ("the ruined table) and will now never get the chance to.

Sad.

John M Auston said...

J -

But he was right ( as he often was) about Mother Theresa, right?

edutcher said...

The irony is that a woman with a sense of humor appeals to men that much more.

Most women see themselves as being in competition with all other women and take almost everything as life or death serious.

They also remember every little thing. Most guys can't tell you what they had for breakfast.

The Crack Emcee said...

By the way, Jean Paul Sartre was way funnier than Simone de Beauvoir.

So. They were still a couple of disgusting, fool-headed, users. Though perfect representatives for their country and people, nothing for an American to admire there. The world would've been a better place without either, in my estimation. It's time we tore such losers down from their thrones.

And I say that even though I consider my reading of Sartre to be quite important to my adult thinking,...

HT said...

Hitchens was perfect for Washington. He probably could not have thrived as well anywhere else, though I know he did live in NYC. He seemed to come into his own here, something that does not happen to many people,and speaks very well of him. (Also credit to CSPAN.)

He was perfect for DC in that he led with his thoughts. DC is such a head place. Although we do have some very beautiful churches, and some religious people who do excellent 'charity' work, it is hardly a religious city. I tend to think his prattling on and on about religion (I did not pay it a whole lot of attention, some, yes) would not have gotten as much play elsewhere over the long term, even in NYC. Yes, he traveled to colleges around the nation, did radio shows in the South and whatnot. But for people to sustain the level of interest (incredible to me) in his message of atheism and attacks on religion, probably could not have happened anywhere but here.

The Crack Emcee said...

Psychedelic George,

"In order to keep reading and writing, I need the junky energy that scotch can provide, and the intense short-term concentration that nicotine can help supply."

That's pretty darn sad. He didn't need either to be creative.


It's not just about being creative - he also said it made him happy. I, too, feel best when I'm at my work, buzzed by it and whatever, totally "in the zone." That's how the best work is produced, the height of creativity.

I think it's "sad" to live in a society determined to eliminate higher achievement, in favor of being "healthy" mediocrities producing little of true worth, when we know none of us are going to live forever to begin with.

Save your pity. In this area of life, it, too, is a waste.

viator said...

A partial list of notably writers who drank (a lot).

Raymond Chandler, John Cheever, William Faulkner, O Henry, Tennessee Williams, Dylan Thomas, Dorothy Parker, Edgar Allen Poe, Truman Capote, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, Carson McCullers, Kingsley Amis, Brenden Behan, Malcolm Lowey, John Steinbeck,
Stephen King, Jack Kerouac, Eugene O'Neill, Sinclair Lewis, Czeslaw Milosz

Mary Beth said...

I'll bet on Bowie. He used to cover his mouth when he talked, then he got his teeth fixed. He's going to want to protect that investment.

chuck b. said...

Of the many Hitchens quotes that have turned up recently, so far my two favorite are:

1. "The four most over-rated things in life are champagne, lobster, anal sex and picnics."

2. Regarding Jerry Falwell, "If you gave him an enema you could bury him in a matchbox."

William said...

Thanks for an informative article on blow jobs. I always wondered about that reversion of the inversion. I thought it a kind of euphemism which made it a very strange figure of speech. How many crude terms for sex acts are euphemisms? It turns out that blow job is a contraction of the Victorian term "below job"....Likewise I did not know that the rest of the world considers a blow job as the quintessential American sex act. Be flattered. He's not calling us cocksuckers. He's praising the quality of the dental hygiene and appearance of American women.

CyndiF said...

Save your pity. In this area of life, it, too, is a waste.

+1

Ann Althouse said...

"The four most over-rated things in life are champagne, lobster, anal sex and picnics."

You could have them all on one occasion.

Meade said...

"You could have them all on one occasion."

I suppose. But it would have to be a very open-minded lobster.

Chip S. said...

By the way, Jean Paul Sartre was way funnier than Simone de Beauvoir.

bfd. That's a low bar.

Albert Camus, OTOH, was fuckin' hilarious. Don't believe me--believe Amazon.

(Yes, that's via the Althouse portal.)