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The New Criterion

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February 2012

Christopher, for better & for worse

by Peter Collier

On the critic, polemicist & raconteur Christopher Hitchens (1949–2011).

After his death, I was struck by how many people used the phrase “my friend” in their remembrances of Christopher Hitchens. It shows how clubbable he was, despite the terrible swift sword he was unable to leave for long in its scabbard, and also how formidable were his seductive powers. Christopher never hid his intention to use people as the surfaces on which he intended to leave a fingerprint, and most of the time he made sure that this impression was a keepsake with lasting value.

My own acquaintanceship with him—it was no more than that—began in 1987 when my friend David Horowitz and I staged a Second Thoughts Conference in Washington, D.C. to provide a forum for former New Leftists who, like us, had resigned from our radical generation and embraced America as the hope of the world rather than its curse. Hitchens had already made his feelings known about such transitions in his brutal attack on Paul Johnso ...

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Peter Collier is the co-founder of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 30 February 2012, on page 13

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Introduction to The Kennedy Phenomenon
Roger Kimball introduces The Kennedy Phenomenon, a conference presented by The New Criterion on Tuesday, November 19.

The Kennedy Phenomenon: "Watching the Kennedy Train-Wreck"
Roger Kimball reads Peter Collier’s paper on oft-overlooked unsavory details of the Kennedys' lives. Much of the paper is drawn from Collier’s book, coauthored with David Horowitz, The Kennedys: An American Drama.

The Kennedy Phenomenon: "The Many Misjudgments of Richard Hofstadter"
Fred Siegel discusses his new book The Revolt against the Masses and the myriad oversights of the historian Richard Hofstadter.