Archive for the ‘Henry Kissinger’ Category

The Diminishing of Christopher Hitchens

March 14, 2015

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A foundation has recently announced that it will be handing out an annual journalism award named after Christopher Hitchens. One of the judges for this award will be Christopher “Thanks, Dad!” Buckley, so you know beforehand that this will be yet another meaningless award that we can all safely ignore.

I stopped paying attention to Hitchens back in 2001, when he wrote that the 9/11 attacks gave him a feeling of “exhilaration”. (Katha Pollitt rightly called this “childishness”.) At the time, I made the naive, but nonetheless reasonable, assumption that everyone else had done the same thing. I gradually became aware that I was sadly mistaken about this. (Personal disclosure: I never met Hitchens, but he once spat a cigarette at a friend of mine.) Hitchens became a noisy advocate for the illegal invasion of Iraq. In spite of this, Hitchens is greatly admired today, but he is admired for the wrong reasons.

Hitchens’s most important work is also his least influential: The Trial of Henry Kissinger, in which he convincingly argued that Kissinger is a war criminal and possibly a traitor as well. Today, Kissinger is widely feted, and he even makes appearances on comedy shows. When an anti-war group recently interrupted Kissinger’s testimony before a Senate Committee, Sen. John McCain called them “low-life scum”. McCain apparently doesn’t mind the fact that he spent six years in a North Vietnamese POW camp because Nixon and Kissinger prolonged the Vietnam War. Such forgiveness is truly touching to see. (This same McCain once said that he wouldn’t mind if US troops were in Iraq for the next 100 years. This is masochism as foreign policy.)

According to Vanity Fair: “… the foundation intends both the prize and the award ceremony to celebrate and draw public attention to the values that marked Christopher Hitchens’s life and career…” What it will actually celebrate is the moral bankruptcy of our society.

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Why I’m Glad That ‘The Colbert Report’ Has Come to an End

December 23, 2014

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Stephen Colbert is a talented guy who has often made me laugh, but I must admit that I’m glad his faux-news show has come to end. On his final show, one of Colbert’s guests was Henry Kissinger. This was Kissinger’s second appearance on the Report. Earlier this year he appeared in a comedy sketch with Colbert. So, Colbert has had the rare distinction of doing comedy with a war criminal.

This shows us the limitation of Colbert’s approach to political satire. Through it, politicians come to be seen as simply funny people who say and do funny things that Colbert gets to poke fun at. What gets lost sight of here is that these people make decisions that hurt other people. And Kissinger made decisions that caused unimaginable suffering.

I wish Colbert good luck with his new talk show. I just hope that he leaves political satire to people who actually care.