Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Vacancy at the Marriott

"Faith is the surrender of the mind; it's the surrender of reason, it's the surrender of the only thing that makes us different from other mammals. It's our need to believe and to surrender our skepticism and our reason, our yearning to discard that and put all our trust or faith in someone or something, that is the sinister thing to me. Of all the supposed virtues, faith must be the most overrated."

Before you shoot the messenger - admittedly a low-risk endeavor for me given the virtual nature of our relationship - know that while I tend to favor the sentiment expressed the words are not mine. Not on my best day. They belong to the always fascinating Christopher Hitchens. He died on Thursday. He had been diagnosed with esophegeal cancer in 2010. At the time he was diagnosed he rather matter-of-factly acknowledged that a lifetime of heavy smoking and drinking had likely played a role in his having been stricken.

He was most assuredly not everyone's cup of tea. In yesterday's Los Angeles Times Elaine Woo wrote, "A swashbuckling opinionator, he loved few things better than a good argument — and he knew how to pick one." Based upon nothing more than anything I have read by him or about him and/or watched about him, I always had the impression that he cared not at all whether you thought him a god or a devil, a sinner or a saint, a genius or a fool. He cared not what you thought but rather that you thought. Thinking, after all, is a good thing.

"It will happen to all of us that at some point, you get tapped on the shoulder and told not just that the party's over, but slightly worse: The party's going on, but you have to leave."

....eventually everyone purchases a ticket for the 3:10 to Yuma.


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