Middle-aged porker of the right

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Sep 26 07:07:57 MDT 2002

Christopher Hitchens Quits the Nation

By Lloyd Grove
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 26, 2002; Page C03

After two decades at the Nation magazine, toiling with increasing
alienation and discomfort in the vineyards of the Left, Washington-based
Brit journalist Christopher Hitchens is giving up his biweekly column,
"Minority Report," and quitting the paleoliberal journal of opinion.

With a typically Hitchensian drum roll and flourish, he announces his
abrupt departure in the column that went to press yesterday. In it, he
recaps his post-9/11 support for President Bush's war on terrorism and Al
Qaeda, and offers a rationale for military action against Saddam Hussein --
both extremely unpopular views in the Nation's New York offices.

"This is something more than a disagreement of emphasis or tactics,"
Hitchens writes. "When I began work for the Nation over two decades ago,
[founder] Victor Navasky described the magazine as a debating ground
between liberals and radicals, which was, I thought, well-judged. In the
past few weeks, though, I have come to realize that the magazine itself
takes a side in this argument, and is becoming the voice and the echo
chamber of those who truly believe that John Ashcroft is a greater menace
than Osama bin Laden. . . . In these circumstances it seems to me false to
continue the association, which is why I have decided to make this
'Minority Report' my last one."

Yesterday editor Katrina vanden Heuvel said she's sorry to see Hitchens go.
"It has been a relationship of 20 years, and a rewarding one, and we regret
that Christopher is leaving," she told us. And what if Hitchens changes his
mind? "Yes, he'd be welcomed back," she replied.

But that seems unlikely. Hitchens, who was traveling and unreachable
yesterday, has been the bane of loyal liberals everywhere since
then-president Bill Clinton's 1998 impeachment trial, when he provided
Republican House staffers with an affidavit against Clinton aide Sidney
Blumenthal, a once-close friend, alledging perjured testimony.

"I suppose Hitch's departure has been inevitable ever since the Weekly
Standard said he was more important than George Orwell," said another
once-close friend, Nation columnist Alexander Cockburn, who dubbed Hitchens
"Hitch the Snitch" over the Blumenthal episode. "I think it was becoming
increasingly bizarre for the Nation to publish his column. But people only
very slowly take in these changes, much like Dorian Gray changes slowly in
front of you. Hitch is no longer the beautiful slender young man of the
Left. Now he's just another middle-aged porker of the Right."

Louis Proyect

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