Saturday, August 11, 2007

Hitchens, the Great Literary Critic

Inspired by the absurd choice by the NYTBR to have Christopher Hitchens review the new Harry Potter, Ed Champion gives us Hitch on "Green Eggs and Ham."

I was in the children’s section of a Barnes & Noble in Stanford, Calif., shaking down the dregs from my flask and firing up a cigarette for fortitude when I was kicked out by the employees. They told me that I could not smoke or drink and that I was an evil man for practicing my habits in an apparently sacrosanct section of the store. They didn’t know I was a writer of some note, that I was the Hitch and I could write them all under the table. Literally and figuratively. I then proceeded to berate the idiot behind the counter because it amused me. He could not identify Khruschev, even when I tapped the sad sod repeatedly on the head with my heavy shoe to help him get the hint. He called the police. An arrest and a court appearance later, and I was on the phone with Sam Tanenhaus, seeing if I could write a piece that would pay my bail. He told me that I should write about Green Eggs and Ham. I could write it completely drunk if I liked. I wouldn’t be edited.

Hitch is a parody of himself and, as absurd as it might be that NYTBR might would choose this caricature to give us his self-righteous and self-aggrandising take on the cultural phenomenon of Harry Potter, I find some humor in it. And of course Ed just exploits it all.

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