News Comes in Threes
Though I’m somewhat more moved by the loss of Paula Hyman, an historian with a different, but no less real type of bravery, and wonder whether we shouldn’t already be moving on to the Vaclav Havel memorial posts, I’ll briefly add my one thought to the ongoing internet Hitchens memorial ceremony. If there is one sentence that I will always associate with him, it is the following:
Well, call me old-fashioned if you will, but I have always taken the view that swastika symbols exist for one purpose only—to be defaced.
Perhaps his definition of swastika symbols was, at times, too broad (speaking figuratively, of course); perhaps he was somewhat foolhardy in his willingness to risk harm to others to deface a single poster; but there is something admirable about brash commitment to the truth one sees — especially when it is done, always, while “flourish[ing] my trusty felt-tip.”
You could say, in fact, that some variation on this summarizes the contributions of Havel and Hyman as well as — if not, in fact, more than — Hitchens.