It was a tradition I was rather fond of: Once a year or so, like the turning of the leaves, my friend Christopher Hitchens would take aim at something I’d written. His most recent, just pointed out to me by an acquaintance on Facebook, is in the journal Free Inquiry.
Appearing under the less-than-charming title “Jewbaiter,” it attacks an article I wrote in the Weekly Standard about the recent round of Catholic scandals, and it somehow manages to accuse me of . . . well, everything under the sun, but Jewbaiting, most notably.
Ah, me. Christopher’s writing was always over the top, but his hyperbole always used to have at least some tenuous tether tied to reality. He exaggerated wildly, but his exaggerations were at least derived from the text he was attacking.
This, however, is just a plain, old-fashioned misreading. He couldn’t follow the figure I was using, so he lumped it into some handy category and wrote what he would have written if I’d said what someone else would have said if that someone had set out to be a straw man for the use of Christopher Hitchens.
It’s just too sad, and it makes my heart ache. He’s in my prayers.