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Christopher Hitchens, Dirty Old Man


No More Mister Nice Blog poses a question:

According to Christopher Hitchens, what in the world today “stinks — indeed it reeks — of whatever horrible, buried, vicarious impulse underlies kiddie porn and child abuse”?

(a) The ongoing slaughter and displacement of Iraqi civilians.
(b) The bureaucratic hurdles faced by U.S. troops seeking to have their war injuries properly classified as disabilities.
(c) The inability of tens of millions of Americans to obtain health insurance.
(d) The ongoing indifference to the displaced victims of Katrina.
(e) The legal and publicity woes of Paris Hilton.

You knew the answer to that one, just as surely as you know that Hitchens wrote his latest piece while nursing on the Q-Tips he’d used to swab the plastic innards of his last bottle of whiskey.

But as for Hitchens’ professed revulsion to “kiddie porn,” I really can’t offer much more than a simple juxtaposition. Here’s Hitch in paragraph two:

At some point toward the middle of last Friday, it seemed to me, one was being made a spectator to a small but important injustice. Those gloating and jeering headlines, showing a tearful child being hauled back to jail, had the effect of making me feel sick. So, you finally got the kid to weep on camera? Are you happy now?

And here he is in the next bloody paragraph:

I don’t mind admitting that I, too, have watched Hilton [ed. — the previously-mentioned “tearful child”] undergoing the sexual act. I phrase it as crudely as that because it was one of the least erotic such sequences I have ever seen. She seemed to know what was expected of her and to manifest some hard-won expertise, but I could almost have believed that she was drugged. At no point did her facial expression match even the simulacrum of lovemaking.

There are at least 37 distressing images that could be wrung from those two passages, not the least of which is the baffling possibility that Hitchens might have intimate familiarity with the physiognomy (simulated or otherwise) of “lovemaking.”

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