Christopher Hitchins passed away last night following a long struggle with cancer. To those of us who strive to deliver the written word, his death represents the passing of an iconic figure.

It was impossible to anticipate the next angle that Mr. Hitchins might come after you from. What you did know, almost to a certainty, was that it would be a challenge to your intellect and powers of consideration.

Perhaps a eulogy of Mr. Hitchins could be as simple stated as; “he managed to piss off everyone”. In fact he was rather more often than not pissed off himself; in fact the title of this post would no doubt aggravate him; in his honor, it was carefully chosen. Mr. Hitchins, more than anything else, attacked hypocrisy and the intellectual slavery of low expectations and shallow considerations.

Christopher (don’t call me Chris) Hitchins was invariably courageous in his convictions. A lesser man may have modified his writings in the interest of acceptability, or money; not so Christopher Hitchins. Agree or disagree, there was no backing down. No shrinking from the debate. No apologies! And should you choose to engage the debate; you best be fully prepared.

For me, it is impossible not to say good-by absent a mountain of respect and gratitude. Gratitude for the challenge he always laid before me; to make me think and frequently to make me think differently.

Godspeed Christopher Hitchins, we are the poorer for your absence.