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An afternoon with Hitch.

Many years ago, before celebrities came to /r/IAMA, we went to them for our unique reddit crowdsourced interviews. I was giddy to learn that thanks to some favors from Conde Nast, we secured an interview with Christopher Hitchens, arguably one of the most brilliant rhetoricians of our time. Watch it here: http://blog.reddit.com/2010/01/christopher-hitchens-answers-your.html

He met us at the door with a drink in hand (it was before noon) and warmly welcomed us into his home. We brought sandwiches and a bottle of Johnny Walker Black. After the interview, Christopher impishly asked me and +Erik Martin if we could keep a secret (of course!) and invited us into another apartment next door that he used as an office.

Both his home and this workspace were covered with books and papers; the former had more bookshelves than furniture, whereas the latter looked more like a professor's messy desk had been the inspiration, with cigarette butts everywhere.

We drank, smoked, and debated -- well, I tried to. He's even more charismatic in person than on stage or in videos, even when he's infuriating you. But when you're in accord, there's no one more compelling with language.

I first encountered his work at the Strand many years ago, Why Orwell Matters, because I was deep in Orwell at the time, but I finished it curious to learn more about the author than the subject. I've read nearly all of his work since.

I'll never forget those few hours together. Thank you, Christopher. We'll miss you.



My friend +Zach Weiner has a great point about paying tribute to him: http://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/newng/mrweiner_smbc_pays_tribute_to_hitch/c38jg6h
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…on a side note, it is good to know the founder of my favorite website (well, the one I spend the most time on) is a fan of my favorite bookstore.
 
I was sad to see Hitch go, but it warms my heart to see people like you pay tribute to the great men that proceeded you. I wasn't a fan of all of his views, but I loved the passion, wit, and intelligence he put behind them all.
 
After the boozy lunch Alexis and I spent the afternoon stumbling back to our hotels barely able to safely navigate the wide DC sidewalks. Christopher finished up an article for Vanity Fair.

I remember him criticizing our entire interview technique, and offering advice to the reddit community on how to ask better questions.
I remember him narrating the history of various buildings that could be seen form his apartment window, including an office building built during the Cold War by the KGB, which had a great vantage point over the city. I also remember him talking earnestly about one of the greatest joys in his life was being able to see old friends of his who were political prisoners finally freed. I also remember his wife jokingly warning us (since we were clearly enthralled by him) not to try to imitate him to closely...With a wry smile she said something like, "I think one of him in the world is enough." The world will miss him.
 
So… what was that advice? I think it might come in useful sometimes…
 
Thanks for posting this little memory. I can't possibly describe how jealous I am.
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