Monday, July 30, 2012

Unhitched: The Trial of Christopher Hitchens

This appears in the latest Verso catalogue, scheduled for publication in November:

Unhitched: The Trial of Christopher Hitchensby Richard Seymour Blistering and timely interrogation of the politics and motives of an infamous ex-leftist.

Among the forgettable ranks of ex-Leftists, Christopher Hitchens stands out as someone determined to stand out. Rejecting the well-worn paths of hard-right evangelism and capitalist “realism,” he identified with nothing outside his own idiosyncrasies. A habitual mugwump who occasionally masqueraded as a “Marxist,” the role he adopted late in his career—as a free radical within the US establishment—had ample precedents from his earlier incarnation. It wasn’t the Damascene conversion he described. His long-standing admiration for America, his fascination with the Right as the truly “revolutionary” force, his closet Thatcherism, his theophobia and disdain for the actually existing Left had all been present in different ways throughout his political life. Post–9/11, they merely found a new articulation.

For all that, the Hitchensian idiolect was a highly unique, marketable formula. He is a recognizable historical type—the apostate leftist—and as such presents a rewarding, entertaining and an enlightening case study.