A Fascinating Interview With Christopher Hitchens On His Cancer Diagnosis
Hi everyone. To my regular readers, no, you're not going crazy. Though I left the publish date on this post as Thursday night for reference purposes, it actually didn't go up until late Friday morning. A headache sent me to bed right after the show. Anyway. Bullet points, yes?
Update: extended interview:
- I gotta say, except for the field reports which are usually pretty interesting, I'm totally bored with 360's immigration coverage. Don't get me wrong, I'm loving this week's new version of Anderson Cooper (he actually challenges people!), but overall in studio I'm just not feeling the coverage. It no doubt has as much to do with the format as it does the subject.
- Joe Johns' piece on the nun killed by the drunk driving illegal immigrant was sad. Yet I can't help feeling like all the attention is just an attempt to brand all of those here illegally as dangerous criminals. There are, what, about 11 million or so illegal immigrants in the U.S. right now? We're going to compare them all to one guy? (And yes that guy is a criminal and should be deported.) Personally, I'm way more upset he was driving drunk (something many, many citizens do regularly), than I am about his immigration status. Your mileage may vary, but even as someone who once got an ambulance ride to the hospital because a probable illegal immigrant (no license, didn't speak English, driving a family member's truck--but the cop never returned my calls to confirm his status) totaled my car, I still can't get up in arms over this. The guy that hit me wasn't driving drunk. Though I was furious at him, accidents happen. People almost hit me all the time; he just happened to succeed.
- Below is Anderson's interview with Ken Cuccinelli, attorney general for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Of note is our anchor stating Cuccinelli gave a press conference regarding this week's legal opinion, which led to a minor freak out from the attorney general: "Whoa, whoa, whoa. I didn't -- oh, no, no, no. I didn't have a press conference over this. We just issued an opinion." Heh. That part, by the way, is cut out of the below video.
- I don't have the video for the interview with Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez. That guy really likes Anderson's name! And he goes on and on and on. Anyway. Of note was Gutierrez on the 14th amendment controversy: "You want to end illegal immigration? Leave the mothers that haven't had their children alone. You're the ones that say to us that you're for the sanctity of marriage. You're the ones that say to us that you're pro- life. You're the ones that say, let's care for the unborn." I'm tired of the hypocrisy. So many so-called Christians want to throw these people out--people who have been here for over a decade and now have a life here--without another thought. Where's the compassion?
- The 911 call made by Omar Thornton, the Connecticut shooter, was beyond creepy. I'd guess there's mental illness at play, but that's just speculation.
- The interview with Christopher Hitchens about his esophageal cancer diagnosis was fascinating to watch. It touched on issues not normally talked about, and certainly not talked about in such objective terms. In full disclosure, I'm not really a Hitchens fan (though, obviously, I'd never wish cancer on the man). I'll probably never forgive him for his support of the Iraq war. It wasn't just that we merely had opposing views; it was that he was such a dick about it. Of course, so was Andrew Sullivan and I've mostly gotten over that--sorta. But whatever. Also, though I know he's a bit of a hero to my side regarding his views on religion, I've always considered him simply the opposite of a fundamentalist Christian. It may not be a strong comparison--there are probably nuances to be argued, but I've never understood such certainty.
- It was a little surprising to me that both Hitchens and Anderson fear dying the way their fathers died. Is this common? I too lost my dad to a heart attack (only 48), though I've never particularly feared that happening to me--not over everything else anyway. I was also surprised at Anderson's surprise that people have websites devoted to praying for Hitchens to suffer and die. Clearly he's never skimmed the comments on Youtube. Yes, people can be horrible.
- I didn't know Hitchens' mom committed suicide. How sad that she tried to call him. On a related note, while I certainly don't believe you can have closure (a word Anderson clearly hates) with a suicide or even a heart attack, I do think there are some deaths that arrive as a relief after a long and well-lived life. In those situations I think you can have closure. I guess I'd say I've experienced both.
- To his credit, Hitchens isn't letting a cancer diagnosis shake is principles. He'll remain an atheist until the day he dies. And if you hear differently? Don't believe it. (Video below.)
Update: extended interview:
- Below is some reporting from Phil Black (not the piece run on 360) regarding Naomi Campbell's testimony before the special court for Sierra Leone. She was allegedly given blood diamonds by former Liberian president (and war criminal) Charles Taylor. But forget about those war crimes, people. Think of Naomi. This is all so inconvenient for her!
- Following Phil's piece, we were joined by photojournalist Tim Hetherington, who has previously done shoots with the 360 crew. He's relevant to this story because he worked on the documentary "Liberia, An Uncivil War." This is the segment where we get to the meat of the issue. Kinda sad we needed a supermodel hook to get us here, huh? But hey, you do what you have to do. I'm glad we got the story.
- Anderson: "Tim, I digress for a moment. The fact that Naomi Campbell is testifying that it's a big inconvenience for her is so moronic and offensive a statement. I'm not surprised it came out of her mouth, given what I've been told about her by other people, but that she so readily admits it and admits she never heard of what a blood diamond was. If it's a true statement, she's a bigger fool than I thought." No, don't hold back, Anderson. Tell us what you really think. Heh. He didn't say anything we all weren't already thinking.
- Also of note is Tim correcting our anchor that, no, he hasn't actually met Charles Taylor. That's the second mistake like that tonight. Misspeaking by Anderson (understandable) or shoddy research (less so)?
- As stated previously on this blog, I'm fascinated by stories of social networking. But Randi Kaye's report was just...well, duh, you know? Be careful what you post online. Also? I don't understand Foursquare. People who use that seem to be asking to be stalked.
- The show was okay. I think they'll probably get a ratings bump for the Hitchens interview. Well, maybe. I'm not sure about his mainstreamness. Sometimes I confuse the blogosphere/Twitter as the real world and it's so not. Anyhoo, happy weekend.