Excersus LXXIII: Whither the Poo
In and amidst all of the confusion of the past few weeks, we lost Christopher Hitchens. This comic is more or less a direct result of the example of personal courage that he set. Prior to him, atheists could be very clever, so long as they were deferential and didn't expect to be treated as, you know, people. Once people stopped the charming habit of torturing us, they permitted our existence, and eventually the public expression of our ideas, so long as we admitted that, in terms of morality, public order, happiness, and so forth, it was best to leave people their ideas, meaning that we ought really to have the good politeness to keep our notions scurried away in journals and books that nobody read. Hitchens changed that - he asserted, and boldly, that everybody had the right to see their views challenged, their bearded tribal elders shown up for what they were. He didn't cringe and mumble out of the side of his mouth when there were children in the room for the sake of decency. Especially where children were involved, he was passionate that, in spite of what Taste might have to say about it, regardless of how awkward it was for everybody to see their religion not treated with kid gloves, that the intellectual freedom of children, their right not to be afraid, is more important than bruised egos. And he fought... oh how he fought. In those debates, with priests baffled that here is a man not playing by the rules, not backing away before any serious damage is done. It was inspiring to see - I had not really been a closet atheist before - but after seeing his example, I knew that it was a cause worthy and fine, and this comic is in part my contribution to that cause. Temperamentally, I suspect that I am more of a Hellenist like Stephen Fry than a firebrand like Hitchens, but I never cease to find him bracing and inspiring. And I'll miss having him around.
- Count Dolby von Luckner