This week Hugh Hewitt spent his entire Tuesday show interviewing Christopher Hitchens. Hitchens is probably most well-known for his 2009 book God Is Not Great, and he recently made news with the announcement that he is undergoing treatment for esophageal cancer.
HH: Now before the break, I mentioned I was going to ask you about the best people you met. This is, in many respects, a memoir of friendship – Martin Amis and Edward Said, and others throughout your entire life. Were they the best people that you knew? Is that who you look back as being the best? Or is it some public figure?
CH: No, I think they were, I mean, for me, there’s a cynical remark made by an Englishman, I think he was Hesketh Pearson, actually, who was a friend of G.K. Chesterton’s, who said a friend is God’s apology for relations. And when I was young, my family was perfectly nice. I write a lot about it, as you noticed. But it was rather limited. I think, I don’t think anyone in my family would really feel I’d done them an injustice by saying that. We didn’t see many people. There were many books. It was as if I wanted to get away from home. And so when I was able to choose my own company, I felt that was a huge stage in my own sort of self-emancipation. And then so friends are family to me.
Hewitt’s interviews tend to be worthwhile reading because of his heavy prep work (a sign of respect for his interviewee) and his willingness to undertake the long-form interview on the radio (a sign of respect for his audience).
This conversation with Hitchens is no exception, and is perhaps even more notable because of the magnanimity and generosity demonstrated by these two men who hold positions at opposite ends of the religious and political spectra.