Christopher HItchens

Salman and Laughter

Salman Rushdie–always doing an impression of The Master these days.What’s the last book that made you laugh?

P. G. Wodehouse’s Code of the Woosters” which also contains the speech which Christopher Hitchens (and I) believed to be the greatest anti-Nazi diatribe in English literature:

“The trouble with you, Spode, is that just because you have succeeded in inducing a handful of half-wits to disfigure the London scene by going about in black shorts, you think you’re someone. You hear them shouting, ‘Heil, Spode!’ and you imagine it is the Voice of the People. That is where you make your bloomer. What the Voice of the People is saying is: ‘Look at that frightful ass Spode swanking about in footer bags! Did you ever in your puff see such a perfect perisher?’ ”— Bertie Wooster in The Code of the Woosters (1938)

I should add that more or less everything by Christopher Hitchens makes me laugh. The laughter is what I miss most about the Hitch.

This is from: Salman Rushdie: By the Book in the New York Times Sept. 17, 2015

Hitchens’ review of Wodehouse: A Life by Robert McCrum

P.G. Wodehosue

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Noli timere

Death Montage“Judt, James and Didion are shot through with the element that defines great art: they speak truths that the rest of us recognise but are unable to articulate.”

Mick Heaney, son of Seamus, writes about writing about dying.  Referencing many favourites.

In his book Without Feathers Woody Allen has a line that has become one of his most famous quips: “It’s not that I’m afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” Like all the best humour, the joke is accompanied by a sense of recognition.

It is almost an article of faith for people to say that, far from fearing death, they are reconciled to it. But Allen’s joke hits on an uncomfortable truth. Read more…