Monday, August 16, 2004
“I DON’T KNOW ... WAS I ALREADY DRUNK AT THE TIME?”:
Before we head off for the corporate wilderness retreat over the next couple of days (i.e., no blogging), we refer you to this Steve Gilliard post about Christopher Hitchens, his recent reaction to the “dry drunk” theory of George Bush, and most importantly what that reaction says about Hitchens himself.
Unsurprisingly, it’s that Hitchens has a drinking problem that he either hasn’t realized, or has and thinks he can handle and doesn’t need any help. But he has a problem nonetheless.
We’ve made light of this in the past, as have too many others shocked and dismayed (but probably not) at what Hitchens has become in the 21st century. But we did go back and read his VF piece, and Bisbort has it right: Hitchens clearly felt the arrow hitting close to home, and lashed back. His rationalizations and defenses of W. (see? He wasn’t really drunk that time (with the subtext that he, of course, would know what really drunk was. See? How can you be a dry drunk and a wet drunk at the same time (spoken like someone who’s fallen off the wagon so many times he can’t even tell the wagon and the ground apart anymore). See? Tony Blair supported the war too and he doesn’t drink) are in line with what alcoholics in serious denial say about themselves. We can hardly wait for the letters in response to this column.
He also tries to explain away what he presents as the strongest evidence that Bush has not tamed his drinking: the pretzel and bike incidents. We’ll grant that the bike flip was maybe just an accident; but his explanation for the president flipping pretzels is just absurd: another drunk story.
He ignores what some of us consider highly suspicious in this light: Bush’s hajiirah on 9/11 (he takes at face value his own assertion that Bush resisted the temptation to put one down that day; never mind the long absence from the cameras; his distracted, unfocused demeanor when he did briefly talk to reporters at the AF base in Louisiana and Cheney’s apparent use of a dubious rumor about another jet targeting the White House to keep him away from Washington. A long wait for the president to sober up is not at all inconsistent with everything that happened to Bush that day that we know about) and his delay in speaking to the nation about Saddam’s capture last December and apparent spaciness when he finally did (as Quiddity Quack adroitly noted at the time). Again, more signs that the alcoholic Hitch is really defending is the one he sees when he shaves every morning.
Back to Gilliard, who ends this with a call for Hitch’s friends — and we know who one of them is — to do the right thing.
Now, I like to drink. I drink a lot less than I did, but there was never a day I needed to drink. The same is not true for Hitchens. Oh, he uses it as a prop. but everything about the man says he's a drunk. Sloppy, angry, and fueled by booze. Oh yeah, his hatred of AA, to which more than one person has suggested he check out. Personally, I think he needs to go to Betty Ford before his kidneys or liver give out. He’s cut maybe a decade off his life with his drinking, maybe two.
It’s a shame he doesn't have the courage to live a sober life. At least George Bush knew he had to stop drinking or lose his family. Of course, he didn’t do it honestly, or intelligently and replaced it with religious mania, but at least he tried to stop seriously. Hitchens, sadly, never has. He continues to drink to the point of comedy, defends his alcoholism in a way which is sad, because it draws on his former talents. Imagine how good he would be if he were sober and could think clearly? But he isn’t. Only his enablers keep him from sleeping in gutters. They hire him, they pay him and they watch him commit slow motion suicide.
If Hitchens had any real friends, they would do an intervention and get his ass to Betty Ford and force him to confront his bullshit. He’s a pathetic drunk, a sad drunk. How can you tell? One of the things about drunks is that they rage against AA, against help, since they don't have a problem.
We’re sure Sullivan has heard that line many times.
posted by Sully 8/16/2004 12:35:00 AM