Saheli*: Musings and Observations
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
 
Why Christopher Hitchens Ticks Me Off

Because he's a smart man fully capable of logical arguments, emprical thinking, and the precise use of evidence, but he's too proud of his cleverness by half, ruining it all. From his latest anti-anti-Iraq-war screed in Slate:
Come to think of it, what happened to the loud and widespread demand that gays be allowed to serve in uniform? Surely that was not just a Clinton-era campaign to be dropped in favor of gay marriage at just the time when the country needed troops in Afghanistan (generally agreed) and in Iraq (much disputed)?I don't intend a taunt in the above sentence (it's more of a tease, really, as well as a serious question to which I have heard no answer), but I resent the taunt that is latent in the anti-war stress on supposedly uneven sacrifice.
I'm not quibbling with his basic argument; I basically agree with his main principle, with some qualifications. But this snide throwaway set of lines is really pathetic. Who exactly is he asking? His clever set of literary dinner party companions? Has he conducted a scientific poll of the American gay community? Because I'll tell you right now, Hitch dahling, from my vantage point that demand is still damn loud and angry.

Perhaps he hasn't heard that Columbia University recently voted to keep ROTC off campus because it feared that the don't-ask don't-tell policy conflicted with its own policy of non-discrimination. (Intel-Dump has a great batch of posts on the topic here.) Or the efforts to appeal the Solomon Amendment which requires law schools taking federal money to allow military recruiters on campus despite an institutional objection to the policy. Right now Technorati has over a 1000 posts listed for the search "gays in the military," so even excludingthe most recent layer of a dozen or so posts that are ticked off at Hitchens like me, that means the blogosphere is very much discussing the issue. San Francisco's Board recently passed a resolution about the issue. Over this last Pride weekend, all over the country veterans protested the current policy, for example here. I put all that together in a few minutes. How long would it have taken for Hitchens to get his answer out of the Web?

It's exactly this kind of imprecise description by implication and muddy use of evidence that should appall Hitchens, who likes to think he is the standard bearer of George Orwell. The snide "teasing" of an insinuation will be fuel for a number of lame readers who want any excuse to nod to themselves and think that gays are cowardly and run in times of war. The sad thing is that these extraneous 80-odd words, more than 5% of an already bloated-for-Slate column, should have been edited out by Slate's normally tight and clean standards. It's the magnitude of respect that Hitchens has earned--his journalistic capital--which allows him such leeway, and he's squandering it.
 


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Saheli Datta started this when she was a journalism student at Columbia in New York. Now she lives in the Bay Area. *Old people call me R. New people, call me Saheli. Thanks! My homepage. Specifically, my links. Email me: Saheli [AT] Gmail [dot] Com

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Blogs I Read (Or Try To)
113th Street
american footprints(Nadezhda & Praktike)
ANNA's Diary
Apartment Therapy
Armchair Generalist
Back To Iraq 3.0 (Chris Albritton)
Dave Barry
The Bellman
Mine's On The 45 (Brimful)
Campaign Desk (CJR)
ChennaiCentral
ClimateBoy
Combing the Sphere
Crooked Timber
Daily Dose of Imagery
The Daily Rhino (Bong Breaker)
Dark Days Ahead
The Decembrist
Brad DeLong
Atanu Dey on India's Development (Deeshaa)
Daniel Drezner
Ennis
Ephemera
Cyrus Farivar
Finding My Voice
Forsv
Neil Gaiman
Ganesh Blog
Geeky Chic 2.0 (Echan)
Geomblog
Green Ink!
Heliolith
Alexandra Huddleston
Iddybud (Jude Nagurney Camwell)
Indeterminacy
India Uncut
InSpiteOfEverything
Intel Dump: Phillip Carter et al
The Intersection (Chris Mooney)
Jesus Politics
John and Belle Have a Blog
Mark A. R. Kleiman
KnowProse (Taran Rampersad)
1Locana
Maenad (Nori Heikkinen)
Scott McCloud
Mind Without Borders
Electrolite: Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden
Corey Pein
Political Animal(Kevin Drum, formerly Calpundit)
Kevin G. Powell
QuakeHelp (South Asian Quake)
Radiation Persuasion (Nick)
Reneebop
Rhinocrisy
Scott Rosenberg(Salon.com)
Rox Populi
Felix(&Rhian)Salmon
samVaad
Nick Schager
Idea Spout: Daniel Sanchez
Sepia Mutiny
Amardeep Singh
Snarkmarket (Robin Sloan & Matt Thompson)
South-East Asian Earthquake and Tsunami Blog
SreeTips: New To Sree
Steprous (Bear)
Robert Stribley
Subjunctive.net:klog
Talking Points Memo: Joshua Micah Marshall
Tech Policy
TiffinBox
A Tiny Revolution
To The Teeth
TreeHugger
Unfogged
VatulBlog
Venk@
Manish Vij
Vinod's Blog
War and Piece
Nollind Whachell
Wonkette
WorldChanging
Matthew Yglesias:Old
Yglesias:Tpmcafe
Zoo Station:Reuben Abraham
Ethan Zuckerman
Zwichenzug



Some Categories

Blogs focusing on policy, politics, and national security:
Armchair Generalist
Back To Iraq 3.0 (Chris Albritton)
The Decembrist
Brad DeLong
Daniel Drezner
Eschaton(Atrios)
Green Ink!
Iddybud (Jude Nagurney Camwell)
Idea Spout: Daniel Sanchez
Informed Comment: Juan Cole
Intel Dump: Phillip Carter
The Intersection (Chris Mooney)
Irregular Analyses
Jesus Politics
Mark A. R. Kleiman
Liberals Against Terrorism(Nadezhda & Praktike)
Political Animal(Kevin Drum, formerly Calpundit)
Talking Points Memo: Joshua Micah Marshall
War and Piece
Wonkette
Yglesias:Tpmcafe

Photo Blogs
Daily Dose of Imagery
Ephemera
Alexandra Huddleston
Radiation Persuasion (Nick)
TiffinBox

Columbia Journalism Folks
Apartment Therapy
Back To Iraq 3.0 (Chris Albritton)
Campaign Desk (CJR)
Ranajit Dam
Cyrus Farivar
Alexandra Huddleston
InSpiteOfEverything
Corey Pein
Nick Schager
Zoo Station:Reuben Abraham

Literature, Fiction and Entertainment
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Electrolite: Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Scott McCloud


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