The Mideastwire Blog

Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

Hitchens Knows Lebanon Like NO “Armchair Pundit” Can

Bill Keller has a predictably “glowing” account of Christopher Hitchens here. The funny thing is that you know Hitchens’ supposed mastery of all things Lebanon simply MUST come up. Keller does not disappoint, and seems to suggest that because Hitchens is well traveled, he KNOWS his subjects to the bone – apparently forgetting that parachute pundits are perhaps even worse than mere armchair pundits. He says:

“…Let’s begin with the obvious. He is unfathomably prolific. “Arguably” is a great ingot of a book, more than 780 pages containing 107 essays. Some of them entailed extensive travel in inconvenient places like Afghanistan and Uganda and Iran; those that are more in the way of armchair punditry come from an armchair within reach of a very well-used library.”

— I dont know – but perhaps an armchair pundit next to a well used library is more reliable than a parachute pundit who cant or does not care to read what the natives have to say themselves, even on the plane? I rather prefer Gary Gambill, say, to anything Hitchens has ever written on Lebanon.

Then of course, enter LEBANON:

“…His range is extraordinary, both in breadth and in altitude. He is as self-­confident on the politics of Lebanon as on the ontology of the Harry Potter books. He can pivot from the court of Henry VIII to the Baader-Meinhof gang, then stoop to the question of whether fellatio is the quintessentially American sex act. ”

— How marvelous! Doesn’t keller see how dangerous this phrase is – of course hitchens is SELF-CONFIDENT… but that hardly has any bearing on his usefulness in understanding and explaining Lebanon, much less his accuracy and the depth of his insight!


Written by nickbiddlenoe

September 11, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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