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Christopher Hitchens, in His Own Words: His Best Quotes

Posted on the 16 December 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost
Christopher Hitchens, in his own words: His best quotes

Christopher Hitchens. Photo credit: Andrew Rusk,

Polemic journalist Christopher Hitchens, whose biting wit made him a formidable figure in the world of letters, died this week after a year-and-a-half long struggle with cancer. He’s survived by his family, his work, and a vast collection of bon mots. Here are a few of the best:

On pleasure
“The four most overrated things in life are champagne, lobster, anal sex and picnics.” (The New Yorker, 2006)

“Cheap booze is a false economy.” (Hitch-22)

On that “lying, thieving Albanian dwarf”, Mother Theresa
“[Mother Teresa] was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction.” (Slate, October 2003)

On religion
“The Bible may, indeed does, contain a warrant for trafficking in humans, for ethnic cleansing, for slavery, for bride-price, and for indiscriminate massacre, but we are not bound by any of it because it was put together by crude, uncultured human mammals.”  (God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, 2007)

“My own view is that this planet is used as a penal colony, lunatic asylum and dumping ground by a superior civilisation, to get rid of the undesirable and unfit. I can’t prove it, but you can’t disprove it either.”  (God Is Not Great)

To ‘choose’ dogma and faith over doubt and experience is to throw out the ripening vintage and to reach greedily for the Kool-Aid.” (God Is Not Great)

On his career choices
“I became a journalist partly so that I wouldn’t ever have to rely on the press for my information.” (Hitch-22)

On unfunny women
“Why are women, who have the whole male world at their mercy, not funny?” (Vanity Fair, 2007)

On secret desires
“Nothing optional—from homosexuality to adultery—is ever made punishable unless those who do the prohibiting (and exact the fierce punishment) have a repressed desire to participate.”

On US Presidents
“[Giving President Barack Obama the Nobel Peace Prize] would be like giving someone an Oscar in the hope that it would encourage them to make a decent motion picture.”

“The political rhetoric of Obamaism, alas, is even more bloviating at times than Camelot was.” (Slate, 2009)

“[George W Bush] is lucky to be governor of Texas. He is unusually incurious, abnormally unintelligent, amazingly inarticulate, fantastically uncultured, extraordinarily uneducated, and apparently quite proud of all these things.” (On Hardball with Chris Matthews, NBC, 2000)

On Sarah Palin
“She’s got no charisma of any kind, [but] I can imagine her being mildly useful to a low-rank porn director.”

On Jerry Falwell
“If you gave [Jerry] Falwell an enema he could be buried in a matchbox.”

On writing
“Everybody does have a book in them, but in most cases that’s where it should stay.”

On pet ownership
“[O]wners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.”

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