Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Christopher Hitchens & Stalky-ism

I included Christopher Hitchens in today's lecture on Martin Amis as one of the Oxbridge set who affect a clotted prose, a cult of dipsomania and a sneering anti-conservatism that is well-reflected in their posed photographs.
No-one -- very truly, no one -- is seemingly at greater remove from Kipling and Stalky-ism than Hitchens. Indeed, Hitchens is a formal
advocatus diaboli for the Roman Catholic Church - he has argued with customary fetid relish (and, a pert paradox, equally customary lack of taste) that Mother Theresa was a monstress.
Yet in
this article published in today's UK Daily Mail, Hitchens responds to 7/7 -- like an aging and decrepit war-horse catching the sound of a bugle -- with an identifiably Stalky-esque patriotism; unwitting testimony to that model's durability.

We shall track down those responsible. States that shelter them will know no peace. Communities that shelter them do not take forever to discover their mistake. And their sordid love of death is as nothing compared to our love of London, which we will defend as always, and which will survive this with ease.
"This we learned from famous men,
Knowing not we learned it.
Only, as the years went by—
Lonely, as the years went by—
Far from help as years went by,
Plainer we discerned it."

[Rudyard Kipling: "Dedication"]

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