(here's hoping blogger doesn't eat this again...)
Christopher Hitchens' temper tantrum on Maher's show has now been widely reported. The blogosphere is atwitter about the what. But nobody seems to be talking about the why.
I have two different takes on this. First is the "Under the Volcano" hypothesis. Hitch was once one of the most talented writers around, and an exceptionally skilled debater. The last thing you would have expected in a context like "Real Time" would be to find him at a loss for words.
I have absolutely no personal knowledge as to the truth or falsity of the stories about his alcoholism. But it does seem to me that when Christopher Hitchens resorts to the panic button of the slow and inarticulate, something has gone very much awry.
The other way of looking at this is in tandem with Ann Coulter's meltdown on Faux a few days earlier. When Coulter was called on her absurd assertion that things were going "swimmingly" in Afghanistan, she was unable to respond.
Hitch's participation in the ACLU-NSA case to the contrary, he has been a stalwart defender of the Adminstration's increasingly indefensible foreign policy. Coulter has been indefensibility personified. Yet this week the string seemed to run out for both of them -- the contradictions and cognitive dissonances overwhelmed their baser fears and instincts, belief was suspended, and their voices fell silent. I remember seeing Bill Kristol have a similar moment a few weeks ago -- when he was called on his alternate-universe worldview, he was reduced to gobsmacked silence.
I predict we are going to see a lot more of that as Bushworld continues to unravel.