September 17, 2005

Hitchens v Galloway on Democracy Now!

You can see the whole debate on the Democracy Now! website. The most non-political point that I could make here as that as the evening wore on, Hitchens's accent grew more American and, well, strange. At times he was almost singing his words. In his opening statement he sounded his normal public (that, in the UK, is posh) school self. But listen to the whole thing. I'm guessing he was drunk. Many leftists have been dismayed and angered by Hitchens's conversion from some kind of libertarian leftist to an apologist for the Bush regime. He even praised the US authorities handling of New Orleans in the wake of Katrina. I'm actually finding it painful to see his self-destruction. It doesn't, for me, invoke a political parallel. To me it looks like Paula Yates (the late Mrs, or was it Lady? Geldoff) sinking deeper into heroin and alcohol addiction and ultimately death. That what he's doing. Hitchens is dying a death. Galloway, by contrast, was on vintage form. He even managed to suggest that US policies in the Middle East were in some way to blame for 9/11 and 7/7. Much of the audience hated him for it but that is simply testimony to his courage. I'm actually listening to Hitchens now. He is denouncing Galloway as having cashed on the "oil for food" programme. He is asking "how can he show his face here?" This is the man who requested the debate in the first place. What a shmock, or shmuck if you're in America.

If you listen to or watch this, compare it with the Finkelstein/Dershowitz debate. As Finkelstein refrained from interrupting Dershowitz's opening remarks, no matter how outrageous, so Galloway refrained from interrupting Hitchens's opening shots. Now compare Hitchens's conduct through Galloway's opening with Dershowitz's response to Finkestein's opening remarks. Just as Dershowitz kept on interrupting Finkelstein, so Hitchens interrupts Galloway until Galloway objects.

I'll update this later because there are various links that one might want to visit to firm up on this or that detail mentioned by Hitchens and/or Galloway.

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