I often see people attributing the following statement to the late Christopher Hitchens on the topic of Iran:
“As for that benighted country, I wouldn’t shed a tear if it was wiped off the face of this earth.”
This occurs across social media, in comment threads and in news articles.
Now, It would be untrue to claim that Christopher Hitchens never engaged in hawkish rhetoric from time to time, but given that Hitchens had also visited Iran, spoke fondly of it and voiced his solidarity with the Iranian people – I remained unconvinced with the authenticity of this particular quote.
Every attempt to identify a primary source led me back to a book called ‘Unhitched’ by Richard Seymour. This book is what one typically refers to as a ‘Hatchet Job’. Here is the quote as it appears in Seymour’s book (p92):
I’m not even sure what you’d call PZ Myers’s sordid little grief hole over at Freethought Blogs. I just know that it’s utterly dreadful. If you can stomach his callow sneering long enough – and hate yourself sufficiently – spend 5 minutes in the comments section featuring his loyal gaggle of trolls. It will take your face off.
PZ Myers has a habit of publicly disagreeing with the more successful figures in the ‘atheist movement’, which would be fine normally. Disagreement is healthy. It’s just that when PZ ‘disagrees’, he tends to reach for the worst possible smears available to make his point. This behaviour has been going on for years, but has recently been distilled in its most toxic form thanks to his interactions with Michael Nugent of Atheist Ireland. I urge you read about that here.