Hashish, Hitchens, Heaven

  • A friend of mine yesterday told me that her acupuncture doctor herGod_is_guilty_of_everything_2e in Germany plunges needles tipped with tiny balls of hasish into her pressure points.  According to her, "Dr. Wang’s entire office reeks of hashish."  Also, it feels soooo goooood.
  • Ed Philp recently sent me this joke: "A busload of people from different nations arrives at Heaven’s gates.  A sign says "Heaven — turn left.  Lectures About Heaven — turn right." The Germans all head to the right.
  • The fine Spiegel cover story on the "new atheists," which was announced by the classic cover "God is to blame for everything!" (see left), characterizes Christopher Hitchens as the "English Hans Magnus Enzensberger," which seems about right to me.  Both are public intellectuals with a claim to have read everything, both migrated away from the left, both write tartly ironic prose, and both surprised many onlookers by supporting the Iraq war.

5 thoughts on “Hashish, Hitchens, Heaven

  1. I first read the joke in a London Review of Books critique of Fritz Stern’s “Five Germanys I Have Known” (which looks like a good book):

    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v29/n11/laqu01_.html

    It is sort of funny even if it perpetuates a stereotype. The American pendant might be: “As Oscar Wilde should have said, when bad ideas have nowhere else to go, they emigrate to America and become university courses.” (Frederic Raphael)

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  2. “[Hitchens] migrated away from the left”

    No he hasn’t and it’s lazy of you to say he has. The ‘left’ has migrated away from him. His view of the world is still shaped by Marxist categories, he’s staunch in defence of historical materialism, the Enlightenment, democracy, egalitarianism, freedom, fraternity and solidarity with the oppressed everywhere.

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  3. Another joke like the one above, in the category “pedantic, overly organized German,” is this:

    “A German plants seven rose-trees on the north side and seven on the south, and if they do not grow up all the same size and shape it worries him so that he cannot sleep.” (Jerome K. Jerome)

    The underlying message of these jokes is serious enough. They are sub-variations of the stereotype “the fascist German.” Over-reliance on rational planning precipitates a slide into fascism (Adorno, Horkheimer et al.) as exemplified by the disaster of the Third Reich, etc.

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  4. > The ‘left’ has migrated away from [Hitchens]

    True. He’s particularly disdainful of religion, and true to that form this includes Islam. Doing so is a huge no no nowadays in most leftist quarters having discovered the allure of spirituality à la tier-mondiste. Moreover, he’s wilfully neglecting his former friend Edward Said’s furtherance to evaluate things, ugh, Oriental with warm felt empathy only. Here he is debating Chris Hedges, reborn Muslim spiritualist of leftist repute asserting e.g. that Palestinian suicide bombers are “affirming themselves through death.” (*) Yep, the Left discovered eschatology – which is not as fanciful as one should think for true blue Marxists or its cultural variant. Hannes Stein explains what this is.

    “Is God…Great” (does Allahu Akbar ring a bell?) wonders Hamza Yusuf’s Zaytuna Institute, and co-sponsored Chris Hedges’ defence of that bright idea. Islamophobe Hitchens moped the floor with him on that occasion – some say. He shouldn’t do that, provided he cared for the liberal, left and other assorted tribes’s esteem. Granted, even they feel that supporting suicide bombings and outright Islamism is not a good thing–hey, innocents might get hurt!–, however, you’re expected to show some respect and understanding when explaining to your allies when they’re going over the top. Hitchens never feels like it.

    * Here’s a less inflammatory account

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