24 June 2007
Christopher Hitchens, the pundit/polemicist, is on a book tour promoting "God is not great." http://www.amazon.com/God-Not-Great-Religion-Everything/dp/0446579807
Anyway, the morning after Bloomsday, June 17, I went to the elevator down the hall from my fourth floor room. Floors, by the way, are numbered at the Morrison in what I gather is typical European fashion. You can't safely walk onto the street from the "first floor," because it is what Americans call the second floor. So the fourth is the fifth.
Anyway, there was someone waiting by the 'vator. I walked in, and this somebody asked my not to press any button. So I gathered he was holding it for somebody else, and I shrugged.
The wait wasn't long. The fellow I sort-of-recognized as Christopher Hitchens walked in, and his 'vator-holding flunky walked in behind him. The latter fellow presses the button for the ground floor, and we're off.
Now I'm in a quandry. I don't want to say: "You look a lot like Christopher Hitchens" to this fellow. If he isn't, he replies, "oh, I get that a lot" with a tired voice, and I feel unnecessarily stupid.
If he replies, "Yes, that's who I am," then I suppose I'd have to say something like: "I've never read any of your books, but those columns you write for Slate are certainly spirited." But I'd again have to anticipate some tired/withering sequel. I could imagine him turning to his flunky to say, "You see? I can't even get away from them for a brief holiday!"
So I said nothing, and my brief story's three characters descended to the ground floor in nearly complete silence. Flunky said something about "when we're supposed to be there," and famous person grunted.
Twenty-four hours later, while I was waiting for a cab to take me to the airport, I glanced at a newspaper and saw that, yes, Christopher Hitchens had been in Dublin over the weekend to promote his book and take part in a debate with a theologian associated with Trinity College.
So, Chris, if you happen to read this:
1) the fellow in the lift with you that day wasn't really a mute
2) it's good to see a fellow "Christopher" make a mark in the world
3) i've never read any of your books, but those columns you write for Slate are certainly spirited.
Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.