Having watched writer/critic/polemicist Christopher Hitchens on many a talk show, having read a number of his take-downs (sometimes beautifully constructed, sometimes overkill), I was a little apprehensive a couple years ago when I was preparing to interview him. Hitchens was coming back to The Commonwealth Club of California, where I work as VP of editorial and media, and I had arranged to interview him privately for about 30 minutes before his speech. The interview was slated for my column in Northside San Francisco.
I shouldn't have worried; the event organizer, Kara Iwahashi, told me Hitchens is, in fact, very sweet and easy to work with, easy to speak with. So it would have been a fun and interesting interview, had it taken place.
But it was not to be. Just a day or two before his arrival, he canceled his book tour (including our appearance), and announced that he had been diagnosed with cancer. We certainly hoped to get him back on our stage when he was well enough to do so, but we never got the opportunity. Christopher Hitchens died today, 62 years old.
Give 'em hell, wherever you are.