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Culture & Religion

Christopher Hitchens’s Best Arguments

Writers loathe using cliches like “Orwellian” and “Kafkaesque.” But sometimes, it can’t be helped, especially when you’re Christopher Hitchens getting arrested in communist Czechoslovakia.

He tells a very “Hitchensian” story of trying to avoid referencing Kafka in an article while covering an underground movement in Prague. When the police break up the gathering, and refuse to tell Hitchens why he’s being arrested, the first thing that comes to mind, according to his retelling, is that he now has no choice but to reference Kafka in his article. Orwell and Kafka may be cliches, argues Hitchens, because the Soviet Union and other totalitarian states are cliches. It’s as though they used 1984 as an instruction manual.

To hear this and other classic Hitchens stories in his own words, listen to this collection of some of his best quotes and arguments.

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