fragments of an attempted writing.

runciman on schmitt on hitchens...

“The blustering, obscene, insatiable, limitlessly restless author of Hitch-22 doesn’t come across as much of a priest manqué, not even a whisky priest. What he most resembles, to an almost uncanny degree, is a particular kind of political romantic, as described by Carl Schmitt in his 1919 book Political Romanticism. . . . For Schmitt, political romantics are driven not by the quest for pseudo-religious certainty, but by the search for excitement, for the romance of what he calls ‘the occasion’. They want something, anything, to  happen, so that they can feel themselves to be at the heart of things.As a result, political romantics often lead complicated double lives, moving between different versions of themselves, experimenting with alternative personae. ‘Reversing one’s position between several realities and playing them off against one another belongs to the nature of the romantic situation,’ Schmitt writes.”
- from here.  I read this in the comments on this thread.

Nonetheless I will long remember my old socially conservative but politically anarchist devout Catholic boss, Tübingen trained, Alexander Dru mentored, and as sober an intellectual as you will ever find, gleefully handing me copies of The Nation in the 90s, exhorting me to read Hitchens' column as the old man walked away chuckling to himself.  Tom was the guy who gave me all of his read copies of the TLS and LRB, and really, more than anyone aside from my parents, taught me how to read.  Hitchens was a clown, a quite deplorable clown in many respects, but as long term readers of mine know - I like clowns, especially wind-up clowns.  So cheers to Hitchens in the afterlife!  May he find even more excitement there...

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