Farewell. The Flying Pig Has Left The Building.

Steve Hynd, August 16, 2012

After four years on the Typepad site, eight years total blogging, Newshoggers is closing it's doors today. We've been coasting the last year or so, with many of us moving on to bigger projects (Hey, Eric!) or simply running out of blogging enthusiasm, and it's time to give the old flying pig a rest.

We've done okay over those eight years, although never being quite PC enough to gain wider acceptance from the partisan "party right or wrong" crowds. We like to think we moved political conversations a little, on the ever-present wish to rush to war with Iran, on the need for a real Left that isn't licking corporatist Dem boots every cycle, on America's foreign misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. We like to think we made a small difference while writing under that flying pig banner. We did pretty good for a bunch with no ties to big-party apparatuses or think tanks.

Those eight years of blogging will still exist. Because we're ending this typepad account, we've been archiving the typepad blog here. And the original blogger archive is still here. There will still be new content from the old 'hoggers crew too. Ron writes for The Moderate Voice, I post at The Agonist and Eric Martin's lucid foreign policy thoughts can be read at Democracy Arsenal.

I'd like to thank all our regular commenters, readers and the other bloggers who regularly linked to our posts over the years to agree or disagree. You all made writing for 'hoggers an amazingly fun and stimulating experience.

Thank you very much.

Note: This is an archive copy of Newshoggers. Most of the pictures are gone but the words are all here. There may be some occasional new content, John may do some posts and Ron will cross post some of his contributions to The Moderate Voice so check back.


Friday, December 16, 2011

In Memoriam: Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011

By BJ Bjornson

Still a bit of a shock to wake up to the news this morning despite knowing the man�s condition.

The influential writer and cultural critic Christopher Hitchens died on Thursday at the age of 62 from complications of cancer of the esophagus. Hitchens confronted his disease in part by writing, bringing the same unsparing insight to his mortality that he had directed at so many other subjects.

In part, the shock was due to how active he remained until the end. Over at RD.net, they had just linked to a preview of an interview Hitchens had done with Richard Dawkins, which mentions his trip to Texas a couple of months ago to pick up the Freethinker of the Year award. The Vanity Fair piece on his passing notes the numerous articles he completed for them this year. He just never quit.

Recent days have also brought to light some of the more annoying religious figures gloating over Hitchens� pain and hoping that he�d renounce his atheism at the last minute, something he'd been dealing with since the announcement of his condition and something it seems a lot of non-religious folks have to go through in our society. Hitchens already had an answer waiting for them, and I don�t mind sharing it once again.

In the end, Hitchens remains a quite polarizing figure, even to myself. His cheerleading for, and unapologetic defense of, the Iraq War is something I am not going to forgive him for. He bears part of the blame for that mess and that shouldn�t be forgotten.

And it is certainly true that on the subject of religion, Hitchens could be quite abrasive, and while my own preferences on that subject didn�t often match up too well to what Hitchens would have to say, he remained one of the most able debaters of the subject for atheists in the world right up to the end. He will be missed.


  1. I didn't much care what he said about religion and thought it just one of his avenues for demonstrating a particular style of being a so-called public intellectual, aka, in the 21st century, a person who can express at least 1 clear thought. I guess we know what will be on Charlie Rose tonight, eh: a package of fawning sentimental shlock re the great man. I don't think there will be the out pouring of horse shit seen when the likes of Tim Russet kicked the bucket which was brilliantly caricatured by Lewis Lapham in his essay Elegy for a Rubber Stamp http://j.mp/truZ3D as Hichens wasn't as obviously obsequious to the reigning imperium as the so-call journalist. It would be nice for a change to have a realistic assessment of the popinjay who gleefully celebrated genocide as part of la mission civilisatrice http://j.mp/unwTnI . I don't expect it. I expect endless old wives' BS re respect for the dead etc. etc. . His epitaph should be in the negative likely. Something along the lines of: "... not a major creative talent, but a scrappy linguistic boxer, primarily interested in the vainglory of winning arguments and debates." [ Source: Why Christopher Hitchens Doesn't Matter - http://j.mp/ubiJIV ]
    I think I'm cranky this morning.

  2. What he said about religion is probably the best example of where he wasn't obsequious to the reigning imperium. Challenging the popular conception of Mother Teresa and standing up for Salman Rushdie when so few were willing to are places where he stands above most journalists and where what he did actually did matter. That he was far from a saint does not diminish those times and places where he showed courage and conviction.
    But no problem with being cranky. Argument is where the man lived, and his views remain polarizing enough to cause more than a bit of crankiness even in those who respected him. I suspect there will be more than a bit of selective memory among his supporters and detractors in the coming days as a result.

  3. Just a quick follow re C.H. death Counterpunch Alexander Cockburn has written down his not too flattering remembers of Hitchens - http://j.mp/rOYIuz . The ultimate measure of the guy will be whether anyone other than his family will remembers him for any length of time and whether any of his writing ever again be reproduced. Oh should have added that Cory Robins has pegged C. H. as a narcissist which has displeased some who viewed him as a great man & maybe a genius: http://j.mp/sSpE24