Friday, 16 December 2011

Being Dead

This being dead lark. What's all that about then? I'm informed by the internet that Christopher Hitchens, a well known polemicist and advocate of the illegal invasion of Iraq, ceased breathing earlier today and is consequently held by many, to be 'dead'. As a direct result of his respiratory failure, I am £16.45 better off. (I sold two copies of books what he wrote today.) I am also informed by the internet that his ceasing to breathe is a 'sad' thing. Much weeping and wailing has passed across my screen today. And that's where I become perplexed. Let me try to explain my perplexedness.

My job, insofar as I have one, is to make books available to people who want to read them. I confess, I engage more with the end user than I do with the creator. Which is not to say I am not enamoured of, often in love with, and a little bit envious of those who have sorted their lives in such a way that enables them to write them. It is also true that the point of books is to write them, not read them. However, most writers I know, want their books to be bought and to be read. (Adjust the order as you will.)

I have no idea of the current ability (or otherwise) to breathe, of the people who wrote the text in the books pictured here. What I do know is that I learn about the death of authors by a spike in thier sales. Christopher Hitchens fucked with at least two of my friends. He wont do again because he is 'dead'. What he will do, is be read by more people this week than last. And he's not in any position to complain about that. BTW. George Whitman died on Wednesday. If you don't know who he is - Google him.


  1. Interesting thoughts in your blog Sebastian, but in a way, the phenomena of posthumous revival of interest in, and posthumous fame, in this writer's works, and life is characteristic of all writers,artists, composers, etc. They are often sadly more appreciated and better known after they die than in their lifetime. I have to admit I did not know much about him until I heard his death announced on the news and a resume about him. In away it could be argued that he is "undead" as now he is living on and being re-surrected by his curious readers!

  2. He wholeheartedly supported Bush's bloody Iraq quagmire and I for one can't get past that. A smart man - but only sometimes, it seemed.