Friday, August 06, 2010

Bonus Quote of the Day


"And it gave a lovely light."

-- Christopher Hitchens, responding to Anderson Cooper's statement, "You've burned the candle at both ends," last night on CNN

7 comments:

Shana said...

That's from my favorite Edna St. Vincent Millay poem!

"My candle burns at both ends
It will not last the night
But, ah, my foes, and oh, my friends,
It gives a lovely light."

Not a bad way to live one's life...

Chez said...

He's so refreshingly literate. it seems like very little to ask, and yet...

ScottyZ said...

Yes, he used the phrase in his piece on his terrible situation in Vanity Fair. Definitely worth a read...

http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2010/09/hitchens-201009

-S

B8ovin said...

As someone who has battled a chronic often fatal disease for the majority of my life, I know what that Anderson Cooper statement was. Families of people who have died too young, or of a disease like cancer, have heard it in one form or another. It is the verbal form of crossing one's self to avoid evil, the "this is what you did and why you got the disease and why I won't. Right?" defense. The one I hear most often is a form of this: "You probably did a lot of drinking before you got end stage renal disease, right?" Accompanied by a hopeful and sympathetic look. I no longer dispute the question even though I haven't touched a drop of liquor since I was 17.

Even I couldn't avoid doing it. While I was attached to a dialysis machine for three years, there was a three week period when four people died in the chairs next to me, including a 16 year old. Also, a 15 year old boy (the brother of the 16 year old) killed himself in that time frame. I obsessed over every way I was different from them and why I wouldn't suffer their fate.

One thing Hitch got exactly right, in the struggle to face mortality when face with the distinct possibility of slow death, those stages of grief boil down to two: I'll do all the medical stuff you ask; and please, if I can't finish during the allotted time (as I used to define it) let me do these few things I need to complete my life.

[I should add that after two kidney transplants I have finally received a diagnosis of what originally caused the failure and am getting treatment for it. I am not currently in the same position I was, and no where near where Hitchens is]

Anonymous said...

Does the article in VF and Anderson's question mean Hitchens is quite likely terminal?

Jen said...

that has been my favorite poem since high school. very heart breaking and apropos usage.

motheralex said...

I think of another source, "And you have burned so very brightly, Roy" Probably getting the quote wrong. Tears in the rain, brother. I have a few students that are slowly learning, and I hope they, too, pass along everything they've encountered, bad or good, to those that come after us.
And my boomstick.