Hitchens' Last Words: 'Capitalism, Downfall'
Friends gather for memorial to controversial writer
By Mark Russell, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2012 5:58 AM CDT
Late writer Christopher Hitchens from 2004, participating in a panel discussion ('U.S. and Iraq One Year Later : Right to Get In? Wrong to Get Out?') at the 9th Annual LA Times Festival of Books.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Intellectuals and celebrities from Salman Rushdie to Sean Penn turned out yesterday for a memorial service in New York for notorious writer Christopher Hitchens, who died last December, reports the Guardian. "He was an auto-contrarian: he contradicted himself as if he felt the only person really worth arguing with was Christopher Hitchens," said Martin Amis. Tweeted Stephen Fry: "Many gathered here to say goodbye to the Hitch. Sitting behind Sean Penn which makes me a little nervous. I speak 23rd. Helluva lineup …"

But Hitchens himself got some of the biggest laughs of the memorial, thanks to an 11-minute video compilation put together by Oscar-winning documentary maker Alex Gibney—which you can see at Vanity Fair. As for Hitchens' last words: On his last day, Hitchens tried to write something by hand, but could produce only scribbles, so said "What's the use?" and fell asleep. A couple of hours later, he woke up and said, "Capitalism. Downfall," repeated the words upon request, and died a short time later, writes Andrew Sullivan at his blog The Dish. "In the end was his beginning," adds Sullivan. (Click for more details on the memorial.)

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Showing 3 of 36 comments
jm313
Feb 26, 2015 1:10 PM CST
I don't believe he said this. I think it is a lie because in 2001, Hitchens told Rhys Southan of the libertarian "Reason" magazine that he could no longer say "I am a socialist". Socialists, he claimed, had ceased to offer a positive alternative to the capitalist system. Capitalism had become the more revolutionary economic system, and he welcomed globalization as "innovative and internationalist", but added, "I don't think that the contradictions, as we used to say, of the system, are by any means all resolved."
trailmix
Apr 24, 2012 11:20 AM CDT
Capitalism died when Corporations took control of the Economy.
brucke
Apr 22, 2012 4:42 PM CDT
Seems odd to have been thinking about capitalism. When you are in pain and nearing death, with all your loved ones around you, very odd.