The King's Speech Revisited

February 21, 2011

The movie's screenwriter goes too far in defending his version of history.
By Christopher Hitchens

"Brush even a fingertip against the balloon of Hollywood ambition and prize-mania, and it can burst with gratifying speed, emitting huge gusts of narcissism and megalomania. Ever since I, and one or two others, published some criticisms of The King's Speech, there has been a lovely value-for-money response of outraged ego." Read More (Slate)


Anonymous said...

Oh do please come on Hitchens! Is this really what you choose to write about at this time? You do know that your great pal Tony Blair's great pal is somewhat under the kosh at the moment.

Hitchens relative silence on anything of not these past two months has been pitiful and shameful. He'll rabble-rouse for Iraq and Iran, but nought much else.

Anonymous said...

He's a contrarian.

Steve H said...

What would you suggest he write about?

Brendan James said...

I pretty much agree. I've been extremely excited to hear his thoughts on the radical changes wracking the MidEast but he still hasn't written anything besides those two frothy pieces in Slate.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure christopher has an article or several in the works on the current situation in the arab world. But the situation is an information overload, so I guess he's in the gather stage...

Anonymous said...

his piece on dictatorships and peoples' pride touched very much on that subject. but i'd love to read his thoughts on america's allies' and interests' pollos comin'home to roost..

Anonymous said...

He wrote that one ages ago.

Anonymous said...

He had two personal appearances on the West Coast two days in a row last week, so he may have been too tired in his weakened state to write anything other than a "frothy" piece.

Gareth said...

Firstly, Mr Hitchens writes about a wide array of subjects. It's his choice what he writes about, if you don't like the subject choice, don't read it. Moreover, Hitchens is a republican who has consistently criticized the monarchy. It's not surprising that he should use this opportunity to do so again. I'm sure his feelings on the current uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East will become apparent soon enough.

Anonymous said...

No, it has nothing to do with "tiredness" or a sensitivity to our potential "information overload" (if I hear another fucking word about the Oscars I'll take to the streets). Hitchens has been advocating war against "thuggish and kleptocratic" regimes for many years now ostensibly in the name of human rights and the fight against Islamofascism. Now, that a movement which in good faith can be classed as entirely peaceful, has risen up against "thuggish and kleptocratic" regimes (regimes supported by both the US and the UK, despite their drivel about Iraq and Iran) the Hitch-monster stays silent.

No doubt he is in a damp corner somewhere constructing some smooth-running dialectic to negotiate these rough waters, but the truth is that he was a purblind Janus-faced shill who in no way can square these contradictions.

What a truly disgusting sack-of-shit Hitchens is.

Unknown said...

"who in no way can square these contradictions."

What contradictions?

"the Hitch-monster stays silent."


"Now, that a movement which in good faith can be classed as entirely peaceful, has risen up against "thuggish and kleptocratic" regimes"

If you had put as much effort in explaining your point as you did in crafting your childish insults I wouldn't have to guess what you're trying to say; but if you seriously believe that the situation in pre-2003 Iraq was comparable to that in Tunisia and Egypt not long ago you're a complete moron.

James said...


Heh. Pretty impressive tantrum there, I bet you owe your mom a few apologies.

Your entire whine is based on a fallacy, that Hitchens is obliged to produce an article on the recent mid-east unrest because of his previous statements.

Putting that aside, I'd say it's likely he'll be addressing it in the future. It may even be possible that he's waiting to see how it will play out. If I were to entertain uncharitable ideas about his motives, I might suspect that he's holding off praising the uprisings until he's certain that new theocracies don't spring up, making him (and his commentary) look foolish.

Regardless, I wouldn't take any of that as proof that Mr. Hitchens was a "disgusting sack of shit". Honestly, the way Hitch detractors complain about rabid fanboyism, you'd think you folks could keep your Hitch envy (and resulting rage) down to sub-moronic levels.

X said...

What contradictions?

He's been consistent in in his support of regime change.

Brendan James said...

I've not nothing in common with the guy who just went off on the boring rant—but I do believe its disappointing that Hitch hasn't been talking about what's going on now, whether it's due to is illness or otherwise.

If he's still the same Christopher I'd hope this silence is because he's been feeling ill and not because he's 'waiting for things to play out.' It's not really his job to 'avoid looking foolish,' and I don't think he's ever refrained from writing something for that reason. Polemicists like him stick have to stick their necks out a bit.

Anonymous said...

"Your entire whine is based on a fallacy, that Hitchens is obliged to produce an article on the recent mid-east unrest because of his previous statements."

Not true. My whine was based on the fact, and then only partially, that Hitchens turns out article after article after article about Iran all the while agitating for some sort of Western intervention (implicitly militaristic, of course). He ululates the remarkable successes of the Iraq war without respite. It is a continuous tumbling pile of propagandistic horseshit from him on the issue. Iran and Iraq are the party-line, so he parrots it.

The simple fact of the matter was that in the arenas in which we are now seeing popular uprisings the leaders were much more amenable to American and European interests. Thus Hitchens stayed largely silent. He didn't care much about their human rights - that is a canard to be used only sparingly and histrionically with regard to Iran.

Iran and Iraq were and are still in many respects unspeakably bad regimes, much worse than those currently in the news. You will find no argument from me here. My point, merely, was that rather than cheerlead on and support incremental, popular, and peaceful revolutions in surrounding "thuggish and kleptocratic" states, Hitchens will instead reserve himself for the dirty work of advocating horrific and avoidable wars.

He's a dead-wrong chickenhawk shill.

Anonymous said...

Goodness. Why shouldn't he write about movies if he wants to?

He's not your bitch.

X said...

Support for incremental, popular, and peaceful revolutions does not require much courage or effort. It's nice. It's healthy. But it's also banal. People of good will must assume others support such movements as a matter of course. Who can think Hitchens is opposed to what is happening in North Africa and the Middle East? Penning yet another encomium to the bravery of Arabs who have at last tired of their despots might make the writer, or fanboys looking for affirmation from their hero, feel good. But it would be, at this late date, a useless and vain exercise. Advocating for unpopular muscular action against entrenched and brutal regimes, on the other hand, requires some bravery and hard work. War is bad, you see.

As for writing about Hollywood, consider the publication. Hitchens must have free rein to choose his topics, but Slate is a funadmentally silly website. Besides the occassional contribution from Anne Applebaum, Hitchens is the only Slate writer worth reading. But even he is susceptible to the superficial blather that is Slate's abiding specialty.

Badfuzzy said...

Yeah, I wish Hitch would write something substantial on the middle east situation. And come on, 2 articles on a fucking movie? I thought he didn't even watch movies?!

Rich said...

So perhaps the termites of paranoia have been dining long and well on the Weinstein Co. cortex. A hitherto almost unpunctuated stream of praise and tribute is not enough—the chorus of adulation must be unanimous. This is what comes of immersing oneself in the cult of hereditary monarchy and of seeking to bask in its tawdry glare.

Just enjoy it for what it is, a classic Hitchslap! Mine eyes do swim with the joy of it.

Anonymous said...

CH's forecast does not seem complete as of his article on the uprisings on 1/31/11 (excerpt pasted below). We don't public opinion in many Arab countries (including Egypt), and democracy may end up being a greater disaster than the [possibly] moderate theocratic dictators are/were.

We argued that the supposed attractions of authoritarian "stability" are in fact illusory, since nothing is more volatile and unsafe than dictatorship, which lacks any self-critical method for learning from its mistakes. Earlier "people power" episodes, in Asia in the early 1980s and in Eastern Europe in 1989, as well as in the general repudiation of military rule in Latin America and the peaceful liberation of South Africa, had definitively proved this point. They had also left the Arab regions looking rather conspicuous, and rather backward, in consequence. In the long term, this sense of being relegated to infancy and immaturity has had a salutary effect, which one hopes will outlast the temptations—of the immature culture of self-pity and victimhood, plus the equally false reassurances of theocracy—that are certain to arise now that the period of enforced adolescence is over.

Anonymous said...

"I'd hope this silence is because he's been feeling ill and not because he's 'waiting for things to play out."

Really? You're so upset that he didn't write about the subject you wanted to read about that you hope the reason is that he's SICK?? Isn't that a tad, um....selfish??

Bertie said...

Well, I don't know about all of this. It may well be true that Chamberlina was an appeaser but lets get it right.

The most important re-armaments (for Britain anyway) were of the air defence variety, particularly the fighters Hurricanes and Spitfires. The Spitfire was ready quite late.

Britain couldn't possibly fight the Germans without the French and the French were wobbly to say the least.

Were the Czechs sold out? I guess so and it was shameful but also harldy credible that Chamberlain could have said, "Right Adolf, we're going to do you over!" at Munich.

As for Poland, well there was simply no way that Britain could have fought to save Poland. Just couldn't happen and by that time Stalin was on Hitler's side too.

But Britain went to war with the Nazis and did them over all the same. Remember that Chamberlina was the guy who declared war on Germany after all other avenues had been exhausted.

These days it looks simpler than it probably was back then.

Jeeves said...

The very expression I was about to employ, sir.

Anonymous said...

"Support for incremental, popular, and peaceful revolutions does not require much courage or effort. It's nice. It's healthy. But it's also banal."

Indeed, how very banal! It is so much more admirable and courageous to advocate bloody war from behind a desk in a Washington apartment while knocking back a shoulder of scotch. And it's doubly courageous to then refuse to acknowledge how outrageously wrong you were! Yellowcake!

Brendan James said...

"You're so upset that he didn't write about the subject you wanted to read about that you hope the reason is that he's SICK??"

Yes. Was that unclear?

David Ritchson said...

I've watched the movie and I must say the content and message of the movie is really great. Plus it actually happened.

motivational speaker


Christopher reads from Hitch-22: A Memoir