Todd Martin's Reviews > Letters to a Young Contrarian

Letters to a Young Contrarian by Christopher Hitchens
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's review
Jan 02, 2012

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Read from December 30, 2011 to January 01, 2012

To be a contrarian you have to be prepared to:
"Shun the “transcendent” and all who invite you to subordinate or annihilate yourself. Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and others. Don’t be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. Do not live for others any more than you would expect others to live for you."

Good advice from a masterful contrarian.

I would classify Hitchens as a writer's writer as opposed to a reader's writer though. Meaning .. he writes using literary allusion and with an eye towards the artistic use of language. I find this somewhat of a challenge to read (having a dictionary and the Google handy is helpful), and that it provides an non-trivial obstacle to understanding the author's points.
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