Hitchens hates the Beirut nazis.
February 19, 2009 5:05 PM   Subscribe

In other news: prominent Iraq war supporter and atheist writer Christopher Hitchens caught in street brawl with Syrian nazis in Beirut, Lebanon, after defacing the group's poster with "No, no, Fuck You". The assault occurred on the eve of a lecture held by Mr. Hitchens at the American University of Beirut, on the subject of "Who are the revolutionaries in today's Middle East".
posted by Anything (99 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I bet he wasn't sober.
posted by polyhedron at 5:15 PM on February 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


Prominent Iraq Supporter vs. Syrian Nazi : May the Worst Man Win
posted by mannequito at 5:18 PM on February 19, 2009 [8 favorites]


Man, when you belt Christopher Hitchens in the street, you'd better watch your back. You've just jumped a very long queue.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:20 PM on February 19, 2009 [43 favorites]


It didn't happen in a bar. It happened mid-day on the street. It wasn't a drunken brawl. I have no idea if Hitchens had drank at all,

I wish he would have rhymed the whole post like a Dr. Suess book.

I bet he wasn't sober.

You didn't read the links did you?
posted by P.o.B. at 5:21 PM on February 19, 2009


It didn't happen in a bar.
It didn't happen in a car.

It happened mid-day on the street.
Something something something feet?
posted by dirigibleman at 5:25 PM on February 19, 2009 [6 favorites]


Worth it for link #4's oddly rapt "Arab Lounge" model oozing out of the margins like a disco Fermat.
posted by kid ichorous at 5:26 PM on February 19, 2009


"No, no, Fuck You"

An excellent summary of Hitchens' oeuvre.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:27 PM on February 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


If you get the lady, wait exactly two seconds.
posted by kid ichorous at 5:28 PM on February 19, 2009


Allah, what an asshole.
posted by GuyZero at 5:36 PM on February 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


Dude, the joke ain't "God, what an asshole".
posted by aspo at 5:37 PM on February 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Whoa...who to root for?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:39 PM on February 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


". . .These militias have their own private dungeons. I wouldn't fancy spending time in one of those."

Irony.
posted by nola at 5:40 PM on February 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


It didn't happen in a bar.
It didn't happen in a car.

It happened mid-day on the street.
Something something something feet?



Dude,
The journalists then caught another taxi to a waterfront hotel "to throw them off the scent in case we were followed", although not before Hitchens had "taken a punch to the face through the car window".
I know, it's hard to write rhymes in negatives about a story that has everything. Except a romantic side plot with a Martian pirate princess.
posted by Anything at 5:40 PM on February 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Crap! You're right. Way to murder a joke there.

Take 2:

Mohammad, what an asshole.
posted by GuyZero at 5:44 PM on February 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


And an alternate version of what happened which throws Hitchens's self-aggrandizing retelling into doubt.

I wonder why anyone takes this clown seriously after his aggressive defense of Holocaust denialist David Irving in his libel lawsuit against Deborah Lipstadt. The ugliest bit was when he parroted the lies about the Dresden firebombing in a Vanity Fair article in order to mainstream this talking point of Irving's. He's the last person who should be calling anyone else a Nazi.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 5:45 PM on February 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Which, now that I look at it more closely, is what Ace of Spades said in his post. Or at least the first version, the one he tells after chiding the left-bloggers for getting the story wrong.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 5:57 PM on February 19, 2009


it's my understanding that he got knocked down on the sidewalk and suddenly felt his coat pocket get wet and sticky

"oh, god, let that be blood," he said
posted by pyramid termite at 5:58 PM on February 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dude, the joke ain't "God, what an asshole".

Dude, Allah had no son.
posted by geos at 5:58 PM on February 19, 2009


He had been drinking according to the first link.
"Hitchens had been drinking on Beirut's main boulevard, Hamra Street..."
posted by christhelongtimelurker at 6:05 PM on February 19, 2009


My god. It's like 9/11 all over again.
posted by felix betachat at 6:09 PM on February 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


Prominent Iraq Supporter vs. Syrian Nazi : May the Worst Man Win

Prominent Iraq Supporter AND atheist writer vs. Syrian Nazi : May the Worst Man Win
posted by mattoxic at 6:11 PM on February 19, 2009


Third link says he wasn't drinking, yet.
"Oh, and the errand they were on: Well, they were on their way to a bar. But they hadn't gotten there yet. It was about, oh, 3 or so in the afternoon."
posted by P.o.B. at 6:13 PM on February 19, 2009


Actually, read the Guardian article that was linked and you'll know he was drinking... again.

Hitchens had been drinking on Beirut's main boulevard, Hamra Street, on Saturday afternoon with two other western journalists after attending a rally to commemorate the assassination of the former Lebanese prime minister, Rafik Hariri.

So, he drinks a lunch... as he always seems to do... instead of actually covering all the commemorations, and then he stupidly defaces a political poster of a political party, which, incidentally, was never firmly established as having played a part in the killing of Hariri in the first place, on the singlemost tense anniversary to do such a thing...

As Hitchens described it, "It was a scrape. It wasn't 'honours even' but it wasn't a rout." Clearly, he was fighting himself... and drunk. And offensive. And generally being a disrespectful foriegn prick Christopher Hitchens.

And now Hitchens is going to profit off his stupidity... as per norm. He has intellect, sure, but is completely bereft of the wisdom of his father and brother.

Damaged goods, indeed.
posted by markkraft at 6:13 PM on February 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well the case being that the third link is directly from Hitchens and the two people who were there, I think I'll go with that one.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:18 PM on February 19, 2009


This has happened before.
posted by natteringnabob at 6:21 PM on February 19, 2009


I guess the scales are now balanced Fisk's (self-deserved) beatdown in Afghanistan.
posted by PenDevil at 6:29 PM on February 19, 2009


...he stupidly defaces a political poster of a political party...

I knew the day would come when you would expand your hysterical apologias for terrorists to Nazis. Tried kicking any puppies yet?
posted by Krrrlson at 6:31 PM on February 19, 2009


Say what you will, he's no body's bitch. ok,ok, lap dog then
posted by dawson at 6:39 PM on February 19, 2009


Q: If Christopher Hitchens and Syrian Nazis got in a fight to the death, who would win?
A: Everyone.
posted by Ian A.T. at 6:42 PM on February 19, 2009 [8 favorites]


Given that Hitchens gave the Guardian an apparently exclusive interview, they should certainly know whether he had been drinking or not.

The third link you mentioned actually starts off...
"I wasn't there. But..."

I would suggest that Hitchens wasn't about to immediately suggest to mention to some blogger that he was drunk at the time... indeed, the guy said he didn't know whether Hitchens had been drinking or not.

But apparently Hitchens did know he had been drinking... and he wasn't about to lie about it to the Guardian, who could easily contact the others involved and have a knack for factchecking such things.
posted by markkraft at 6:42 PM on February 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maybe I'm just not familiar with the shorthand, here, but "Iraq war supporter" and "Iraq supporter" just don't seem like the same thing.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 6:44 PM on February 19, 2009


So this is liberalism? Hitchens a cunt so we can enjoy having him beaten up by actual Nazis? He was doubtless more than a bit stupid to engage in poster-defacing unaware of the likely consequences but fuck some party that has to have a permanent watch on its public propaganda and hands out beatings to opponents for graffiti, regardless of whether the accusations about murder-to-order are true.
Should have driven off in the first cab with the one man in it then kicked the shit out of the cunt somewhere safer.
posted by Abiezer at 6:51 PM on February 19, 2009 [7 favorites]


I knew the day would come when you would expand your hysterical apologias for terrorists to Nazis. Tried kicking any puppies yet?

Considering they're not called the "Social Nationalist Party" because they throw really good keggers, and defacing the poster resulted in a beatdown, "stupidly defacing a poster of a political party" pretty accurately sums it up. So ... did you have a point beyond picking a fight?
posted by Amanojaku at 6:55 PM on February 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here's another, critical, account of the lecture and Q&A.

“You asked what it had taken for you and your Kurdish friends to be hanging out at the White House, and even though it was a rhetorical question, I think it has a very concrete answer: hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis. So at the risk of confusing you with Madeleine Albright, I’d like to ask you this: Was it worth it?”

The post contains further links and also mentions the assault.
posted by Anything at 7:01 PM on February 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Think and say of him what you will, but he stood up and said what he thought of a bunch of thugs.
posted by Xoebe at 7:05 PM on February 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


To be more specific, mentions the assault with no cheers at all for the thugs.
posted by Anything at 7:08 PM on February 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes, I read the Gaurdian. Thanks for linking it again though. But you read the first sentence of the blog and didn't see this:
"I wasn't there. I was there, however, for the immediate after-action report, and have heard it told ten times by now, including most of it from Hitchens."
and
"Well, they were on their way to a bar. But they hadn't gotten there yet. It was about, oh, 3 or so in the afternoon. We had downtime between events (which were scheduled around the clock pretty much) and I guess they just wanted to check out a local watering hole."
So by your estimation he was drinking at the convention?

Personally, I could give a shit. Hitchens could be a huge, drunk, pompous ass, as far as I know. I personally wouldn't need a drop of alcohol to write a "Fuck You!" note to some Nazis. (Mental note: Add "piss of some Nazis." to my list of things to do before I die.)
posted by P.o.B. at 7:09 PM on February 19, 2009


Three points to interrupt the schadenfreude:

1) He didn't deserve it, anymore than someone scribbling "No, fuck YOU!" on an Obama poster deserves it. Some people don't think like you, and they can be assholes. The correct course of action is to call them an asshole, and order a new sign.

2) It's all kinds of awesome people on the street came to his defense, not because he's some prick cele-Brit, but because of point 1.

3) The Middle East isn't as savage and starkly black-and-white, cowboys-and-indians as many would have us believe, including the prick cele-Brit.

d) Hunter Thompson tried to spraypaint "Fuck the Pope" on the hull of the Australian boat that finally won the America's Cup away from the Americans. He was also beat up by Hell's Angels. Third rate Hunter clones are much like lemmings, if lemming mass-suicides weren't fakes perpetrated by bored Disney cameramen stuck in Alaska. Fakes seek fake legitimacy, law of nature.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:10 PM on February 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


Christopher Hitchens is a drink-soaked former Marxist popinjay.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:11 PM on February 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh Hitchens, is there nothing you can do that won;t still leave me hating you? Apparently not.
posted by Artw at 7:11 PM on February 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Are the SSNP actually nazis, or even fascists? The linked Wikipedia article calls them right-wing and nationalist, but doesn't go any further than that, and there's a bit of a debate going on in the talk page. Anyone have more complete information?
posted by moss at 7:23 PM on February 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


"I knew the day would come when you would expand your hysterical apologias for terrorists to Nazis. Tried kicking any puppies yet?"

Dear Krrrlson,

Since you have called me a nazi lover, let me just say no, I am not. I find that the most offensive insult you could possibly use against me.

In fact, I find your behavior in your comment to be unwise, ignorant, and intentionally rude, insulting, and divisive, unbefitting any user of this site.

And I will endeavor to explain just why in several key points...

1> I have clearly shown my strong, vehement dislike for national socialists and those who support them on Metafilter before... quite recently, in fact.

2> That said, I also know that even national socialists have free speech rights... and in Syria, they have the right to put up political posters, just like many other political parties.

3> Hitchens apparently admitted to The Guardian that he was drunk, and that he engaged in first arguing, and then fighting himself.

4> He knew the anniversary. He knew the environment. Knew that many Lebanese still consider Syrians to be Lebanon's friends, because when nobody else was willing to help them kick out the Israelis, Syria stuck by them.

5> And yet, when I point out that "(Hitchens) stupidly defaces a political poster", somehow criticizing Hitchens' childish conduct in another country is the same thing to you as appeasing Nazis. Never mind that there is a difference between disaffected, thuggist, yet largely marginalized nationalist punks and Nazis... you conflate them to be one and the same. Maybe in temperment and ideology, in many ways, but as far as judging people by their actual deeds?! You simply cannot compare... Only the Nazis were Nazis. And I tend to be a stickler on judging people first by their deeds, and then by their words, going to great pains not to twist or distort them, if possible. Unlike you, apparently.

6> Hitchens is now, I believe, a U.S. citizen abroad in a foriegn country. I tend to believe, as a general rule, that no Americans should be defacing anything in foreign countries. Why? Because it's questionably legal in many cases, and foolish and inciting in others. It's the kind of thing that the U.S. State Department generally doesn't warn American tourists about, primarily because they expect them to have an iota of common goddamn sense. Instead, Hiitchens was drinking, beligerent, fighting... if he had been arrested, which he certainly could have been given the situation, would we even be having this conversation about whether his actions were stupid and irresponsible?

Gee, I believe in personal responsibility, Krrrlson. And not fighting in public with locals who don't like it when I graffitti up their political posters on highly significant days. Obviously, I love nazis!

And so, I just wanted you to know that you were a complete douchebag to me, and I request that you be a man and apologize for your statements, and promise me I will never hear that crap from you again.

Be a man, Krrrlson.
posted by markkraft at 7:26 PM on February 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


Is the SSNP really a bunch of nazis or do they advocate a fascist form of government? I don't know much about them and wikipedia isn't helping all that much.
posted by Stynxno at 7:26 PM on February 19, 2009


Do you like Beirut Nazis?
Try them, try them, and you'll see!
You may like their brand of hate,
You may like their fascist traits!

I do not like Beirut Nazis,
I do not like them in taxis.
I do not like them where I eat,
I do not like them on the street.

Would you like their poster here?
Would you read it, and drink beer?

I do not like them in a bar,
I do not like them in a car.
I do not like them here or there,
I do not like them anywhere.

You do not like Beirut Nazis?
Could you kick their ass with ease?

I do not like Beirut Nazis,
I could kick their ass with ease.
I do not like their master race,
Their poster I shall now deface.
I do not like Beirut Nazis,
I do not like them, if you please!

Would you, could you, kick their ass?
Do you think you have balls of brass?

I do not like Beirut Nazis,
Leave me alone, please let me be!
I have a lot of work to do,
I must write about my views,
About Obama and Iraq,
How Bush was correct to attack,
And lots and lots of other stuff,
I have no time for fascist toughs!

Here are some more Beirut Nazis,
Perhaps now you'd better flee!

I do not like Beirut Nazis,
I do not like their philosophies!
posted by mattdidthat at 7:28 PM on February 19, 2009 [8 favorites]


Sometimes I love life
posted by The Whelk at 7:33 PM on February 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Do you like Beirut Nazis?
Try them, try them, and you'll see!
You may like their brand of hate,
You may like their fascist traits!


You can also sing this to The Pina Colada Song.
posted by Wolof at 7:44 PM on February 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


At the expense of continuing this stupid argument:

Hitchens apparently admitted to The Guardian that he was drunk

You are wrong. There is a difference between drunk and drinking.
posted by P.o.B. at 7:50 PM on February 19, 2009


Someone defaces a fucking Nazi poster and the membership here isn't all hooray? Hitchens is a provacateur (and an idiot and frequently wrong and a drunk blowhard) but he's right as much as he's wrong, and defacing a Nazi poster makes me respect him that much more.

Tough crowd.

And p.s. drunk blowhard is meant as a compliment.
posted by Keith Talent at 7:56 PM on February 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Hitchens had been drinking..."

When has this not been the case? Seems you could copy/paste that phrase into any article about the guy's waking moments. One wonders when he might get the drift.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:57 PM on February 19, 2009


Doesn't "Nazi" refer to the actual Nazis of Germany, or people who share their ideas of an Aryan master race? Because going just on the wiki article alone, the SSNP doesn't sound like that at all. Their founder believed in a homeland defined by geography; not ethnicity, for example. In fact the article says, "Saadeh's concept of the nation was that it was shaped by geography, not by ethnic origins, language or religion, and this led him to conclude that the Arabs could not form one nation but many nations could be called Arab".

I realize they're right-wing, but does this really make them Nazis?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:04 PM on February 19, 2009


In fact the more I read the stranger the connection to Nazism sounds. The Guardian talks about their flag saying their "logo bears an uncanny resemblance to the Nazi swastika". Yeah, or you could actually look it up and find out the symbol is called a "zouba'a", a symbol that predates Nazism by centuries.

This is an interesting incident to report on as an FPP, definitely, but the "nazi" appellation seems inaccurate.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:15 PM on February 19, 2009


Semantics dude. Hitchens had been drinking ≠ Hitchens was wasted but it certainly doesn't imply any sort of sobriety. Violence and vandalism don't exactly speak in favor of his sobriety...
posted by christhelongtimelurker at 8:24 PM on February 19, 2009


I'm not crazy about Hitchens, but if it's cool to go after Illinois Nazis, I can't fault him for giving shit to Syrian Nazis.
posted by jonp72 at 8:25 PM on February 19, 2009


From the Anti-Defamation League website:
Its ideology, structure and symbols are influenced by the European fascist movements and regimes of the 1930s. While it has adopted some communist elements over the years, Saadeh’s ultra-nationalist ideas remain the ideological focus of the movement.
posted by Anything at 8:26 PM on February 19, 2009


So five minutes later they come across the poster for the Syrian Nazi Party on an abandoned bagel shop — abandoned, if I had this right, after Hezballah had attacked it last year due to the overly Jewish connotations of bagelry.

LOL.

Yeah, or you could actually look it up and find out the symbol is called a "zouba'a", a symbol that predates Nazism by centuries.

Well the Swastika also predates Nazism by a long time too.
posted by delmoi at 8:29 PM on February 19, 2009


Third rate Hunter clones are much like lemmings, if lemming mass-suicides weren't fakes perpetrated by bored Disney cameramen stuck in Alaska. Fakes seek fake legitimacy, law of nature.

I have no idea what this means but I like it.
posted by delmoi at 8:32 PM on February 19, 2009


Well the Swastika also predates Nazism by a long time too.

Well yeah. I'm just saying, right wing ≠ Nazi. Maybe it's just a button with me because I get tired of the overuse of the nazi appellation. They don't seem fond of Israel, no, but their ideology is that of a multiethnic homeland shaped by geography and not ethnic, religious or linguisitic boundaries? I think Hitler would frown upon that.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:34 PM on February 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Rightwing nationalists, basically. They believe in a greater Syria. The people who fought with Hitchens were most likely Lebanese who identify as nationalists of this greater Syria, and not actually "Syrian Nazis", as conveniently described by Hitchens.

Ideologically, they're kind of like a mirror image of the nationalist party that had a strong third place showing in the recent Israeli elections, led by a former club bouncer, who demands loyalty oaths from all Israeli-Arabs and who wants to redraw the borders to kick them out, while absolutely refusing to limit the right to settlement. These dangerous nationalists will soon be part of the ruling government with Likud, it appears.

As might be suspected, neither the Syrian nationalists or the Israeli nationalists in question are particularly nice people, even though they're more alike than not.
posted by markkraft at 8:34 PM on February 19, 2009


After looking through some stuff I would agree, Marisa. But this page with the banner, on the right under the pic of the founder, has little people running and they look an awful lot like a swastikas...? Not incontrovertible truth, but I thought it was odd.

Semantics dude. Hitchens had been drinking ≠ Hitchens was wasted but it certainly doesn't imply any sort of sobriety. Violence and vandalism don't exactly speak in favor of his sobriety...

Oh, for crap's sake, it is not semantics. Like I said I don't give a shit, but that is how nasty rumors start. Maybe like the difference between saying "They are like Nazis" OR "They are Nazis!" And I don't think Hitchens was the one who was fighting, everything says he was running (so you can strike that violence remark also.) The term 'slippery slope' seems to come to mind here.
posted by P.o.B. at 8:41 PM on February 19, 2009


As might be suspected, neither the Syrian nationalists or the Israeli nationalists in question are particularly nice people, even though they're more alike than not.

They should form a Pan-Nationalist bowling team - get the matching shirts, give themselves a corny name like "The Spare Tires" or what have you. That should help iron out their differences.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:42 PM on February 19, 2009


Taking the skinheads bowling is always a good idea.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:46 PM on February 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


But this page with the banner, on the right under the pic of the founder, has little people running and they look an awful lot like a swastikas...? Not incontrovertible truth, but I thought it was odd.

When I did "View Image", the name of that image was "hodoud", and the team Harras Hodoud just won the Egypt Cup football tournament, so I'm guessing the little guys running has less to do with swastikas and more to do with sport.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:47 PM on February 19, 2009


They should form a Pan-Nationalist bowling team

I don't roll on Laylat al Qadr!
posted by kid ichorous at 8:48 PM on February 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


Perhaps a better question to ask is, when is it acceptable for American citizens to go overseas and engage in political statements that break laws and could incite violence or arrest?

Seems to me that it's commonplace for us to feel that organized, non-destructive peaceful American protesters overseas know what they're potentially getting involved with, so if they get roughed up a bit/arrested, well, they knew what could be coming, and chose it...

.. but how should we feel about those who aren't organized, who are drinking, who vandalize, cause a public disturbance, get in fights, and who aren't there to represent or stand for anything in particular, other than themselves?

If they get roughed up a bit or arrested, they're supposed to be respected and excused for their irresponsible behavior and the negative impression they give foriegners of Americans?!

Christopher Hitchens is no f'ing Gandhi. He's closer to a Morton Downey, Jr.
posted by markkraft at 8:49 PM on February 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Now this "hodoud" thing is haunting me. Man, I wish I knew Arabic! Fortunately, there's Google translate, and while the Arabic between the little running guys isn't translated, the portion beneath it seems to be some basic news stories.

C'mon, SSNP, which is it? Football or anthropomorhpic swastikas?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:56 PM on February 19, 2009


What I'm least comfortable with is that while Hitchens goes back to Washington, any locals who were in his company still have to live next to these thugs, who are probably not happy.
posted by Anything at 8:58 PM on February 19, 2009


Every time I watch a WW2 movie I envy the soldiers of yesteryear and their opportunity to kill Nazis. Wolfenstein 3D and Call of Duty just don't satiate the craving. I had no idea there was such a dense concentration of belligerent Nazis in Syria. How do we lure them to America?
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 9:06 PM on February 19, 2009


"I don't think Hitchens was the one who was fighting, everything says he was running"

Actually, Hitchens' account to the Guardian differs from what he told the guy at Ace of Spades, who says that Hitchens and his two guests were messing around for FIVE MINUTES with this one nationalist before the others arrived.

Did they walk away? Did any of them call for help, or pop into one of the nearby businesses and get some help, or call the police? Did any of them call the police or go into one of the nearby businesses? Because this area is near a bunch of fancy hotels and restaurants... and there were three people in Hitchens' party, and only one of these nationalists.

Even Hitchens is pretty clear in pointing out that he didn't sustain any injuries until after the one guy's friends all arrived.

Who wants to bet that Hitchens spent five minutes arguing with the guy, posturing, and being generally beligerent, rather than walking away or looking for a cab immediately?
posted by markkraft at 9:07 PM on February 19, 2009


Without pretending to know the ins and outs of Lebanese politics or pan-Syrian nationalism, if your party has activists watching (and even if they casually notice by coincidence) your posters, spots someone graffiti it then messages a squad of hard men to come and dish out a kicking, I don't care who it was doing the defacing, that makes you scum. I'm not sure what's particularly difficult to parse about this. Maybe different if you'd happened to spot it and reacted on the spur of the moment, but team of goons a phone call away? I am of the view that we should save the term Nazi for the actual historical Nazi Party, but in light of the details available, all seems clear enough to me.
posted by Abiezer at 9:11 PM on February 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


They're no Whig Party, that's for sure.

Maybe this whole bowling scheme was a bad idea.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:13 PM on February 19, 2009


Who wants to bet that Hitchens spent five minutes arguing with the guy, posturing, and being generally beligerent, rather than walking away or looking for a cab immediately?

Well they didn't know the other "goons" were coming to "say hello". In my experience, most people are ignorant of the way violence escalates into fighting. They probably did ague with the guy for awhile. They also tried to get a cab and the man stopped them. We don't have a video or a really detailed account (such as his blood alcohol levels) so we don't really know how went down, other than Hitchens caught a beating which most people here don't seem to mind.
posted by P.o.B. at 9:28 PM on February 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wait, so we can call right-wing nationalists Nazis now? I'm gonna have fun with this one...
posted by heathkit at 10:06 PM on February 19, 2009


Looks like the SSNP has a website... available in English, even.

And look at those cited authors... Gore Vidal? Seymour Hersh?!
posted by markkraft at 10:09 PM on February 19, 2009


Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 10:14 PM on February 19, 2009


"I don't care who it was doing the defacing, that makes you scum."

No doubt, and yet...

"One guy was just telling Hitchens that the Syrian Nazi party . . . was paid by Syria to kill . . . they're the one party you don't fuck with. . . So Hitchens immediately takes out a pen and writes "No, no, Fuck You" on the poster."

I don't care who was doing the fighting, that makes you incredibly unwise.
posted by markkraft at 10:16 PM on February 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


The irony of this is the SSNP is also decidedly non-religious. Them and Hitchens could've been BFFs.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:20 PM on February 19, 2009


Interesting discussion in their forum.
posted by P.o.B. at 10:20 PM on February 19, 2009


Huh. OK, so they're not non-religious per se. Their site hasn't been updated since 2004, either. I wonder if their side of this event will appear there?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:24 PM on February 19, 2009


If Hitchens used public transportation you'd probably see NO NO FUCK YOU all over Manhattan on ads for everything from Fox 5 News, Jennifer Convertibles, movie posters for He's Just Not That Into You, Dr. Zizmor, "If You See Something -- Say Something..." Anything that raises drunken ire when confined by the MTA is fair game. That's why he carries a Sharpie and you should too.
posted by Hammond Rye at 11:08 PM on February 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


I like that Hitchens' self-proclaimed "comrades" are probably some people from the ethnic Druze outfit, the Progressive Socialist Party (I'm not sure a Popular Socialist Party exists in Lebanon, but maybe it's some new sectlet - probably the reporter misheard or Hitchens misspoke). Their leader, Walid Jumblatt, is prone to leaning whichever way the wind blows in international political fads (a smart move for a sect like the Druze), but it's obvious Hitchens is dropping that little remark to indicate he's down with the "right" native socialists, the Decent Left, if you will, even when it's just the Druze Benevolence Society with a fancy name. It's similar to Hitchens bringing up Jalal Talabani when he can. Face it, Hitch, you're an asshole with a sinecure from the Haves.

As for the meat of the story, the SSNP aren't the only authoritarian thuggish fascist party in Lebanon and Syria who came out of a Christian Arab thinking Mussolini and friends were kind of awesome. Check out the Phalangists and the famous Ba'ath party (the Syrian faction still in power). Although the SSNP sure does have one crazy flag, which did allow Hitchens to feel like a vandal Orwell for a moment.
posted by Gnatcho at 11:22 PM on February 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


It probably does look like a swastika if you're that drunk.
posted by Artw at 11:27 PM on February 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


So by your estimation he was drinking at the convention?

By nearly everyone's estimation Hitchens is always drinking. Which ain't such a bad thing; I'm usually drinking, too, and I'm not even as famous at Hitchens, but it is what it is. But look, the key lesson here—what makes it so deliciously schadenfreude-y—is that Hitchens got drunk, got bold, challenged a bunch of thugs on their own turf, and then failed to get away with it. If you're gonna come on like Captain Save 'Em in someone else's 'hood, then you must be able to get away with it. Otherwise, maybe you should just leave the dramatic gestures—and that's all this was, a gesture—to someone else.

That said, thugs are thugs. I'm sorry the dude was beaten up. Hitchens is certainly a colorful character.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:31 AM on February 20, 2009


schadenfreude-y?
posted by P.o.B. at 7:17 AM on February 20, 2009


Actually, the fact that he was willing to do the waterboarding (and what he said afterwards) says a lot for him. I'm more liable to classify him under the "Stupid/Pompous" supporters of the Iraq War, and not the "Evil" ones.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:22 AM on February 20, 2009


A Mussolini and not a Hitler?
posted by Artw at 7:52 AM on February 20, 2009


Actually, the fact that he was willing to do the waterboarding (and what he said afterwards) says a lot for him. I'm more liable to classify him under the "Stupid/Pompous" supporters of the Iraq War, and not the "Evil" ones.

This. And also what I said upthread: The guy wrote a book (I bought it! I was eighteen!) called Letters to a Young Contrarian. As in, he is a contrarian, pure and simple. His opinions--insane though they may be--are most often borne out of anti-herd devil's advocacy. If nothing else, it's a good way to get those pundit gigs.

I like to think that's what his whole pro-Iraq stance is about: Everyone's against it, so he's for it. He won't come out against Bush, because that's the easy, obvious thing to rail against. It's nice to know, though, that even in Hitch's bizarro-world view, Bush ain't no Mother Theresa.

I like Christopher Hitchens. Not as a shining beacon of wisdom, mind you, but as an endlessly entertaining television personality.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:23 AM on February 20, 2009


Someone defaces a fucking Nazi poster and the membership here isn't all hooray?

They were gay nazis.
posted by Hovercraft Eel at 9:40 AM on February 20, 2009


If Christopher Hitchens thinks it is a good idea to travel to a foriegn city that has more than once been torn apart by a bloodthirsty factional civil war, and on his arrival get drunk and then deface the local posters of one of the more insanely radical factions, and then be surprised that said insane faction assaults him... then maybe I shouldn't trust his judgement on other topics as well. He should be in on the beach in Miami, not in Beirut.
posted by zaelic at 9:55 AM on February 20, 2009


He should be in on the beach in Miami

Just what Miami needs: Another fat, middle-aged drunk in a Speedo.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:00 AM on February 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sys Rq, I think I read somewhere that the name Letters to a young contrarian was chosen by the publisher, and Hitchens himself opposed it.
posted by Anything at 11:11 AM on February 20, 2009


From what I can glean (via the wiki page and the SSNP website linked up-thread), the SSNP are not nazis. It's not even clear that they are right-wing; consider (from the wiki):

In prison the SSNP militants read and discussed politics and reconsidered their ideology, coming under the influence of Marxism and other left-wing ideas.[citation needed] By the beginning of the 1970s, the party had undergone a considerable ideological transformation, and was seen as decidedly left-wing and no longer deeply inimical to Arab nationalism. These ideological turns, however, resulted in splits, and there are now two rival groups laying claim to Saadeh's mantle

However, if they are a right-wing group, their politics would appear to be filtered through mideast and Syrian politics in such a way that calling them "nazis" would seem to be misleading and not especially helpful. But I admit I could be wrong here.
posted by ornate insect at 11:55 AM on February 20, 2009


Did he have a backwards swastika drawn on his head as well?

So... the brown folks of Beirut have embraced the ethos of genocidal white supremacists? Nice well thought out plan there.
I dunno, just because you call someone ‘nazis’ doesn’t really, y’know, make them nazis.
Not that handing them shit for being fascists is bad, but y’know, it’s the self-aggrandizement that sticks.
Jake and Elwood didn’t make a production out of it, they just hit the gas. (Hell, they kept a low profile there 1060 West Addison)

“Mohammad, what an asshole.”

Nah, it does need the rolling litany to give it that Islamic flavor -

In the name of Allah, the All Merciful, the All Compassionate and by his messenger and prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings be upon him), what an asshole.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:56 AM on February 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


What Abiezer said. And markkraft, you are in fact defending Nazis, so someone claiming that you love them isn't so out of left field. You really think it's out of line for Hitch to deface a Nazi poster? And that he deserves to get punched for it? What the fuck is wrong with you? It's his duty as a human to deface Nazi posters! The reason we have Nazi posters in the first place is because most people are too weak or scared to deface them! Good for Hitchens and boo to anyone who even thinks for a second of criticizing him for picking a fight with a Nazi.

I mean, really. A Nazi. Jesus.
posted by alexwoods at 12:40 PM on February 20, 2009


Except they're not actually Nazis.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:00 PM on February 20, 2009


Yeah, and he was drunk!

(I'm not saying he didn't get drunk-- just not then.)

Crap! Who do I believe?? A bunch of people participating in a MeFi pile-on, or Hitchens friend who talked to him right after the incident?

Well, let's not facts get in the way people. Carry on.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:09 PM on February 20, 2009


Really couldn't give a toss one way or the other about his blood-alcohol level. No, defacing a campaign poster isn't grounds to get a beat down. I just take issue with playing fast and loose with our terminology here.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:16 PM on February 20, 2009


I just take issue with playing fast and loose with our terminology here.

That's exactly what I'm talking about, whether it be one thing or the other.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:28 PM on February 20, 2009


Reminds me of the Geraldo vs. skinhead fight. And the KKK version.

Also, I read Hitchens's God is Not Great. It was depressing as fuck.
posted by wastelands at 4:17 PM on February 20, 2009


Geraldo thrives on that crap though. A great example would be his Manson interview - the rolled up sleeves, the laughable TV cop interrogation routine, "You're a murderin' dog, Charlie!" I honestly think Geraldo exists as a living example to others of What Not To Do.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:28 PM on February 20, 2009


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