Christopher Hitchens’ Foot, Meet Mouth

How disappointing. In the midst of Hitchen’s new book, the NY Times best seller god is not Great, (specifically on page 55), I read the following line with dismay:

Orthodox Jews conduct congress by means of a hole in the sheet, and subject their women to ritual baths to cleanse the stain of menstruation.

What makes this so disappointing is that so much of the book is well-written, articulate and compellingly argued. I’m not an atheist. In fact, I associate myself with the religion he claims has sex through a sheet hole. Yet until this point, I read with interest and an open mind. So it’s a shame that Hitchens had to eradicate all of his credibility by putting in a false, cheap shot. Particularly, it makes it difficult to trust him when he takes hits on other religions.

Hitchens, next time use a fact checker.

Filed under Literature, Sex

45 Responses to “Christopher Hitchens’ Foot, Meet Mouth”

  1. “conduct congress”? Maybe he’s not talking about sex at all. Maybe he means the knesset has its members wear sheets with holes.


    Amit · May 30th, 2007 at 3:54 am
  2. I felt the same way about the issue of Heeb magazine on the same subject – and they should have known better.


    rod · May 30th, 2007 at 4:37 am
  3. So is the “hole in the sheet” thing a total invention, or is it practiced by just a lunatic fringe (not all orthos)?


    jay · May 30th, 2007 at 6:45 am
  4. Total invention, which may have derived from a misunderstanding of the tallit katan.


    BZ · May 30th, 2007 at 6:50 am
  5. more than that – it’s not just an innocent little piece of nonsense – it’s actually NOT permitted to do it through a sheet! that’s what’s ridiculous about this whole thing. there is not supposed to be anything AT ALL btwn the couple whatsoever. no clothes, etc. the whole point of sex is a total unity btwn the partners. you can’t have total unity with something btwn you…


    julie · May 30th, 2007 at 7:26 am
  6. of course the sheet thing is bullshit, but the snopes piece is not well-researched. apparently, they prefer to utilize apologists like boteach than real scholars. it really made my blood boil when he made the triumphalist claim of judaism being the only religion with a sex-positive tendency. also bullshit.


    invisible_hand · May 30th, 2007 at 8:43 am
  7. but how much of Hitchen’s argument is based on amassing lists of silly and trivial things that religious people supposedly do and how much of it is based on the huge amounts of violence and systemic opression perpetrated in the name of religious fundamentalism?


    ephraim · May 30th, 2007 at 9:26 am
  8. julie–

    I’ve seen rabbinic recommendatons from way back when (1500′s, I think) that actually do tell people to leave clothes on. that’s just not the view that has won out in most circles today.


    rebecca m · May 30th, 2007 at 10:01 am
  9. who gives a crap if it has basis or not? it’s silly! it’s silly that in 2007 in a well known book there’s sillyness! and ignorance! and perhaps that’s more the point. but to argue what we view sex as- recs from the 1500s or full on nudity- whatever! the point it is that hitchens is a retardo. i hope to shake his hand one day.


    pastaeater · May 30th, 2007 at 10:33 am
  10. It doesn’t really matter what Hitchen’s argument is based on. If he can’t get the facts right, then it puts a general sour feeling of distrust on the whole work, up to and including whats is right and true.


    Seraphya · May 30th, 2007 at 10:36 am
  11. rebeccam:

    really? cool. but yeah, you’re always gonna have someone spearheading a new idea and the test is if it stands the test of time. the fact that this trend didn’t, speaks volumes, imo.


    julie · May 30th, 2007 at 11:14 am
  12. i wouldn’t be surprised if some couples actually tried this…just for shits and giggles.

    I’m surprised he didnt say we use kipot to cover our horns. Lame.

    learning about religions from an athiest is a bad idea.


    shmuel · May 30th, 2007 at 11:34 am
  13. learning about religions from an athiest is a bad idea.

    True. But learning about it from its most fanatical adherents ain’t too hot either.


    david smith · May 30th, 2007 at 12:27 pm
  14. Hitchens is right-on re: the threat of Islamic extremism.

    But Hitchens is consistently wrong on Israel and Judaism.

    PS can we all agree to refrain from the phrase “shits and giggles”? that shit is just icky.


    rootlesscosmo · May 30th, 2007 at 1:06 pm
  15. shmuel: learning about religion from an atheist is not a “bad idea.”
    it depends what your goal is. if you want an “authentic” insider’s experience, then that of an atheist is useless. however, if you want an analytical, outsider’s perspective, then it is of the utmost value. while an atheist may not be able to relate to certain religious elements, the exact same closeness that gave the believer his intimate perspective also may skew his notions of what the religion means/stands for.


    invisible_hand · May 30th, 2007 at 1:44 pm
  16. the fact that this trend didn’t, speaks volumes, imo
    wrong. There are many – mostly hassidim – who to this day are very “modest” about having sex. A proponent of the approach is ZIonist rabbi Shlomo Levi, of Yeshivat Har Etzion, aka “gush”.
    And its no stranger to have sex with clothes on than any of the other weird things people do today when they have sex. it doesn’t hurt anyone, so why be judgmental?


    Amit · May 30th, 2007 at 2:22 pm
  17. Just out of shear irrelevance, here’s Hitchens’ piece about discovering that he, too, was Jewish (no horns, though):

    users.rcn.com/peterk.enteract/pftw.htm

    But I guess this means he really should know better. If only because Larry David and Gina Gershon have already provided the last word on the sheet thing.


    htrouser · May 30th, 2007 at 8:18 pm
  18. Amit:

    what on earth are you talking about? i have so many problems with what you wrote for a plethora of reasons:
    a) there is a diff btwn doing it with the sheet versus “being modest.” when you talk about the trends of hassidim, what are you referring to? what do you know about the hasidic approach to initimacy? (i don’t mean that condescendingly. but rather literally.)
    b) i just graduated the women’s branch of Gush and will be starting their master’s program this sept., so i know a little bit about the place and i have no idea what you are talking about. and btw – who is shlomo levi? do you mean Rav Yitzchak Levi from Gush?
    c) i wholeheartedly agree with you that it is not our place to condemn various sexual practices b/c it’s true that people do stuff that is a lot more freak-ay… but my whole point was acknowledging that judaism is not some prudish religion that has neuroses about sex, as that stupid myth perpetuates. you wanna do it through a sheet? gezundterheit. you wanna do it on the kitchen floor? gezundterheit. do it while suspended from a bungee chord? gezund… you get the point.

    but what i will add is that the various “suggestions” that there are within jewish literature (mostly kabbalistic and hasidic) on intimacy stem from mystical reasoning and is not a) halakha or b) connected to a worldview where sex is something dirty/undesirable (no pun intended). just as there are buddhist positions to attain enlightenment, so too there are positions within sex to attain the enlightment of the Shekhinah…


    julie · May 30th, 2007 at 10:28 pm
  19. julie:
    1. Not really. guerer hassidim are instructed to be dressed – replete with hats – when they have sex, for instance. There is a very strong stream within Judaism that views sex as something of a neccesary evil. Its quite a new idea that “sex is holy”. its not holy. why else would you have to cover your tefillin and mezuzah in a room where you have sex.
    2.I mean Rabbi Shlomo Levi. the other levi is not an halakhic authority of any kind. He wrote a book on niddah which has become quite popular called Shaarei Orah.
    3. Its not a question of prudish or neurotic. Its a question of religion. Judaism has nothing common to all people who practice it, but it does have its share of practices looking at sex suspiciously.
    Your thing on the shekhina makes no sense, especially if you are a graduate of “gush”. sex is sex.


    Amit · June 1st, 2007 at 5:31 am
  20. Amit, you have created a non existent hassidic group and given them sexual habits that don’t exist in Judaism. There is no such group as “guerer”s. If you mean ger (spelling per Wikipedia: “Ger, or Gur (or Gerrer when used as an adjective)” you are as wrong about their habbits as you are wrong about the spelling of their name – I have Ger relatives, and they would either laugh at you outright or explain to you that Judaism exhalts sex.

    Please let’s stop the “hole in the sheet” misinformation, its real basis is probably antisemitism by Xtians trying to make Jews into the evil “others”. We Jews shouldn’t perpetuate the misconceptions out of our ignorance about our own religion and our observant members.


    incorrect · June 3rd, 2007 at 9:25 am
  21. R. Yehudah Leib Alter, 1847-1905, of Gour (Poland), 3è Rebbe of the Dynasty of “Guerer Hassidim”


    dz alexander · June 19th, 2007 at 3:12 am
  22. Christopher Hitchens himself, if you paid more attention, said that it was not true, but that it tells a lot about Jews that people would believe it.


    Daniel Zak · December 13th, 2011 at 7:51 pm
  23. On the “never learn about a religion from an atheist”.

    One point that is always blown over yet related to this point is that all religious people *only believe in their own god* (and on a finer point their own personal god, not even the same one as follows of their religion).

    Religious are atheist towards all gods but their own, meaning it’d be impossible to learn about other religions unless you spoke to them in that context.

    Bottom line – learn about a religion from an atheist. Learn about it from pamphlets, from churches or from whatever source is in front of you.

    Ruling out possible sources and viewpoints before you’ve even heard them because you don’t agree with them or question their validity is a ridiculous concept.

    Learn the faulty viewpoints or the ones that don’t work out because the information in itself is still important and can be used to spot faulty trends in the oppositions arguments.


    One point to mention is · December 14th, 2011 at 9:55 am
  24. I would have hoped that we wouldn’t descend to language like “retardo”, even ironically. Please.


    Judy · December 14th, 2011 at 4:36 pm
  25. Apparently god, has sent Hitchens an informal response:

    abcnews.go.com/US/christopher-hitchens-controversial-author-television-personality-dies/story?id=13214700#.TurbNfIkKSp

    Maybe it was the sheet thing…


    adam · December 16th, 2011 at 11:02 am
  26. Ugh.


    Dan O. · December 16th, 2011 at 2:23 pm
  27. There won’t be another Hitch in any of our lifetimes.


    Jonathan1 · December 17th, 2011 at 1:30 pm
  28. Q: Hitch, Havel, Kim Jong Il. Which of these don’t belong:

    A1: Kim Jong Il – not a literary genius.

    A2: Havel – not a war monger.


    Dan O. · December 19th, 2011 at 10:53 am
  29. A2: Havel – not a war monger.

    Hitchens on Michael Moore:

    “If Michael Moore had had his way, Slobodan Milosevic would still be the big man in a starved and tyrannical Serbia. Bosnia and Kosovo would have been cleansed and annexed. If Michael Moore had been listened to, Afghanistan would still be under Taliban rule, and Kuwait would have remained part of Iraq. And Iraq itself would still be the personal property of a psychopathic crime family, bargaining covertly with the slave state of North Korea for WMD. You might hope that a retrospective awareness of this kind would induce a little modesty. To the contrary, it is employed to pump air into one of the great sagging blimps of our sorry, mediocre, celeb-rotten culture. Rock the vote, indeed.”

    I would add also that if “Michael Moore” had been listened to, Iraq would have developed a nuclear bomb long ago–no Israeli attack in ’81; Ghaddafi would have used large amounts of chemical and biological weapons on his own people–weapons’ programs he only relinquished because of the Iraq War; and Assad would be on his way to nuclear weapons too–no Israeli strike in 2007.

    The “Michael Moores” of the world just don’t want to deal with these nasty inconvenient truths.


    Jonathan1 · December 19th, 2011 at 11:19 am
  30. @Jonathan1 –

    Using Michael Moore as a straw man/contrast for Hitchens would convince only the intellectually incapable.

    Obviously, one could have been for the interventions in the Balkans and Afghanistan, while being against the intervention into Iraq. See, for example, the somewhat obscure figure of President Obama. The People of the United States voiced their support for that platform, by electing him. I know the campaign was so 3 years ago that nobody remembers it, but it is far more important and representative than a union-slag propagandist who knows less than Oprah about foreign policy.


    Dan O. · December 19th, 2011 at 11:50 am
  31. Ok. How about this:

    “If many people had had their way, Slobodan Milosevic would still be the big man in a starved and tyrannical Serbia. Bosnia and Kosovo would have been cleansed and annexed. If many people had been listened to, Afghanistan would still be under Taliban rule, and Kuwait would have remained part of Iraq. And Iraq itself would still be the personal property of a psychopathic crime family, bargaining covertly with the slave state of North Korea for WMD. You might hope that a retrospective awareness of this kind would induce a little modesty. Rock the vote, indeed.”

    I would add also that if many people–especially around these parts– had been listened to, Iraq would have developed a nuclear bomb long ago–no Israeli attack in ’81; Ghaddafi would have used large amounts of chemical and biological weapons on his own people–weapons’ programs he only relinquished because of the Iraq War; and Assad would be on his way to nuclear weapons too–no Israeli strike in 2007.

    If you were an opponent of such military activities, then you’ll have to account for the results that non-action might have wrought.

    A person who supports such military activities–like the war monger Dan O. who supported the futile Afghanistan war?–then you’ll have to answer for that as well.

    It’s a complicated world sometimes.


    Jonathan1 · December 19th, 2011 at 2:10 pm
  32. J1,

    Complicated? What’s complicated? Like Hitch, you’re continuing to change the subject away from the non-threat Iraq posed. Which is what the whole debate was always ever about. There’s no way to sugarcoat it. So, you talk about something else instead.

    (Let’s not pretend the mainstream debate was a bunch of old hippies, okay? Another version of the same straw man.)

    But, hey. What a great thing we did. We attacked Iraq while emboldening and empowering a now-nuclear Iran all the while preemptively killing political will for action that could very well turn out to be FAR more important than Iraq. Brilliant work. But, hey, why talk about that? When we can talk about a bunch of things irrelevant to the conversation.

    And we can continue to pretend, with Lee Smith, that military action in Iran is politically, militarily, and economically viable for the US… after Iraq. Iraq was not on the top-5 list of threats to the United States before the war. It is not on the top-5 list now. It is only on the top-5 list of reasons discretionary spending will go into the toilet at a time of economic slowdown.


    Dan O. · December 19th, 2011 at 3:05 pm
  33. Complicated? What’s complicated? Like Hitch, you’re continuing to change the subject away from the non-threat Iraq posed. Which is what the whole debate was always ever about. There’s no way to sugarcoat it. So, you talk about something else instead.

    We agree. I think the world is a very complicated place, especially regarding military interventions, etc. . . . and you just happen to think that things are black and white, at least regarding military interventions. So, we agree.

    I’m still not sure what I’m “sugarcoating.” You’re arguing that the U.S. shouldn’t have gone into Iraq because it was a non-threat. Fair enough.

    I’m just suggesting that you’re going to have to account for the fact that, had that invasion not occurred and had the Arab Spring still had happened, then the Sadaam Huessein government would be murdering people left and right in Iraq, and Ghadaffi would be using chemical and biological weapons against his own people left and right.

    So, you can account for that . . . or you can reveal that I’m resorting to the old reliable “straw man.”

    We attacked Iraq while emboldening and empowering a now-nuclear Iran all the while preemptively killing political will for action that could very well turn out to be FAR more important than Iraq. Brilliant work. But, hey, why talk about that? When we can talk about a bunch of things irrelevant to the conversation.

    Ok. You’re making arguments against the Iraq invasion in 2003. Fair enough. But, again, we just disagree about whether or not the world is complicated. I can’t disagree with any of your points, but when I challenged you to account for those things I mentioned, you say I’m “talking about a bunch of things irrelevant to the conversation.” Because Ghaddafi giving up his WMD program as a result of the Iraq War is irrelevant to the debate about that war?

    (pssss. Has it occurred to you that you’re actually the one avoiding the topic?)

    And we can continue to pretend, with Lee Smith, that military action in Iran is politically, militarily, and economically viable for the US… after Iraq

    I never claimed that it is. But, again, there will be consequences of action and non-action.

    Iraq was not on the top-5 list of threats to the United States before the war. It is not on the top-5 list now.

    Could you please provide the top-5 list? I’ve never heard of this before.


    Jonathan1 · December 19th, 2011 at 3:33 pm
  34. I would rank the top 5 as:

    1. Pakistan instability/Afghanistan. I’ll include the India-Pakistan conflict here because they’re all bound up, and will otherwise be seen as cheating. Also include Pakistani nuclear proliferation. Okay, maybe this is the top 3 instead of #1. Whatever.

    2. Iranian intransigence, state-sponsored terrorism, puppet politics in Lebanon, the Palestine territories.

    3. North Korean threat of nuclear proliferation.

    4. Security of far-flung ex-Soviet nukes. Again, nuclear proliferation.

    5. “Stateless” terrorism.

    I’ll add some more that were greater than Iraq:

    6. Chinese protectionism and expansionism.

    7. Climate Change (probably should always be the top).

    The world is complicated, no doubt. But what’s not complicated is the reason why 2003 was a ridiculous adventure.

    “Because Ghaddafi giving up his WMD program as a result of the Iraq War is irrelevant to the debate about that war?”

    Talk about a return on investment. Occupy Iraq for nearly a decade to effect Ghaddafi (not to mention the 15,000 from the State Dept. staying there). Oy vey.

    “I’m just suggesting that you’re going to have to account for the fact that, had that invasion not occurred and had the Arab Spring still had happened, then the Sadaam Huessein government would be murdering people left and right in Iraq, and Ghadaffi would be using chemical and biological weapons against his own people left and right.”

    No, I don’t need to account for what might have happened in one thing changed and the rest of the world miraculously worked out nearly the same way 7 years later. I mean, you can’t believe in complexity, and expect that.


    Dan O. · December 19th, 2011 at 6:04 pm
  35. You actually see yourself as the authority on the world’s top 5 threats? I thought you were referring to some sort of think tank study, or something of the sort. You just decided that you can define the top 5 threats, and then you write that “Iraq was not a top 5 threat, and neither is Iran” as if these are objective understandings? You have the right to your opinion, but that is a healthy dose of self-confidence. If only Congress had read the Dan O. top 5 list in the fall of 2002 . . .

    “I’m just suggesting that you’re going to have to account for the fact that, had that invasion not occurred and had the Arab Spring still had happened, then the Sadaam Huessein government would be murdering people left and right in Iraq, and Ghadaffi would be using chemical and biological weapons against his own people left and right.”

    No, I don’t need to account for what might have happened in one thing changed and the rest of the world miraculously worked out nearly the same way 7 years later. I mean, you can’t believe in complexity, and expect that.

    Ok. You can have your cake and eat it as well.

    First you claimed, in this stream, that I’m avoiding the question and changing the subject and using straw man tactics, etc., etc. . . by not acknowledging all of the terrible things that have resulted from the Iraq War. Then, I pointed out that, ironically, I do acknowledge those things, but I think that you should acknowledge the ugly things that MIGHT have happened had the war not occurred–and you claim that it’s impossible to talk about such things–for there was no track record of people like Sadaam and Ghaddafi committing mass murder?

    Why would any of those things be relevant to discussing the Iraq War?

    But, hey, why talk about that? When we can talk about a bunch of things irrelevant to the conversation.


    Jonathan1 · December 19th, 2011 at 6:23 pm
  36. And if Iran finishes its nuclear weapons program–which it presumably will–and that helps the government there step up its repression, like dropping acid on protesters’ head from helicopters

    . . . .

    then the West can say to the protesters: “Hey, we can’t do anything about this. What do you expect from us, we only lend a hand to people dealing with top 5 threats. The Iranian government only made it to #7 in this years rankings (they lost that recruit to Duke?)”

    Maybe next year, when the new rankings are released.


    Jonathan1 · December 19th, 2011 at 6:30 pm
  37. @J1

    “by not acknowledging all of the terrible things that have resulted from the Iraq War.”

    Strengthening Iran, no WMD’s to be found, and a laxity in prosecuting the Afghan war were all foreseen well before the invasion of Iraq by hard-headed critics.

    “then the West can say to the protesters: “Hey, we can’t do anything about this. What do you expect from us, we only lend a hand to people dealing with top 5 threats.”

    You are addicted to straw men. You see, there’s a difference between real (Iran) and fictional (Iraq) nukes. Real nukes are more dangerous.


    Dan O. · December 20th, 2011 at 12:36 pm
  38. “by not acknowledging all of the terrible things that have resulted from the Iraq War.”

    Strengthening Iran, no WMD’s to be found, and a laxity in prosecuting the Afghan war were all foreseen well before the invasion of Iraq by hard-headed critics.

    These are my words from above–please try to read carefully:

    “First you claimed, in this stream, that I’m avoiding the question and changing the subject and using straw man tactics, etc., etc. . . by not acknowledging all of the terrible things that have resulted from the Iraq War. Then, I pointed out that, ironically, I do acknowledge those things, but I think that you should acknowledge the ugly things that MIGHT have happened had the war not occurred–and you claim that it’s impossible to talk about such things–for there was no track record of people like Sadaam and Ghaddafi committing mass murder?”

    You are addicted to straw men. You see, there’s a difference between real (Iran) and fictional (Iraq) nukes. Real nukes are more dangerous.

    Wait a second. Is the Iranian nuclear threat in the top-5 list? I must have misunderstood. What a relief.


    Jonathan1 · December 20th, 2011 at 1:18 pm
  39. @J1

    Yes any of those things might have happened, when ‘might’ is understood in the sense of ‘epistemic possibility’ or possible, for all we know. I can’t imagine you really care that I admit that point because it is so amazingly weak. But that’s great. Your retreat from ‘would’ to ‘might’ is remarkable, and very acceptable. This is what I objected to (notice the use of ‘would’, not ‘might’):

    “Ghaddafi would have used large amounts of chemical and biological weapons on his own people–weapons’ programs he only relinquished because of the Iraq War; and Assad would be on his way to nuclear weapons too–no Israeli strike in 2007.”

    It still remains that I am limiting my critique to foreseeable consequences of the Iraq war, nearly all of which occurred. You are off in the land of for all we know … Back in my graduate school days, we wanted to establish a Center for Counterfactual Research to address such questions about what might have happened if the world were different. Funding requirements would be minimal – enough for a hot-tub and small amounts of marijuana.


    Dan O. · December 21st, 2011 at 4:00 pm
  40. @Dan O.

    What can I tell you?

    First, above, you kept writing about the terrible things that happened because of the Iraq war.

    Then, I kept writing that it is true that many terrible things happened because of the Iraq war, but opponents of that war need to consider the terrible things that MIGHT have happened had the war not occurred. (I did consciously change the word from “would” to “might”–a remarkable about-face, if there ever has been one.)

    You responded by saying I was using straw man tactics.

    Then I kept writing that it is true that many terrible things happened because of the Iraq war, but opponents of that war need to consider the terrible things that MIGHT have happened had the war not occurred. (I did change the word from “would” to “might”–a remarkable about-face if there ever has been one.)

    You responded by saying I was using straw man tactics.

    Then I kept writing that it is true that many terrible things happened because of the Iraq war, but opponents of that war need to consider the terrible things that MIGHT have happened had the war not occurred. (I did change the word from “would” to “might”–a remarkable about-face if there ever has been one.)

    You now respond by saying that you only can discuss forseeable consequences of the 2003 Iraq War. I’ll admit that that’s quite an accomplishment, to handle discussing the forseeable consequences of a conflict that has all but ended.

    I’m not sure if I’m up for something like that, as I don’t have a graduate eduction.

    So again, not for bearer’s of graduate degrees and/or creators of objective top 5 threats lists . . .

    It is true that many terrible things happened because of the Iraq war, but opponents of that war need to consider the terrible things that MIGHT have happened had the war not occurred. (I did change the word from “would” to “might”–a remarkable about-face if there ever has been one.) (and the first Iraq War, and the 1981 strike, and the 2007 strike on Syria, etc., etc.)


    Jonathan1 · December 21st, 2011 at 4:32 pm
  41. “’m not sure if I’m up for something like that, as I don’t have a graduate eduction.”

    I didn’t get the degree. Marijuana and hot tubs.

    “You responded by saying I was using straw man tactics.”

    When someone throws Michael Moore in your mouth, one tends to do that.

    “(I did change the word from “would” to “might”–a remarkable about-face if there ever has been one.)”

    It is remarkable difference. Don’t play dumb.

    “You now respond by saying that you only can discuss forseeable consequences of the 2003 Iraq War.”

    I think it’s a fair and reasonable limitation to a discussion of 2003′s justification. If not, I might ask you to consider all the unforeseen ills that may yet come of it as Iraq becomes poised for disintegration.

    I think that it’s pretty telling that all of the other strikes you mention were strategic strikes, not attempts at regime change. That’s not really an effective way to bait a realist.


    Dan O. · December 21st, 2011 at 5:56 pm
  42. If not, I might ask you to consider all the unforeseen ills that may yet come of it as Iraq becomes poised for disintegration.

    We don’t have enough time for me to list all of the unforeseen ills that may yet come.

    That’s not really an effective way to bait a realist.

    I’m not trying to bait you.

    I don’t know how the Bush Administration thought they’d be able to pull of a regime change of its liking in 2003. Agreed.

    The Iraq War has led to many terrible things. Agreed.

    But the expression “war monger” is tossed around too loosely these days–maybe not by you.

    And, I think we might be a bit careful in classifying supporters of military options as war mongers. Considering all of the things that MIGHT have happened had XYZ, etc., etc.


    Jonathan1 · December 21st, 2011 at 6:21 pm
  43. [...] one turns up in supposedly accurate films all the time, and Christopher Hitchens rants about it as an example of religious crazy: Jews conduct the marital act by way of a hole cut in a bed [...]


    5 Ridiculous Sex Myths From History (You Probably Believe) « aussie55 · February 1st, 2012 at 4:51 am
  44. I skipped to page 55 of my book and didn’t find the quote- it’s worth noting that Hitchens addresses this issue in the 2009 reprint (with a new afterword).

    It reads:
    “May 17, Coral Gables, Florida: I owe an apology. It is absolutely not true, as urban legend has it, that Orthodox Jews conduct sexual congress through a hole in the sheet. I should never have mentioned this slander, even in passing, in my book. (It won’t appear in the reprint.) At the Temple Judea, a Reform synagogue that seats a thousand people, I make this concession in an exchange with Nathan Katz. But when I go on to attack the Jewish prayer that thanks god for not making you a woman or a Gentile, I get quite a bit of applause. As well as featuring Katz, the panel of my critics contains a Muslim woman scholar, a Buddhist nun, and a charismatic Catholic. What if all these people were to walk into a bar at the same time? Surely the barman would ask if it was some kind of joke.
    The Second Presbyterian Church in New York puts up a sign in big letters, reading, “Christopher Hitchens doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” These are the people whose early dominance of America was described by Jefferson as witchcraft and inquisition. As against that, my book is climbing the bestseller list and is outselling the Pope’s volume on Jesus Christ.”


    Dan L · February 11th, 2012 at 5:17 am
  45. Even if this was not a misquotation, I must counterpoint: What the fuck does it matter? Are you seriously saying (writing) that this statement affects in any way any of the other arguments Hitchens presented in his book?
    I believe you were overreacting, or just looking for an excuse to dismiss the whole thing.
    See how religion poisons everything?


    John · July 24th, 2013 at 1:37 am

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"I may attack a certain point of view which I consider false, but I will never attack a person who preaches it. I have always a high regard for the individual who is honest and moral, even when I am not in agreement with him. Such a relation is in accord with the concept of kavod habriyot, for beloved is man for he is created in the image of God." —Rav Joseph Soloveitchik