Murakami on Hitchens

Not really.  Murakami has never written on Hitchens, as far as I know.  That would be exciting though, wouldn’t it?  For me.

But I’m reading The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, and when I read the following passage on one of the characters, Noboru Wataya (the man, not the cat – it’ll makes sense if you read the book), I immediately thought of Hitchens.

“He knew how to knock his opponent down quickly and effectively with the fewest possible words.  He had an animal instinct for sensing the direction of the wind.  But if you paid close attention to what he was saying or what he had written, you knew that his words lacked consistency.  They reflected no single worldview based on profound conviction.  His was a world that he had fabricated by combining several one-dimensional systems of thought.  He could rearrange the the combination in an instant, as needed.  These were ingenious – even artistic – intellectual permutations and combinations.  But to me they amounted to nothing more than a gam.  If there was any consistency in his opinions, it was the consistent lack of consistency, and if he had a worldview, it was a view that proclaimed his lack of a worldview.  But these very absences were what constituted his intellectual assets.  Consistency and an established worldview were excess baggage in the intellectual mobile warfare that flared up in the mass media’s tiny time segments, and it was his great advantage to be free of such things.”

“He had nothing to protect, which meant that he could concentrate all his attention on pure acts of combat. He needed only to attack, to knock his enemy down.  Noboru Wataya was an intellectual chameleon, changing his colour in accordance with his opponent’s, ab-libbing his logic for maximum effectiveness, mobilising all the rhetoric at his command.  I had no idea how he had acquired these techniques, but he clearly had the knack of appealing directly to the feelings of the mass audience.  He knew how to use the kind of logic that moved the majority.  Nor did it even have to be logic: it only had to appear so, as long as it aroused the feelings of the masses.”

Too harsh?

PS Does an extended quote count as a blog post?

PPS Murakami uses alot of redundant sentences, huh?  It’s all about the rhythm, though.


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