Hitchens Cont

Hitchens on "The Topic of Cancer":

The man continues to write very well, and with great courage. It's hard not to admire and like someone who is so willing to encounter the world.

The notorious stage theory of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, whereby one progresses from denial to rage through bargaining to depression and the eventual bliss of “acceptance,” hasn’t so far had much application in my case. In one way, I suppose, I have been “in denial” for some time, knowingly burning the candle at both ends and finding that it often gives a lovely light.
As indeed it does. I likewise will be poorly placed to complain if I should find that fate has dealt me some similar illness. It's something I think about from time to time; frankly, I don't expect to live to be very old.

But I also think about Sir Lancelot, after the tournament in which he bore the shield of the brother of the Lily Maid of Astolat instead of his own. He had taken that shield in order to fool his cousins into not recognizing him, so he could have the pleasure of striking them down. Thereby he was badly wounded by a man who would have held his hand if he had known him, and who came to him in his sickbed to apologize. But Lancelot said:
“I have the same I sought, for I would with pride have overcome you all. And there in my pride I was near slain, and that was in my own fault, for I might have given you warning of my being there, and then I had no hurt…. Therefore, fair cousin,” said Sir Lancelot, “let this language overpass, and all shall be welcome that God sends.”
That's a statement of tremendous courage, although Sir Thomas Malory wrote it from a position of knowledge. I salute Mr. Hitchens, who does well and boldly in that terrible valley we all must traverse.

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