A Tribute to Christopher Hitchens, 1949 - 2011



  • Thomas Banchoff Professor Thomas Banchoff is director of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, and Associate Professor in the Government Department and the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University. Banchoff is editor of Democracy and the New Religious Pluralism (Oxford University Press, 2007), Religious Pluralism, Globalization, and World Politics (forthcoming, Oxford University Press), and Religion and the Global Politics of Human Rights, co-edited with Robert Wuthnow (forthcoming, Oxford University Press). He is also working on a manuscript on the religious and secular politics of stem cell research in Europe and the United States. Two of Banchoff's previous books explored the intersection of history, institutions, and values in European politics. The German Problem Transformed: Institutions, Politics, and Foreign Policy, 1945-1995 (University of Michigan Press, 1999) examined Germany's enduring turn towards a peaceful, multilateral, foreign policy, and Legitimacy and the European Union: The Contested Polity, co-edited with Mitchell Smith (Routledge, 1999), analyzed problems of political representation and identitification beyond the level of nation state. Professor Banchoff received his BA from Yale (summa cum laude) in 1986, an MA from the University of Bonn in 1988, and a Ph.D. in Politics from Princeton in 1993. He was a Conant fellow at Harvard's Center for European Studies in 1997-98 and a Humboldt Fellow at the Centre for European Integration Studies in Bonn in 2000-01. Banchoff was awarded the DAAD Award for Distinguished Scholarship in German studies in 2003.
  • Peter Beinart Peter Beinart is associate professor of journalism and political science at the City University of New York. He is also a contributor to The Atlantic and National Journal, a senior columnist at Haaretz, a CNN Political Commentator, and a senior fellow at The New America Foundation.
  • William F. Buckley Jr. William F. Buckley Jr. was a political commentator and columnist. He founded the political magazine National Review and hosted the television show "Firing Line."
  • Michael Cromartie Michael Cromartie is Vice President at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and he directs both the Evangelicals in Civic Life and Religion & the Media programs. On September 20, 2004, Mr. Cromartie was appointed by President George W. Bush to a two-year term on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. On July 1, 2005, he was elected chairman of the commission. He is also a senior advisor to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and a senior fellow with The Trinity Forum. He is the host of Radio America's weekly show Faith and Life; an adjunct professor at the Reformed Theological Seminary; and an advisory editor of Christianity Today. He is also on the Board of Directors of Mars Hill Audio, and served as an advisor to the PBS documentary series With God on Our Side: The Rise of the Christian Right in America. Mr. Cromartie has contributed book reviews and articles to First Things, Books and Culture, Crisis, the Washington Times, The Reformed Journal, Insight, Christianity Today, Stewardship Journal, World, and The Presbyterian Journal. He is the co-editor, with Richard John Neuhaus, of Piety and Politics: Evangelicals and Fundamentalists Confront the World (1987; now in its fifth printing). Eternity magazine named Piety and Politics one of the twenty-five best books of 1988.
  • Anne Davies Anne Davies is the Washington correspondent for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. Anne covered the run up to the 2008 presidential election and has served as the Herald's state political editor and urban affairs editor, exposing deepening links between property developers and local politics. Her work with Kate McClymont helped win her a Gold Walkley for their coverage of the Canterbury Bulldogs rugby league salary cap scandal.
  • Stephen Fry Stephen Fry was born in 1957 and educated at an unfeasibly large number of educational establishments, most of which rapidly tired of him. At Cambridge University, he met and worked with, amongst others, Emma Thompson and Hugh Laurie, a life long friend and comedy partner.

    Fry starred in three series of Blackadder, four series of A Bit of Fry and Laurie with Hugh Laurie (both for BBC) and four series of Jeeves and Wooster for Granada. He has also completed two series of Absolute Power with John Bird for the BBC, Bones for Fox and numerous single dramas for television, including Tom Brown's Schoolboys and most recently the series Kingdom for ITV.

    Stephen Fry continues to host the BBC quiz show QI, now in its 10th series, and has also presented the documentaries Stephen Fry's 100 Greatest Gadgets, Planet Word, Stephen Fry on Wagner, Last Chance To See, Fry In America, Manic Depression, HIV And Me and The Machine That Made Us and planet Word all for the BBC.

    Fry has made regular film appearances, winning awards for performances throughout his career. He starred in Kenneth Branagh's Peter's Friends and achieved much critical acclaim for his role as Oscar Wilde in Wilde. In 2001, he played the detective in Robert Altman's Gosford Park. 2003 saw Fry make his directorial debut with Bright Young Things, which he also adapted from Evelyn Waugh's Vile Bodies. He appeared in A Cock and Bull Story (based on the novel Tristram Shandy) in 2005 and portrayed Gordon, a non-conforming TV Presenter in V for Vendetta in the same year. Most recently, he has appeared as himself in St Trinians, played the role of Minister Tormer in Eichmann and served as the voice of The Cheshire Cat in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland.

    As a stage actor he has performed in Alan Bennett's Forty Years On, Michael Frayn's Look, Look, Simon Gray's The Common Pursuit and Cell Mates.

    His work on the revived musical Me and My Girl, which enjoyed lengthy runs on Broadway and in the West End, won him a Drama Circle award and a Tony Nomination.

    Fry is also a celebrated author. His work includes best-selling novels, an autobiography, as well as a book on poetry form, The Ode Less Travelled. He is well known amongst a younger generation as the reader of the audio book versions J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels.

    Stephen has written the novels: The Liar, The Hippopotamus, Making History and The Stars' Tennis Balls; two volumes of autobiography: Moab is My Washpot and The Fry Chronicles, and collected articles Paperweight.
  • Geoffrey Garrett Geoff Garrett is founding CEO of the United States Studies Centre and Professor of Political Science at the University of Sydney. Garrett was previously President of the Pacific Council on International Policy, where he remains a Senior Fellow, and Professor of International Relations, Business Administration, Communication and Law at the University of Southern California.

    Among the most widely cited political scientist of his generation, Garrett is an expert on the causes and consequences of globalization, American politics and foreign policy, and the impact of China's rise on the US and the rest of the world. He is author of Partisan Politics in the Global Economy and editor of The Global Diffusion of Markets and Democracy, both published by Cambridge University Press.

    Garrett has been quoted and interviewed by leading media sources around the world and his essays and opinion pieces have appeared in newspapers and magazines in Australia, the US, Asia, Europe and Latin America.

    Garrett served as founding Dean and Vice Provost of the UCLA International Institute and has held academic appointments at Oxford, Stanford and Yale universities and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Garrett is a member of the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations as well as the Pacific Council.

    Garrett was born and raised in Canberra and holds a BA (Hons) from the Australian National University. He earned his MA and PhD at Duke University in North Carolina, where he was a Fulbright Scholar.
  • A.C. Grayling A.C. Grayling is professor of philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is a fellow of the World Economic Forum and the author of Meditations for the Humanist.
  • Brian Gruber Brian Gruber is Founder and Executive Chairman of FORA.tv. Gruber has twenty years experience successfully building and marketing media enterprises. As the senior marketing officer for a range of respected media institutions, he has managed billion dollar revenue budgets and large and small marketing teams. As the first marketing director for C-SPAN, he built its affiliate sales and marketing organization, launching C-SPAN II with the largest subscriber base ever for a cable network at launch. As director of marketing for News Corp's FOXTEL, he helped build the cable television brand in Australia, going from number three to number one in cable subscriptions, brand equity and consumer awareness. As the head of marketing of the largest urban divisions of 3 top ten cable companies (MSO's), he turned flat or negative subscriber growth into substantial gains. And as president of g/media and Principals.com, he has helped more than twenty new media companies develop brands, marketing strategies, and consumer products. He also acted as the media adviser and new media producer for the World Affairs Council of Northern California, the nation's most prolific presenter of quality world affairs events.
  • Tammy Haddad Tammy Haddad is a veteran executive producer of network news and entertainment programs. Best known as the creator and longtime executive producer of “Larry King Live,” she brought Larry King to television in 1985. By the early nineties, the show became the most watched and most talked about talk show in the history of cable television. During the 1992 election, the show became the first stop for any presidential candidate trying to reach directly over the heads of the Washington press corps to talk to the citizenry.
  • Victor Davis Hanson Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and military historian, professor of classics, and the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is the author of more than a dozen and a half books. His most recent volumes are Makers of Ancient Strategy: From the Persian Wars to the Fall of Rome, which Dr. Hanson edited, and The Father of Us All: War and History, Ancient and Modern, a volume of Dr. Hanson's own essays.

    Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007, the Claremont Institute's Statesmanship Award at its annual Churchill Dinner, and the $250,000 Bradley prize from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in 2008.
  • Mark Helprin Mark Helprin, award-winning novelist and journalist, is a senior fellow of the Claremont Institute and a contributor to the Claremont Review of Books. Helprin's writing has appeared in The New Yorker for two decades. He has written on politics and aesthetics for The Atlantic Monthly, The New Criterion, National Review, The American Heritage, The Wall Street Journal (of which he is a contributing editor), The New York Times, and many other publications here and abroad. Raised on the Hudson and in the British West Indies, Helprin holds degrees from Harvard College and Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and did postgraduate work at the University of Oxford. He served in the British Merchant Navy, the Israeli infantry, and the Israeli Air Force. A Fellow of the American Academy in Rome and a former Guggenheim Fellow, Helprin has been awarded the National Jewish Book Award and the Prix de Rome.
  • Christopher Hitchens Christopher Hitchens is an author and journalist whose books, essays, and journalistic career span more than four decades. He has been a columnist and literary critic at The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, Slate, World Affairs, The Nation, Free Inquiry, and became a media fellow at the Hoover Institution in 2008.
  • Paul Holdengräber Paul Holdengräber is the Director of LIVE from the NYPL.
  • Jeff Jarvis Jeff is the author of Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live and What Would Google Do? He directs the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. Jeff was founding editor of Entertainment Weekly magazine, TV critic for TV Guide and People magazines, Sunday editor and associate publisher of the New York Daily News, and a columnist for the San Francisco Examiner.
  • Brian T. Kennedy Brian T. Kennedy is President of the Claremont Institute. Mr. Kennedy has been with the Institute since 1989 and has written on national security affairs and California public policy issues. His articles have appeared in the Claremont Review of Books, National Review, Investor's Business Daily and numerous national newspapers. In addition to his duties as President, Mr. Kennedy serves as Publisher of the Claremont Review of Books and also directs the Institute's Ballistic Missile Defense project, which examines the missile threat to the western United States and the need for a national missile defense.
  • William Kristol William Kristol is editor of the influential Washington-based political magazine, The Weekly Standard. Widely recognized as one of the nation's leading political analysts and commentators, Mr. Kristol regularly appears on Fox News Sunday and on the Fox News Channel. Before starting The Weekly Standard in 1995, Mr. Kristol led the Project for the Republican Future, where he helped shape the strategy that produced the 1994 Republican congressional victory.

    Prior to that, Mr. Kristol served as chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle during the Bush administration and to Secretary of Education William Bennett under President Reagan. Before coming to Washington in 1985, Mr. Kristol taught politics at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Mr. Kristol recently co-authored The New York Times bestseller The War Over Iraq: America's Mission and Saddam's Tyranny.
  • Alister McGrath Alister McGrath is a biochemist and Christian theologian born in Belfast, North Ireland. He currently enjoys the title of distinction "Professor of Historical Theology" granted by the University of Oxford. He has written extensively on history and theology, including In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible and How It Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture (2001), and The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World (2005). He has written biographies of John Calvin, Thomas Torrance, and J. I. Packer. He has also written on the interaction of science and theology and his A Scientific Theology (4 volumes, 2001-2004) has been hailed as one the most important works of systematic theology to appear in recent years. He has written two critiques of the biologist Richard Dawkins: The Dawkins Delusion? (2007) and Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life (2005). His most recent book is Christianity's Dangerous Idea: The Protestant Revolution - A History from the Sixteenth Century to the Twenty-First, published by HarperOne. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2005 and in 2009 he will give the prestigious Gifford Lectures at the University of Aberdeen.
  • Barbara Meade Barbara Meade is the co-owner of Politics and Prose Bookstore.
  • George Packer George Packer has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2003. His books include "The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq," which won the New York Public Library's Helen Bernstein Book Award and an Overseas Press Club book award, and "Interesting Times: Writings from a Turbulent Decade."
  • Ben Relles

    Ben is Head of Creative Development at the YouTube Next Lab. In this role he works with some of the most innovative producers in online video to help them build their audience and develop their content and creative programming. Prior to joining YouTube, Ben was Vice President of Programming at online video leader Next New Networks where he led content strategy as the company built viewership to over two billion total views.

    Ben also founded and runs the comedy network Barely Political which has been viewed over one billion times since launching in 2007 and is one of YouTube's top 10 most viewed channels of all time. Ben started Barely Political with his series of "Obama Girl" videos which quickly became a worldwide phenomenon and eventually was named by Newsweek as one of the top five memes of the decade. The Barely Political network continued to expand when Ben created a partnership with the Gregory Brothers to launch their Autotune the News series on the network. Ben also co-created the show The Key of Awesome which is currently one of the internet's most popular shows, with over 30 million views per month.

  • Peter Robinson Peter M. Robinson is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, where he writes about business and politics, edits the Hoover Institution's quarterly journal, the Hoover Digest, and hosts Hoover's television program, "Uncommon Knowledge."

    Robinson is also the author of three books: How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life; It's My Party: A Republican's Messy Love Affair with the GOP; and the best-selling business book Snapshots from Hell: The Making of an MBA.
  • Salman Rushdie Salman Rushdie is the author of eleven novels, including "The Moor’s Last Sigh," "The Enchantress of Florence," and "Midnight’s Children," which won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction and the Best of the Booker Award and has just been adapted for film. "Joseph Anton," his memoir about his years of struggle against the Iranian fatwa on his novel "The Satanic Verses," comes out in September. He has been contributing to The New Yorker since 1987.
  • Steven Boyd Saum Steven came to the SCU team in April 2006 from The Commonwealth Club of California, where he edited The Commonwealth magazine and the collection Each a Mighty Voice. He has served in the Peace Corps and directed the Fulbright program in Ukraine, and his writing has appeared in Salon, the Christian Science Monitor, the Kenyon Review, and elsewhere.
  • Robert Service Robert Service, a noted Russian historian and political commentator, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a Fellow of St. Antony’s College, Oxford. His research interests cover Russian history and politics in all its aspects from the late nineteenth century to the present day. Service has finished a biography of Leon Trotsky, drawing on the Hoover Archives, which will be published by Macmillan and Harvard University Press in October 2009. He is the author of The Russian Revolution 1900–1927, 4th edition (London, 2009), Lenin: A Biography (London, 2000), “Architectural Problems of Reform in the Soviet Union: From Design to Collapse” in Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions, vol. 2 (2001), Russia: Experiment with a People (London and Harvard, 2002), “Stalinism and the Soviet State Order,” in Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions, vol. 1 (2003), A History of Modern Russia. From Tsarism to the Twenty-First Century, 3rd edition, expanded and updated (London and Cambridge, Mass., 2009), Stalin: A Biography (London and Cambridge, Mass., 2004), “Military Policy, International Relations and Soviet Security after October 1917,” in Russia: War, Peace and Diplomacy. Essays in Honour of John Erickson (London, 2004), “Soviet Political Leadership and 'Sovietological' Modelling,” in Leading Russia: Putin in Perspective: Essays in Honour of Archie Brown (Oxford , 2005), and Comrades: A World History of Communism (London and Cambridge, Mass., 2007). Service holds an M.A. in modern languages from the University of Cambridge and an M.A and a Ph.D. in government from the University of Essex.
  • Reverend Al Sharpton Reverend Al Sharpton is one of the nation's most-renowned civil rights leaders and the founder and President of the National Action Network (NAN), a not-for-profit civil rights organization based in Harlem, New York. Rev. Sharpton’s strong commitment to equality and progressive politics has had an irrefutable impact on national politics, as evidenced by his noteworthy presidential run as a U.S. Democratic candidate in 2004 and his compelling speech at the Democratic National Convention. Throughout his career he has challenged the American political establishment to include all people in the dialogue regardless of race, gender, class or beliefs. He is a nationally-syndicated radio host, T.V. personality, and columnist. He has three popular radio shows broadcast throughout the country, a regular television show featured on TV One, and a column that appears in national newspapers across the country. Rev. Sharpton says his religious convictions are the basis for his life and he preaches throughout the country most Sundays.
  • Zoe Stagg Zoë Stagg is a writer who splits her time between San Francisco and New York City. With a Master’s in speech communication, her work has been featured, or is forthcoming, in Ready Made, San Francisco Magazine, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Sunset, Co-ed, Veg news, Relate, New York Moves, and Roam.
  • Baratunde Thurston Baratunde Thurston is a technology-loving comedian from the future who cares enough about the world to engage with it politically. Yes, he votes. Regularly. With an ancestry that includes a great-grandfather who taught himself to read, a grandmother who was the first black employee at the U.S. Supreme Court building and a mother who took over radio stations in the name of the black liberation struggle, Baratunde has long been taught to question authority. It helps that he was raised in Washington, D.C. under crackhead Mayor Marion Barry.

    His creative and inquisitive mind, forged by his mother’s lessons and polished by a philosophy degree from Harvard, have found expression in his monthly Fast Company column, on the sound waves of NPR, and on the screens of news networks such as CNN, MSNBC, BBC, Al Jazeera English and This Week In Tech. He even hosted his own show on Discovery Science called Popular Science's Future Of.

    Far from simply appearing in media, Baratunde is also helping defining its future. In 2006 he co-founded Jack & Jill Politics, a black political blog whose coverage of the 2008 Democratic National Convention has been archived by the Library Of Congress. From 2007 to 2012, he helped bring one of America’s finest journalistic institutions into the future, serving as Director of Digital for The Onion. In 2011 he was a judge for the Knight News Challenge, a media innovation contest which funds experiments in the future of news. His book, How To Be Black, was published by Harper Collins in February 2012 and is a New York Times best-seller.
  • Don Watson Don Watson is one of Australia's most distinguished writers and public speakers. He grew up on a farm in Gippsland, took his undergraduate degree at La Trobe University and a Ph.D at Monash and was for ten years an academic historian.

    He wrote three books on Australian history before turning his hand to TV and the stage. For several years he combined writing political satire for the actor Max Gillies with political speeches for the former Victorian Premier John Cain. In 1992 he became Prime Minister Paul Keating's speech-writer and adviser and his best-selling account of those years, Recollections of a Bleeding Heart': Paul Keating Prime Minister, won both the The Age Book of the Year and Non-Fiction Prizes, the Brisbane Courier Mail Book of the Year, the National Biography Award and the Australian Literary Studies Association's Book of the Year.

    In addition to regular books, articles and essays, in recent years he has also written feature films, including "The Man Who Sued God," starring Billy Connolly and Judy Davis.

    His 2001 Quarterly Essay Rabbit Syndrome: Australia and America won the inaugural The Alfred Deakin Prize in the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards. Death Sentence, his book about the decay of public language, was also a best seller and won the Australian Booksellers Association Book of the Year. It was published in the UK and the US. Watson's Dictionary of Weasel Words was published in 2004 and continued to encourage readers to renounce what he perceives to be meaningless corporate and government jargon that is spreading throughout Australia and embrace meaningful, precise language. More recently Don contributed the preface to a selection of Mark Twain's writings, The Wayward Tourist.

    His latest book, American Journeys, is a narrative of modern America from Watson's travels in the United States post-Hurricane Katrina. Traveling the railways and highways, he writes about religion, race, class, places, politics and people; the noble dreams and confounding paradoxes of the world's greatest democracy and superpower. It was published by Knopf in 2008 and again won both the The Age Book of the Year Non-fiction and Book of the Year Awards.
  • Lizz Winstead Lizz Winstead is a Minnesota-born comedian who was co-creator of The Daily Show along with Madeline Smithberg, and served as head writer.

About this series

The FORA.tv community celebrates the life of one of our favorite speakers: the great Christopher Hitchens. No one embodied the spirit of fearless inquiry and open, informed public discourse more than Christopher Hitchens. We are deeply saddened by his passing.

Our Tribute to Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) provides a dedicated series of videos featuring the life and legacy of one of the most prominent public
intellectuals of our time.