Although Christopher Hitchens writes for Vanity Fair, I do not read or subscribe to the magazine (the same cannot be said about other magazines he writes for, such as Free Inquiry). I regret my lack of interest in Vanity Fair when I see I’ve missed doozies like this:
On the Limits of Self-Improvement, Part I
There’s an entire micro-economy based on the pursuit of betterment. The author—58, full-figured, and ferocious in his consumption of cigarettes and scotch—agreed to test its limits, starting with the Executive De-Stress Treatment at a high-end spa.
by Christopher Hitchens October 2007
egin professional report and opinion here:
Insofar as we are able to be objective, here follows a brief physical review of the subject, Christopher Eric Hitchens, at the time of this writing enjoying his 59th summer. Obstacles to the continuance of such enjoyment may be listed in no especial order as follows.The subject has good genes on both sides of his family and has been mercilessly exploiting this inherited advantage for some decades. An initial review of his facial features, as glimpsed in the shaving mirror, reveals relatively few lines or wrinkles and only a respectable minimum of secondary or tertiary chins. However, this may be because the skin is so tightly stretched by the generally porpoise-like condition of the body when considered—which with a shudder it must be—as a whole. Moreover, the fabled blue eyes and long, curled eyelashes (for some years the toast of both sexes on five continents) are now somewhat obscured by the ravages of rosacea and blepharitis, which on certain days lend a flaky aspect to the picture and at other times give the regrettable impression of a visage that is actually crumbling to powder like a dandruffed scalp. It may be for this reason that the subject prefers to undertake the morning shave through a cloud of blue cigarette smoke that wreathes the scene in the fumes of illusion. (N.B.: This would not altogether account for the subject’s habit of smoking in the shower.)The fanglike teeth are what is sometimes called “British”: sturdy, if unevenly spaced, and have turned an alarming shade of yellow and brown, attributable perhaps to strong coffee as well as to nicotine, Pinot Noir, and other potations.Proceeding south and passing over an almost vanished neck that cannot bear the strain of a fastened top button or the constriction of a tie, we come to a thickly furred chest that, together with a layer of flab, allows the subject to face winter conditions with an almost ursine insouciance. The upper part of this chest, however, has slid deplorably down to the mezzanine floor, and it is our opinion that without his extraordinary genital endowment the subject would have a hard time finding the damn thing, let alone glimpsing it from above.
You know you want to read the rest.