Christopher Hitchens is clearly controversial and elicits either the deepest adoration from or seething hatred in people. We have enjoyed discussing big thoughts when we ran across each other at various birthday parties that went too late in Adams Morgan and Kalorama-ish homes in Washington. He also visits the New America Foundation from time to time to listen to other speakers (a rare thing for celebrity writers to do actually — listen to others).
I have to admit that I find myself intrigued with him. He is off to do a London Tour with David Horowitz.
Ok, I’m surprised.
I’m all for odd bedfellows — but that’s pretty intense, until I was digging through email and saw that I had been invited to “Children’s Hour” at AEI last month. The anti-gay, anti-abortion Michael Novak put an event together including Bill Kristol and Christopher Hitchens that must have given the kids some intense nightmares.
Here is the program:
The Children’s Hour
A Reading of New and Classic Children’s Poetry
Tuesday, January 25, 2005 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM
Wohlstetter Conference Center, Twelfth Floor, AEI
Children’s poems in Washington! To remind ourselves that not everything in the District of Columbia absolutely must concern politics, Michael Novak has invited Joseph Bottum and friends to read new and classic poems for children at AEI. Bring your kids, young and old, and join us for an evening of tragedy, comedy, sentimentality, goofiness, and fun!
Welcome: Michael Novak, AEI
Joseph Bottum, books and arts editor of The Weekly Standard and poetry editor of the journal First Things; his most recent book is The Pius War.
Mary Eberstadt, a consulting editor to Policy Review and the author of Home-Alone America: The Hidden Toll of Day Care, Behavioral Drugs, and Other Parent Substitutes.
Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts and celebrated poet and critic, whose latest volume is Disappearing Ink: Poetry at the End of Print Culture.
Christopher Hitchens, a widely published essayist, columnist for Vanity Fair, and author of Love, Poverty, and War: Journeys and Essays.
Tim Kelleher, an actor, writer, and director in Los Angeles and New York, whose film credits include the role of Ted Sorenson in Roger Donaldson’s Thirteen Days.
William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard and well-known political commentator for national television.
7:00 Adjournment

I am too cynical to think that this was all just for the sake of spending a fun evening with kids.
I know Chris Hitchens supported the war in Iraq and may have made the AEI crowd his new best friends, but this has got to be a new way for him to spend his evenings.
Could this be young neocon recruitment?
OK, I know I’m overthinking this — but seriously, who would you rather leave your kids with for an evening? A gay Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts (who seemed upstanding enough) or Michael Novak & this gang?
— Steve Clemons