Rex Murphy is a Canadian icon. His acerbic wit legendary. At times though, he becomes what he mocks.
In a piece for the National Post entitled; The angry atheist, Mr. Murphy accuses Christopher Hitchens of being ‘unmanly’ in his criticisms of Mother Theresa. He describes Hitchens’ The Missionary Position as a; “wretched addition to the bloated ‘trying too hard’ or ‘look at me’ school of contrarian commentary that illustrated, with needless vigour, the other sad category of anti-god apologetics— the ‘I’m so angry other people are so stupid for believing in God and are therefore not as smart as me’ stream”. I take it Mr. Murphy didn’t like the Missionary Position. But why did it take Rex Murphy almost twenty years after publication to voice his critique?
The reason is that Rex Murphy is simply another in a long list of pseudo-intellectual cowards that didn’t have the balls to take on Hitchens when he was alive, preferring instead to challenge only when Hitchens was safely tucked away in the grave. Talk about unmanly. On the 1 to 100 manliness scale, Mr. Murphy scores a zero.
Dead as he is though, Mr. Hitchens critique fares better than Mr. Murphy’s. Nowhere in Mr. Murphy’s criticism does he make any arguments against Hitchens’ view. Presumably, because he doesn’t have any arguments. Mr. Murphy simply lacks the intellectual muscle to make one. Rather, he rants, raves, and knocks down straw men. Mr. Murphy writes well. But he suffers from that fatal hubris of journalists–confusing the ability to write intelligently with having something intelligent to say.
Rex Murphy is very good at political commentary and mocking the easy targets that subject entails. But he needs to leave the important and serious issues of the day to the big boys that can handle it. Men like Hitchens. Witty writing is no substitute for substance. That’s why Rex Murphy is destined for Little League.