Once in a while a well-known person who is by no means without their human shortcomings drops off the perch, and there is a deluge of eulogising across all media - a Peter Cook, or a Paul Foot: and you realise just how much they were loved and admired, failings and all.
Now the pent-up Christopher Hitchens dam has broken, and of all people in the universe he wouldn't (couldn't) complain if someone were to poop his party.
So, throwing nihil nisi bonum to the winds: isn't some of this rather odd ? In April, best chum Martin Amis got his eulogy in early: "Martin Amis hails the peerless intelligence and rhetorical ingenuity of his exceptional friend" (Observer, April - a piece that was taken down from the www so quickly one could only assume someone told him how strange it was).
Its centrepiece was a sequence of wit-and-wisdom illustrations, one of which went as follows. CH and MA are in a New York restaurant. A trendily casual waiter happens over with some bad news to impart: something's off the menu or whatever. He approaches the table and sinks down onto his haunches to convey the message, saying: guys, you're going to hate me for this...
Quick as a flash, the peerless Hitchens replies: It's OK, we hate you already.
err ... right.
Perhaps you had to be there.
Correction: I am reliably informed (see comments) that it was not a waiter that was on the receiving end of this incredible witticism