The Match-Up: In this corner, the second to last book I read, Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher's brief, unrelentingly sarcastic bio-pastiche. It's a transcription of her one woman show, and it's mostly about fame, drugs and mental illness. Miss Fisher employs her entertaining "Dorothy Parker from the 'Me-Generation'" personality to full effect, but skimps on personal revelations in favour of glib self exposure.
In the opposite corner, the last book I read, Christopher Hitchens's Hitch 22. The professional intellectual and iconoclast looks back at his life as a former shit-stirrer for lefty causes, his sucking around with literary types, and the de-evolution (some might say intelligent design) of his pro-war beliefs. Mr. Hitchens is his usual well-read, merciless self, and, needless to say, he skimps on personal revelations in favour of glib self promotion.
Who Reads Their Stuff Better? I listened to both books on audio, and Hitchens wins. Carrie's a great reader and performer, and she does a Debbie Reynolds (her mom) that is spot on and hilarious, but she tends to get very shrill. Hitchens underplayed his material in his usual smarmy, smug way, but managed to be less tiresome over a longer haul.
Who Name-Drops Better? Frankly, as a Star Wars fan boy, I was hoping for more dish on George and Harrison and Mark. Instead, Carrie mostly talks about her mom, her former husband, Paul Simon, and her sleazo dad, Eddie Fischer. Still, dishing as she is about real, honest to goodness Beautiful People, what chance does Hitchens with his writers and dissidents and politcos stand? The win goes to Carrie.
Who Did Drugs Better? All due respect, but the amusing drunk thing is really old, Hitch. Carrie has done everything but Death Sticks ... on top of a bi-polar condition. Two for Carrie.
Who Made Me Feel More Like A Failure? Carrie might've been in the movies, but Hitchens gets to be famous just for writing and saying whatever crap comes into his coconut. I'm also in jealous awe of the endless number of places he's been and people he's talked to. And that's odd, cause I don't like to travel and I hate talking to people.
Who Tells The Most "You Had To Be There" Stories? Hitchens helpfully devalues all of the neat stuff mentioned above by recounting (at length) the piss-up word game session he had with Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie, and others. Did I say at length? I meant ad excrutiating nauseum. Women are not funny, Hitch? Are they as not funny as drunk-off-their-ass pretentious Oxford grads?
Whose More Grown Up? Neither. Carrie's mea culpas are few and far between, as are Hitchens'.
Who Would I Rather Hang Out With? Natalie Portman or Jon Stewart.