He did not wish to be divine. If there had never been a God, the emperor thought, it might have been easier to work out what goodness was. This business of worship, of the abnegation of self in the face of the Almighty, was a distraction, a false trail. Wherever goodness lay, it did not lie in ritual, unthinking obeisance before a deity but rather, perhaps, in the slow, clumsy, error-strewn working out of an individual or collective path.
On page 605, Blumenthal says that 'I made friends with Hitchens's friends the novelists Martin Amis and Salman Rushdie.' True in its way. I particularly remember the occasion when he called me up and invited me to dinner with Dick Morris, but only on condition that I brought Rushdie (who was staying in my house) along with me. No Rushdie: no invitation. So I never did get to meet Dick Morris.