No one smoked or drank on stage during the memorial for Christopher Hitchens, although one overhead picture featured a cigarette drooping from his mouth. And few of the speakers swore, unless quoting from their departed friend.
Hundreds filled Cooper Union's Great Hall in lower Manhattan on Friday to honor a provocative author and committed atheist who, unless mistaken about the cosmos, could not respond.
Hitchens, who died last year at age 62 after an 18-month battle with cancer, lived as richly as he wrote. The ceremony included readings by actor Sean Penn, actress Olivia Wilde, scientist Lawrence Krauss and authors Salman Rushdie and Ian McEwan.
The eulogy was given by novelist Martin Amis, who called Hitchens an "auto-contrarian," but concluded: "Hitch was penetratingly sane. He knew who he was."