Check out some of the trash talk before the match. I can envision Gene Okerlund with a microphone vainly trying to restore order here.
When Mr Hitchens dared to question Mr Galloway on his record of support for unsavoury Arab regimes, the MP called him "a drink-soaked former Trotskyite popinjay", and turned away.
Zing - I think. I know what drink-soaked and Trotskyite mean, but popinjay? For that definition, let's go to the Internet:
Popinjay: A vain or conceited person, one given to pretentious displays.
This deeply insulting word is now rather dated or literary. A good example can be found in Joseph Conrad's short story The End of the Tether of 1902: "When he looked around in the club he saw only a lot of conceited popinjays too selfish to think of making a good woman happy."
Dictionaries say a popinjay was also at one time the usual name for a parrot, and in that lies the origin of the derogatory term. What could be more gaudily and squawkingly in your face than a parrot? What more perfect term for an empty chatterer, fop or coxcomb? Who's a pretty boy, then?
I get the sense that would actually be an insult to an Englishman (that is to say a fop or coxcomb).
More pre-debate smack down from Galloway:
if Mr Hitchens chose to get "down and dirty" he would find "my street-fighting style more than a match for his effete public school performance." He added: "If he turns up drunk he'll be a pushover. If he turns up sober he?ll be shaking like a leaf."
Attacking his masculinity and calling him a drunk. Now these are some insults we can all get behind. Surprisingly, I can find no response to these brickbats from the pugnacious Hitchens. Maybe he was taking the high road. But when the debate began Wednesday night, he did do some substantive mudslinging:
I believe it is a disgrace that a member of the British House of Commons should go before the United States Senate Subcommittee, and not testify, but decline to testify, and to insult all those who try to ask him questions with the most vile and cheap gutter snipe abuse, I think that's a disgrace.
Not bad. Calling someone a "gutter snipe" sounds impressive. But upon further review, the term is less than scalding:
a child from a poor area of a town who is dirty and dressed badly
Now that the greater New Orleans area is full of gutter snipes, this actually may backfire on Hitchens. Or perhaps he was using the other definition of gutter snipe:
One or more stamps to which is attached the full gutter from between panes, plus any amount of an adjoining stamp or stamps. This term is typically used in reference to US stamps. Gutter snipes are freaks caused by miss registration of the cutting device or paper fold over.
Take that Galloway - as any philatelist will immediately understand, you're a freak!
As is his style, Galloway takes a more direct approach to analysis by insult:
What you are ... what you have witnessed since is something unique in natural history, the first ever metamorphosis from a butterfly back into a slug. And I mention slug purposely, because the one thing a slug does leave behind it is a trail of slime.
When it comes to verbal slurs, if you pull a knife on Galloway, he pulls a gun. Another of Hitchens verbal thursts during the debate also went awry:
In an apparent Freudian slip, Mr Hitchens confused the Dundee-born politician at one point with Libyan leader "Mr Gaddafi".
Freudian slip or a Tanqueray and tonic slip? I suppose the difference is negligible.
From these reports it doesn't sound like our man Christopher acquitted himself very well. But maybe these are distortions from a gaggle of reporters eager to have their champion Galloway win the day. Fellow cable TV subscribers I have good news, we can decide for ourselves. CSPAN will rebroadcast the debate this Saturday night at 8 PM Central, in what should be must see TV.
As long as we're on the topic of compelling Saturday media options, a reminder to listen to the Northern Alliance Radio Network this week. In addition to the normal blend of brilliant political analysis and inspired lunacy, we'll be interviewing cartoonist extraordinaire, Chris Muir of Day by Day fame. The show is noon to three Saturday afternoon on AM1280 the Patriot. Streaming available here. Don't you dare miss it!