Some Thursday nights you turn on the TV and wonder what insane Fassbinder movie about five people tormenting each other in a madhouse SBS is running now -- and then realise that it's Q and A on the ABC. But last night's was special, with Christopher Hitchens sandblasted and propped up like a Beluga whale in a suit, between Frank Brennan and Sally Warhaft, the latter's blond curls not the only way, that evening, in which she resembled Harpo Marx.

Still, not Sally's fault when another participant was Anne Henderson, on day release from the Sydney Institute. There's one rule of these gabfests -- don't get into a fight you can't win -- and Anne should tattoo it on the back of her eyelids for future reference, for her baiting, needling attack on the Hitch was deeply embarrassing. Her initial argument -- that she and other "cultural Catholics" had visited people in detention centres but lefties hadn't and that showed how much better religious people were -- was not only a patent falsehood (most of the visitors and campaigners for refugees were from the left) but left her open to Hitchens's obvious point, that Hamas and Mother Teresa made the same claims for their questionable (in different ways) commitment to human good as evidenced by charitable works, and it was no real proof of anything.