Category Archive 'P.J. O’Rourke'
16 Feb 2022
The great P.J. O’Rourke died yesterday of lung cancer. He was 74. I’m 73. Imagine how I feel.
You can read his biography in any of the MSM obituaries. Here is the NYT’s.
I suggest reading a few selections from his inimitable prose.
For example, from the introduction to Give War a Chance:
The principal feature of contemporary American liberalism is sanctimoniousness. By loudly denouncing all bad things — war and hunger and date rape — liberals testify to their own terrific goodness. More important, they promote themselves to membership in a self-selecting elite of those who care deeply about such things. People who care a lot are naturally superior to we who don’t care any more than we have to. By virtue of this superiority, the caring have a moral right to lead the nation. It’s a kind of natural aristocracy, and the wonderful thing about this aristocracy is that you don’t have to be brave, smart, strong or even lucky to join it, you just have to be liberal.
Liberals actually hate wealth because they hate all success. They hate success especially, of course, when it’s achieved by other people, but sometimes they hate the success they achieve themselves. What’s the use of belonging to a self-selecting elite if there’s a real elite around? Liberals don’t like any form of individual achievement. . . . Also wealth is, for most people, the only honest and likely path to liberty. With money comes power over the world. Men are freed from drudgery, women from exploitation. Businesses can be started, homes built, communities formed, religious practiced, educations pursued. But liberals aren’t very interested in such real and material freedoms. Liberals want the freedom to put anything into their mouths, to say bad words, and to expose their private parts in art museums.
And his famous how-to piece from Republican Party Reptile:
How to Drive Fast on Drugs While Getting Your Wing-Wang Squeezed and Not Spill Your Drink.
11 Jul 2017
I was having dinnerâ€¦ in Londonâ€¦ when eventually he got, as the Europeans always do, to the part about â€œYour countryâ€™s never been invaded.â€ And so I said, â€œLet me tell you who those bad guys are. Theyâ€™re us. WE BE BAD. Weâ€™re the baddest-assed sons of bitches that ever jogged in Reeboks. Weâ€™re three-quarters grizzly bear and two-thirds car wreck and descended from a stock market crash on our motherâ€™s side. You take your Germany, France, and Spain, roll them all together and it wouldnâ€™t give us room to park our cars. Weâ€™re the big boys, Jack, the original, giant, economy-sized, new and improved butt kickers of all time. When we snort coke in Houston, people lose their hats in Cap dâ€™Antibes. And weâ€™ve got an American Express card credit limit higher than your piss-ant metric numbers go. You say our countryâ€™s never been invaded? Youâ€™re right, little buddy. Because Iâ€™d like to see the needle-dicked foreigners whoâ€™d have the guts to try. We drink napalm to get our hearts started in the morning. A rape and a mugging is our way of saying â€˜Cheerio.â€™ Hell canâ€™t hold our sock-hops.
We walk taller, talk louder, spit further, fuck longer and buy more things than you know the names of. Iâ€™d rather be a junkie in a New York City jail than king, queen, and jack of all Europeans. We eat little countries like this for breakfast and shit them out before lunch.â€
From Sarah Hoyt.
23 May 2017
The libertarian humorist interviews with (T)Reason Magazine’s Nick Gillespie.
The politician creates a powerful, huge, heavy, and unstoppable Monster Truck of a government,” P.J. O’Rourke writes in his new book, How the Hell Did This Happen? (Atlantic Monthly Press). “Then supporters of that politician become shocked and weepy when another politician, whom they detest, gets behind the wheel, turns the truck around, and runs them over.”
07 May 2012
The dinosaur is wearing a “PS” (Parti socialiste) pin in his beret.
Tim Blair offers some quotations as commentary on the French election.
P.J. Oâ€™Rourke in 2008:
France is a treasure to mankind. French ideas, French beliefs, and French actions form a sort of loadstone for humanity. Because a moral compass needle needs a butt end. Whatever direction France is pointing inâ€”toward Nazi collaboration, Communism, existentialism, Jerry Lewis movies, or President Sarkozyâ€™s personal lifeâ€”you can go the other way with a clear conscience.
France in 2012:
French voters elected FranÃ§ois Hollande as president on Sunday, giving the country a Socialist leader who has pledged to shift the burden of hardship to the rich and resolve the protracted euro-zone sovereign-debt crisis by softening the current prescription of austerity.
Time to haul right and stomp welfare. History is our guide.
UPDATE. Iowahawk: â€œIf white people are so smart, then how do you explain Europe?â€
26 Jan 2012
P.J. O’Rourke isn’t fooled. The American elites claim to represent the interests of the poor in order to credential their own class’s power grabs as a worthy cause, but their real attitude toward people who fail to perform satisfactorily in the meritocratic rat race is one of utter contempt and complete intolerance.
[P]oor people donâ€™t have a lot of pleasures. Sure, they have more sex than progressive elites. But somehow, for poor people, the sex always ends up in illegitimate children or HIV or some bum of a boyfriend instead of leading to, as it does for elites, a Reichian release of primordial cosmic energy or the wonderful self-fulfillment and midlife reawakening of a new divorce. And, yes, the poor have drugs and alcohol, but these bring them nothing but grief. Theyâ€™re not at all like the subtle and refined delights of a 300-bottle wine cellar or the therapeutic relief from Zoloft, Lexapro, Elavil, Ambien, Halcion, Xanax, beta blockers, Levitra, and Cialis.
And poor people do have a lot of troubles. Sometimes, when youâ€™ve got a crap job and are going to get laid off from it besides and your crack-head daughter has three kids by four fathers and your oldest son is on the front in Afghanistan and your youngest son canâ€™t decide which drug crew to join and the cable company has cut off service and somebodyâ€™s jimmying the twelfth lock on the sheet-metal door, youâ€™d like to sit down on your own damn chair in your own damn kitchen and have a smoke.
Well, forget it. The progressive elites are already charging you $7 for that pack of king-size filter tips, and pretty soon theyâ€™re going to add the price of eviction. Because they hate your guts.
The elites who denounce poverty despise the poor. Their every high-minded, right-thinking â€œpoverty programâ€ proves this detestationâ€”from the bulldozing of vibrant tenement communities to the drug law policing policies that send poor kids to prison and rich kids to rehab to the humiliation of food stamps and free school lunches to the loathsome inner-city public schools where those free lunches are slopped onto cafeteria trays.
Read the whole thing.
Hat tip to Victoria Ordin.
23 Oct 2010
Vote for them anyway, P.J. O’Rourke advises. The alternative is democrats, and they hate our guts.
Perhaps youâ€™re having a tiny last minute qualm about voting Republican. Take heart. And take the House and the Senate. Yes, there are a few flakes of dander in the fair tresses of the GOPâ€™s crowning gloryâ€”an isolated isolationist or two, a hint of gold buggery, and Christine Oâ€™Donnell announcing that sheâ€™s not a witch. (I ask you, has Hillary Clinton ever cleared this up?) Fret not over Republican peccadilloes such as the Tea Party finding the single, solitary person in Nevada who couldnâ€™t poll ten to one against Harry Reid. Better to have a few cockeyed mutts running the dog pound than Michael Vick.
I take it back. Using the metaphor of Michael Vick for the Democratic party leadership implies they are people with a capacity for moral redemption who want to call good plays on the legislative gridiron. They arenâ€™t. They donâ€™t. The reason is simple. They hate our guts.
They donâ€™t just hate our Republican, conservative, libertarian, strict constructionist, family values guts. They hate everybodyâ€™s guts. And they hate everybody who has any.
31 May 2009
My dad once owned a 1960 Chevrolet Bel Air
P.J. O’Rourke wrote an elegy for the American Automobile, murdered by federal regulators, union leeches, and socialist looters.
Pointy-headed busybodies of the environmentalist, new urbanist, utopian communitarian ilk blamed the victim. They claimed the car had forced us to live in widely scattered settlements in the great wasteland of big-box stores and the Olive Garden. If we would all just get on our Schwinns or hop a trolley, they said, America could become an archipelago of cozy gulags on the Portland, Ore., model with everyone nestled together in the most sustainably carbon-neutral, diverse and ecologically unimpactful way,
But cars didnâ€™t shape our existence; cars let us escape with our lives. Weâ€™re way the heck out here in Valley Bottom Heights and Trout Antler Estates because we were at war with the cities. We fought rotten public schools, idiot municipal bureaucracies, corrupt political machines, rampant criminality and the pointy-headed busybodies. Cars gave us our dragoons and hussars, lent us speed and mobility, let us scout the terrain and probe the enemyâ€™s lines. And thanks to our cars, when we lost the cities we werenâ€™t forced to surrender, we were able to retreat.
But our poor cars paid the price. They were flashing swords beaten into dull plowshares. Cars became appliances. Or worse. Nobodyâ€™s ticked off at the dryer or the dishwasher, much less the fridge. We recognize these as labor-saving devices. The car, on the other hand, seems to create labor. We hold the car responsible for all the dreary errands to which it needs to be steered. Hell, a golf cartâ€™s more fun. You can ride around in a golf cart with a six-pack, safe from breathalyzers, chasing Canada geese on the fairways and taking swings at gophers with a mashie.
Weâ€™ve lost our love for cars and forgotten our debt to them and meanwhile the pointy-headed busybodies have been exacting their revenge. We escaped the poke of their noses once, when we lived downtown, but we wonâ€™t be able to peel out so fast the next time. In the name of safety, emissions control and fuel economy, the simple mechanical elegance of the automobile has been rendered ponderous, cumbersome and incomprehensible. One might as well pry the back off an iPod as pop the hood on a contemporary motor vehicle. An aging shade-tree mechanic like myself stares aghast and sits back down in the shade. Or would if the car werenâ€™t squawking at me like a rehearsal for divorce. You left the key in. You left the door open. You left the lights on. You left your dirty socks in the middle of the bedroom floor.
I donâ€™t believe the pointy-heads give a damn about climate change or gas mileage, much less about whether I survive a head-on with one of their tax-sucking mass-transit projects. All they want to is to make me hate my car. How proud and handsome would Bucephalas look, or Traveler or Rachel Alexandra, with seat and shoulder belts, air bags, 5-mph bumpers and a maze of pollution-control equipment under the tail?
And thereâ€™s the end of the American automobile industry. When it comes to dull, practical, ugly things that bore and annoy me, Japanese things cost less and the cup holders are more conveniently located.
The American automobile isâ€”that is, wasâ€”never a product of Japanese-style industrialism. Americaâ€™s steel, coal, beer, beaver pelts and PCs may have come from our business plutocracy, but American cars have been manufactured mostly by romantic fools. David Buick, Ransom E. Olds, Louis Chevrolet, Robert and Louis Hupp of the Hupmobile, the Dodge brothers, the Studebaker brothers, the Packard brothers, the Duesenberg brothers, Charles W. Nash, E. L. Cord, John North Willys, Preston Tucker and William H. Murphy, whose Cadillac cars were designed by the young Henry Ford, all went broke making cars. The man who founded General Motors in 1908, William Crapo (really) Durant, went broke twice. Henry Ford, of course, did not go broke, nor was he a romantic, but judging by his opinions he certainly was a fool.
Americaâ€™s romantic foolishness with cars is finished, however, or nearly so. In the far boondocks a few good old boys havenâ€™t got the memo and still tear up the back roads. Doubtless the Obama administrationâ€™s Department of Transportation is even now calculating a way to tap federal stimulus funds for mandatory OnStar installations to locate and subdue these reprobates.
13 Jan 2009
P.J. O’Rourke asks the question of the hour: Is it too soon to talk about the failed Obama presidency just because Obama isn’t president yet?
10 Nov 2008
P.J. O’Rourke is bitter about GOP’s recent defeat, and contends that we conservatives have only ourselves to blame.
In the manner of sophisticated libertarians, he blames, firstly, conservatism’s reliance on non-elite Southerners and people of faith. I’m afraid I don’t agree with the we’d-be-winning-if we-just-kept-the-conservative-movement-for-the-Yuppies-like-us theory. We really do need a few more votes to win nationally. I was actually beginning to wonder if he would start complaining about Sarah Palin and marvelling at how articulate and really really deep Barack Obama is.
Still, I think he’s quite right about prominent portions of the movement being dead wrong on immigration. “Keep those hard-working Roman Catholics with strong family values out of here!” Obama carried the Hispanics, despite McCain’s record of sympathy toward illegal immigrants. McCain was obviously severely disadvantaged by the general GOP party line favoring border fences, heavy-handed immigration law enforcement, and deportations.
Despite certain tendencies toward effete Northeastern elitism, P.J. O’Rourke is witty as ever, and does make some good points.
Let us bend over and kiss our ass goodbye. Our 28-year conservative opportunity to fix the moral and practical boundaries of government is gone–gone with the bear market and the Bear Stearns and the bear that’s headed off to do you-know-what in the woods on our philosophy.
An entire generation has been born, grown up, and had families of its own since Ronald Reagan was elected. And where is the world we promised these children of the Conservative Age? Where is this land of freedom and responsibility, knowledge, opportunity, accomplishment, honor, truth, trust, and one boring hour each week spent in itchy clothes at church, synagogue, or mosque? It lies in ruins at our feet, as well it might, since we ourselves kicked the shining city upon a hill into dust and rubble. The progeny of the Reagan Revolution will live instead in the universe that revolves around Hyde Park.
Mind you, they won’t live in Hyde Park. Those leafy precincts will be reserved for the micromanagers and macro-apparatchiks of liberalism–for Secretary of the Department of Peace Bill Ayers and Secretary of the Department of Fairness Bernardine Dohrn. The formerly independent citizens of our previously self-governed nation will live, as I said, around Hyde Park. They will make what homes they can in the physical, ethical, and intellectual slums of the South Side of Chicago.
The South Side of Chicago is what everyplace in America will be once the Democratic administration and filibuster-resistant Democratic Congress have tackled global warming, sustainability, green alternatives to coal and oil, subprime mortgage foreclosures, consumer protection, business oversight, financial regulation, health care reform, taxes on the “rich,” and urban sprawl. The Democrats will have plenty of time to do all this because conservatism, if it is ever reborn, will not come again in the lifetime of anyone old enough to be rounded up by ACORN and shipped to the polling booths.
None of this is the fault of the left. After the events of the 20th century–national socialism, international socialism, inter-species socialism from Earth First–anyone who is still on the left is obviously insane and not responsible for his or her actions. No, we on the right did it. …
Although I must say we’re doing good work on our final task–attaching the garden hose to our car’s exhaust pipe and running it in through a vent window. Barack and Michelle will be by in a moment with some subsidized ethanol to top up our gas tank. And then we can turn the key.
Read the whole thing.
29 Sep 2008
P.J. O’Rourke encounters the Reaper.
I looked death in the face. All right, I didn’t. I glimpsed him in a crowd. I’ve been diagnosed with cancer, of a very treatable kind. I’m told I have a 95% chance of survival. Come to think of it — as a drinking, smoking, saturated-fat hound — my chance of survival has been improved by cancer.
Read the whole thing.
Best wishes for a complete recovery.
27 Jul 2008
P.J. O’Rourke remembers the good old times when Good King Ronald ruled the land:
Weren’t the eighties grand? Cash grew on trees or, anyway, coca bushes. The rich roamed the land in vast herds hunted by proud, free tribes of investment brokers who lived a simple life in tune with money. Every wristwatch was a Rolex. Every car was a Mercedes-Benz. A fellow could romance a gal without shrink-wrapping his privates and negotiating the Treaty of Ghent. Communist dictators were losing their jobs, not presidents of America and General Motors. Women wore Adolfo gowns instead of dumpy federal circuit court judge robes. The Malcolm who mattered was Forbes. Bill Clinton was only a microscopic polyp in the colon of national politics, and Hillary was still in flight school, hadn’t even soloed on her broom. What a blast we were having. The suburbs had just discovered Martha Stewart, the cities had just discovered crack. So many parties and none of them Democratic…Back then health care was a tummy tuck, not an inalienable right. If you wanted a better environment, you went to Laura Ashley.”
From Samizdata via the Barrister.
09 Jun 2008
The problem on the left is, now that Karl Marx has forsaken them, they have no philosophy. Thank goodness. Think what evil creeps liberals would be if their plans to enfeeble the individual, exhaust the economy, impede the rule of law, and cripple national defense were guided by a coherent ideology instead of smug ignorance.
From No Left Turns via the News Junkie.
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