RIP. He will be missed.
Little-known fact: He was a big fan of space. He was on the board of The Space Foundation. He never used email, but I sent some stuff to him once via his wife, and he wrote a nice letter thanking me.
[Update late afternoon]
John Podhoretz remembers him.
[Update Wednesday morning]
This kind of thing is why he was a national treasure.
Matt Labash remembers him, as does Jonathan Last.
9 thoughts on “P.J. O’Rourke”
He will be greatly missed. I loved his columns and his books “All the Trouble in the World” and “Modern Manners”. They’re not releasing his cause of death yet, but I remember that years ago he was singing the praises of a donut-shaped seat cushion while he was dealing with a related type of cancer.
I have this vision of he and Hitch getting together and… I donno, but the mind boggles. Seriously, of all the people, *him* we need right now. Damnit. Exposure to he and Car & Driver were the trigger that turned me into a classical liberal. RIP old man. Thanks for the laughs when I most needed them, and the wisdom. Oh, and “Parliament of Whores” may be the best book title ever, and I will die on that hill (so to speak). 🥃
“Parliament of Whores” should be part of the public school civics curriculum. O’Rourke’s wit would do much to keep teenagers’ attention.
From Parliament of Whores, my favorite quote on politics: “Giving power and money to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys”.
My fave is from his crossing of borders in the Middle East to get his next book.
He was subject to the most scrutiny entering Israel after having toured all the countries Israel is in conflict with.
“What is the purpose of your visit?”
“I’m on vacation.”
The Israeli reservist manning the checkpoint replies ruefully, “So am I.”
My next favorite is how people in neighboring Arab states tell Syrian jokes.
A man drives his VW Beetle up to a checkpoint manned by the Syrian Army. The soldier barks at him, “Open the trunk!’ So the man goes to the front of the car and opens the front luggage compartment — it is well known in all parts of the world that the engine on that car is in the back.
The Syrian Army soldier screams at him, “I ordered you to open the trunk! You opened the front! What kind of idiot do you take me for, open the trunk!”
As is the custom in that part of the world where officials make unreasonable demands, the man just shrugs, walks to the back and opens the engine compartment.
The Syrian shouts back, “Aha, I knew you were up to something! I see that you have stolen an engine, and you have just done it because it is still running!”
I used it twice in Intro American Government college classes in the 1990s. Partly just to see if the school would let me. The students loved it.
Everyone loves to plump for his political humor books, but I’d like to put in a word for The Bachelor Home Companion. I had no idea that garden hoses and whiskey could be so useful for basic housekeeping.
Not only that, persons other than single men have no appreciation for how much clothes can go into one load of the washing machine.
I spotted a meme the other day containing a quote from O’Rourke:
“At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child – miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill-disciplined, despotic and useless. Liberalism is a philosophy of sniveling brats.”
Had I never heard of this author beforehand, this quote would have sufficed to inform me of his genius.
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