P.J. O'Rourke's Take

Monday, September 27, 2010

In his new book, Don't Vote It Just Encourages the Bastards, P. J. O'Rourke turns his scathing wit to the economic crisis, health care reform and electoral politics. 


P. J. O'Rourke

Comments [19]

amalgam from Manhattan by day, NJ by night

O'Rourke's views - while I often don't agree - are eminently clear.

It's funny to me that O'Rourke and other conservatives are so strongly opposed to Colbert who seems to strikes a nerve by satirizing/mocking their ways. My armchair psychology says that it makes them feel foolish and insecure.

It's also interesting to me, that the vast majority of entertainers in the U.S. (and probably the world) are more left-leaning. It makes me wonder if conservatives, i.e. those supporting the status quo, aren't as compelling or humorous when it come to public entertainment beyond the strict "talk" format. To create something new, one has to be open and buck society's status quo to reveal dark truths which then can be made funny. There is also a sense of righteousness that accompanies the tearing down (deconstructing) of what exists to find something new.

Many conservatives in the U.S. are interested in creative destruction when it comes to market forces, but little else. Market-based creative destruction does appeal to some socially liberal types, though, like true libertarians (who don't give a lick about social conservatism and normally social mores) as well as Neoliberals (who are market-oriented yet socially liberal).

In the grand scope of American humorists from Mark Twain to Dave Chapelle - where are all funny conservatives? (dare I say the wit of William Buckley?...does that count?)

Sep. 27 2010 05:17 PM

There are funnier people than Colbert on the right? Name one. Which should have been Brian's next question. Please.

Sep. 27 2010 11:12 AM
John from office.

Brian, you always edit me when I state the obvious.

No one you spoke to addressed any of the real issues about why these schools fail.

Sep. 27 2010 11:05 AM

If Libertarians are supposedly rationalists, they certainly are not historians. The kind of government they wanted existed in 19th Century Britain and America, leading to Robber Barons, pollution, mass poverty, slave labor and a mulititude of other ills. In NYC slums and malnutrition were the norm, as was the case with in Victorian London.

It was the Libertarian policies of derugulation that led to the recent financial meltdown, not government spending. Laissez-faire is not a political policy, it is an abnegation of responsibility and citizenship.

Sep. 27 2010 11:03 AM

You should ask him instead about the recent poll that found people think O'Reilly, Beck and Limbaugh have had a positive influence on politics. Which is just stunning and you wonder who these people are. In fact you should discuss this surprising finding at some point.

Sep. 27 2010 11:00 AM

"as if congress didn't have enough clowns..." is that what passes for humor with this guy

Sep. 27 2010 10:58 AM
eli from astoria

nice pattern.
o'rourke makes a "point"....brian, in a friendly and reasonable tone of voice, completely destroys his "point" and o'rouke backs off and chuckles.
o'rourke: "the other thing i really LIKE about the TEA party....."
libertarian philosophy: principal before people. always.

Sep. 27 2010 10:57 AM
Bob from Avon-by-the-Sea, NJ

Does O'Rourke really think the Tea Party is a populist, grass roots movement? Someone tell him about the Koch brothers and Fox News.

Sep. 27 2010 10:57 AM

Hey John, is your office in the Cato Institute?

Sep. 27 2010 10:56 AM
Henry from Katonah

Ha ! The Know-Nothing party was after the Whiskey Rebellion.

Sep. 27 2010 10:56 AM
Daniel from Manhattan

PJ, How does the populous address its grievances with the secret security apparatus? How can we throw those "bastards" out if we don't know what's happening? How can we throw an "indispensable" problem? How?

Sep. 27 2010 10:55 AM
Daniel Schiller from Teaneck, NJ

You might want to think twice about hiring Aristotle. His most famous pupil was Alexander the Great.

Sep. 27 2010 10:52 AM

Loved PJ when he wrote for National Lampoon and Rolling Stone. Now he sounds like my grumpy old uncle when he talks about politics and society. He should stick to writing about cars and doing game shows on NPR.

Sep. 27 2010 10:52 AM
C.G. from Manhattan

Is P.J. O'Rourke accounting for health insurance and retirement benefits for Aristotle? What about the pay for the people who maintain the site (keeping it clean and safe) where the classes meet? What about health insurance and retirement benefits for the maintenance crew? What about transportation to the site?

Sep. 27 2010 10:50 AM
Leah from Brooklyn

15 kids being in the care of a constant caregiver and guide in someone's living room is not education, it's motherhood (well, not 15 kids, unless you're in my grandmother's family), and women do it for free every day.

If Mr. O'Rourke is so glib about education reform and the simplicity of the solution, perhaps he should start with himself, quit the Cato Institute, and start teaching.

Sep. 27 2010 10:49 AM
David from Queens

I thought humorists were supposed to be funny.

Sep. 27 2010 10:47 AM

why is this man coming on your show? I watched an interview w/him where he blamed Democrats for the decline of American cities and driving out the so-called responsible republicans out. Not a word about people making more money, seeking more land and bigger homes in the 'burbs and being closer to the country club. He actually tried to make the argument that global warming is worse b/c of the expansion of the suburbs due to Dems taking over big cities and driving their economic decline. Why is this man given a podium on wnyc?!
(The interview in question was w/ kudlow on his cnbc show around june 2009. I watched in disbelief.)

Sep. 27 2010 10:39 AM

i sometimes think that the snide humorous right wingers are just as destructive as the passionate, righteous, religious, angry ones. the encouragement of cynical apathy is deceptive because it seems very reasonable, safe, and even wise/above it all but is actually a bad thing for society. o rourke "outclevers" himself and rarely makes a truly strong well reasoned point....unlike Jon Stewart for example whose humor is backed by an extremely sharp mind and honest concern.

Sep. 27 2010 10:36 AM
David from Montclair

Voting represents the triumph of hopefulness over reality. If politicians knew what to do about the major issues of the day they wouldn't be politicians -- they would be in the private sector investing THEIR money and not public money. I vote out of the sense of obligation.
Also, I vote to assert myself. . . Oh, yes, I forgot, it is hopeless.

Sep. 27 2010 09:40 AM

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