“Although self-billed as an 'investigative humorist,' O'Rourke's dispatches convey far more understanding and insight than more serious-toned pontificating.” -Bill Virgin, Seattle Post Intelligencer
To unravel the mysteries of war, P.J. O'Rourke first visits Kosovo to find out what happens when we try to have one without hurting anybody: “Wherever there's injustice, oppression, and suffering, America will show up six months later and bomb the country next to where it’s happening.” He travels to Israel at the outbreak of the intifada. He flies to Egypt in the wake of the 9/11 terrorists' attacks and contemplates bygone lunacies. “Why are the people in the Middle East so crazy? Here, at the pyramids, was an answer from the earliest days of civilization: People have always been crazy.” He covers the demonstrations and the denunciations of war. “French ideas, French beliefs, and French actions form a sort of lodestone for humanity. A moral compass needle needs a butt end. Wherever direction France is pointing-toward collaboration with Nazis, accommodation with communists, existentialism, Jerry Lewis, or a UN resolution veto-we can go the other way with a quiet conscience.” Finally he arrives in Baghdad with the U.S. Army and, standing in one of Saddam's palaces, decides, “If a reason for invading Iraq was needed, felony interior decorating would have sufficed.”
–Taken from P.J. O'Rourke's website, www.pjorourke.com
Patrick Jake O'Rourke was born in Toledo, Ohio.
“Coming from a lower-class Midwestern background, in one [sense] I do like Madonna. There were hundreds of those girls in my high school-trashy girls-all of them now living in double-wide trailers, if they're lucky, weighing 300 pounds, and with five or six kids by five or six different fathers. It's nice that one of them made it to the top.”
In the ensuing years, he has held a slew of titles (redundancies unintentional): nerd, Republican, hippie, college student, communist, “chemical explorer,” grad student, research fellow, newspaper founder, National Lampoon editor, close friend to Hunter S. Thompson, anti-leftist, war-zone monger and libertarian.
“A libertarian is a conservative with an acknowledged vice, like, say, a teenage girlfriend.”
Oh, and a writer- a best-selling author and world-renowned political satirist, in fact. To date, O'Rourke has authored 12 books that have been translated into a dozen languages (some even spoken in non-democratic regions).
“I tell you, every election, it's a reluctant march to the polls for me. I hate to vote. Of course, we have to do it. We have to vote-otherwise the person our spouse was [voting] for would win.”
O'Rourke writes by a simple code: “Rule No. 1 is to entertain.”
“Why are we so unhappy?…Are we depressed by lowered expectations of some kind? Back in the 1960s, I expected Permanent Woodstock-a whole lifetime of sitting in the mud, smoking Mexican ditch weed, listening to amplifier feedback and pawing a Long Island orthodontist's daughter who thought she was a witch. Show me somebody with expectations lower than that.”
“I once spoke to a group [about gun control], and an Englishwoman said: 'What luck do you think a group of uneducated rednecks would have defending themselves against the government with all of its guns and its planes and tanks?' And I said: 'Well, there's Ireland to be considered. It took us a while, but we did win.'”
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