Punch Lines for the Right and the Left

November 29th, 2011

The New York Times
By Dwight Gardner
Nov. 29, 2011

If all of America’s registered Republicans were struck by an ideology-specific bird flu, and 50 among them had to be placed in a secure bunker to repopulate the species entirely, P. J. O’Rourke would hold a place on many people’s list, mine included.

He’s funny. He tends to be against boredom and in favor of the pursuit of nonsobriety. He has a sharp nose for cant and bogusness. His conservatism is rooted in a fondness for ordinary things and a philosophy of individual common sense. It is almost impossible to imagine him as a regular talking head on Fox News.

Mr. O’Rourke spent many years as a dilettantish war correspondent, filing grouchy dispatches from places like South Korea, Nicaragua and the Gaza Strip for magazines that included Rolling Stone and The Atlantic. These were collected in a pretty good book called “Holidays in Hell,” published in 1988. It was filled with sensible advice, like: “Be sure to tip the man who insists, at gunpoint, on guarding your car.”

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