P. J. O'Rourke

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P. J. O'Rourke
PJ O'Rourke 1.jpg
O'Rourke in 2007
Born Patrick Jake O'Rourke
(1947-11-14) November 14, 1947 (age 68)
Toledo, Ohio, U.S.
Education Miami University
Johns Hopkins University
Occupation Political satirist
journalist
writer

Patrick Jake "P. J." O'Rourke (/rʊərk/; born November 14, 1947) is an American political satirist and journalist. O'Rourke is the H. L. Mencken Research Fellow at the Cato Institute and is a regular correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, The American Spectator, and The Weekly Standard, and frequent panelist on National Public Radio's game show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!. Since 2011 O'Rourke has been a columnist at The Daily Beast.[1] In the United Kingdom, he is known as the face of a long-running series of television advertisements for British Airways in the 1990s.

He is the author of 20 books, the best known of which are Holidays in Hell, a compilation of O'Rourke's articles as a free-lance foreign correspondent, All the Trouble in the World, an examination of current political concerns such as global warming and famine from a Libertarian perspective, and Parliament of Whores, a scathing yet humorous indictment of the Federal government best summed up by the quote "if government were a product, selling it would be illegal."

Life and career[edit]

P. J. O'Rourke was born in Toledo, Ohio, the son of Delphine (Loy), a housewife, and Clifford Bronson O'Rourke, a car salesman.[2][3] He attended Toledo's DeVilbiss High School, graduating in 1965. He did his undergraduate work at Miami University, in Ohio, and earned an M.A. in English at Johns Hopkins University while a brother of the Alpha Delta Phi Literary Society. He claims that during his student days he was a left-leaning hippie, but that in the 1970s his political views underwent a volte-face. He emerged as a political observer and humorist with conservative and libertarian viewpoints.

O'Rourke wrote articles for several publications, including "A.J. at N.Y.U." for The Rip Off Review of Western Culture, an underground magazine/comic book, in 1972, as well as pieces for the Baltimore underground newspaper Harry and the New York Ace, before joining National Lampoon in 1973, where he served as managing editor among other roles and authored articles such as "Foreigners Around the World" and "How to Drive Fast on Drugs While Getting Your Wing-Wang Squeezed and Not Spill Your Drink." He received a writing credit for National Lampoon's Lemmings which helped launch the careers of John Belushi, Chevy Chase and Christopher Guest. He also co-wrote National Lampoon's 1964 High School Yearbook with Douglas Kenney. O'Rourke said later that Kenney brought comedy to the piece and he brought the organization. The Yearbook was a bestseller and some themes were later used in the movie Animal House.

Going freelance in 1981, O'Rourke began publishing in magazines such as Playboy, Vanity Fair, Car and Driver, and Rolling Stone. He became foreign-affairs desk chief at Rolling Stone, where he remained until 2001. In 1996, he served as the conservative commentator in the point-counterpoint segment of 60 Minutes. During the Bosnian genocide, O'Rourke received criticism for using the American public's lack of interest in Bosnia as a way to joke about "unspellables killing the unpronouncables."[4]

O'Rourke was married to Amy Lumet, a daughter of movie director Sidney Lumet and a granddaughter of Lena Horne, from 1990 to 1993. Since 1995 he has been married to his second wife, Tina, and they have two daughters, Elizabeth and Olivia, and one son, Clifford. O'Rourke splits his time between the small town of Sharon, New Hampshire, and Washington, D.C.

O'Rourke has published 16 books, including three New York Times bestsellers. Parliament of Whores and Give War a Chance reached #1 on the New York Times Best Seller List. O'Rourke was a "Real Time Real Reporter" for Real Time with Bill Maher covering the 2008 Presidential Election.

O'Rourke revealed on September 28, 2008, that he has been diagnosed with treatable anal cancer, from which he can expect "a 95% chance of survival."[5]

In 2009, O'Rourke described the Presidency of Barack Obama as "the Carter administration in better sweaters".[6] In 2016, he endorsed the presidential candidate Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. O'Rouke stated that his endorsement included her "lies and empty promises," and said, "She's wrong about absolutely everything, but she's wrong within normal parameters."[7]

Writing[edit]

O'Rourke was a proponent of Gonzo journalism; one of his earliest and best-regarded pieces was "How to Drive Fast on Drugs While Getting Your Wing-Wang Squeezed and Not Spill Your Drink", a National Lampoon article in March 1979.[8] The article was republished in two of his books, Republican Party Reptile (1987) and Driving Like Crazy (2009).

O'Rourke's best-received book is Parliament of Whores, subtitled A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government, whose main argument, according to the author, "is that politics are boring".[9]

O'Rourke has described himself as a libertarian.[10]

O'Rourke types his manuscripts on an IBM Selectric typewriter, though he denies that he is a Luddite, asserting that his short attention span would make focusing on writing on a computer difficult.[11] In a January 2007 interview, O'Rourke gave an example of his view of computers and writing by referencing novelist Stephen King, whom he paraphrased – saying had he a computer, he could have written three times as much in his early days. To which O'Rourke remarked, "Does the world need three times as many Cujos? Three times as many Jane Austens, maybe."[citation needed]

Bibliography[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1] P.J. O'Rourke's author page at The Daily Beast
  2. ^ http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20120668,00.html
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ BBC News, Matt Frei, October 29, 2009 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/world_news_america/8331074.stm
  5. ^ Give me liberty and give me death, Los Angeles Times September 28, 2008
  6. ^ Shanahan, Leo (23 April 2009). "The world (and its crisis) according to P.J.". The Age. Melbourne: Fairfax Media. Retrieved 22 December 2011. 
  7. ^ Gass, Nick. "P.J. O'Rourke hate-endorses Hillary Clinton on NPR quiz show". Politico. Retrieved May 18, 2016. 
  8. ^ Full text at the Wayback Machine (archived January 24, 2003), National Lampoon mirror, Internet Archive, archive made 01-24-2003, archive retrieved 05-05-2007.
  9. ^ Swirski, Peter (2010). "Ars Americana Ars Politica". McGill-Queen’s University Press. 
  10. ^ Live Online with PJ O'Rourke, Washington Post September 10th, 2001
  11. ^ Garner, Dwight (November 9, 2007). "Stray Questions for: P. J. O'Rourke". The New York Times. 

External links[edit]