P.J. O’Rourke Wrote With High, Cranky Style in a Shrinking Tradition

P.J. O’Rourke Wrote With Excessive, Cranky Type in a Shrinking Custom

This euphoric passage from that piece, about overtaking a Porsche, is nearly as good a snippet of O’Rourke’s excessive fashion as any:

We got here by a 930 Turbo Porsche close to the Talladega exit. He was going about 90 after we handed him, and he gave us somewhat little bit of a run, handed us at about 110, after which we handed him once more. He was as recreation as anyone we got here throughout and was hanging proper on our tail at 120. Ah, however then — then we simply walked away from him. 5 seconds and he was nothing however a overturned-boat-shaped dot within the mirrors. I suppose he may have stored up, however driving a kind of ass-engined Nazi slot automobiles should be a job at round 225 p.c of the velocity restrict. However not for us. I’ve obtained extra vibration right here on my electrical typewriter than we had blasting into Birmingham that stunning morning in that stunning automobile on a good looking tour throughout this glorious nation from the towers of Manhattan to the bluffs of Topanga Canyon so quick we crammed the appointment logs of optometrists’ workplaces in 30 cities simply from folks getting their eyes checked for seeing streaks as a result of they’d watched us go by.

For a few years O’Rourke was Rolling Stone’s foreign-affairs desk chief. He was a detector of dichotomies, when he wasn’t camped out like Graham Greene in a lodge bar. “Every American embassy comes with two everlasting options,” he wrote: “an enormous anti-American demonstration and an enormous line for American visas.”

O’Rourke’s conservatism wasn’t doctrinaire. Like H.L. Mencken, who influenced his writing, his bedrock loathing was for sanctimony. Liberals, to O’Rourke, had been pretentious bores who need to “make us carry our groceries house in our mouths.”

“By loudly denouncing all unhealthy issues — struggle and starvation and date rape — liberals testify to their very own terrific goodness,” he wrote. He added: “It’s a sort of pure aristocracy, and the beauty of this aristocracy is that you just don’t need to be courageous, sensible, sturdy and even fortunate to affix it, you simply need to be liberal.”

But he voted for Hillary Clinton. “She’s flawed about completely all the things,” he mentioned, “however she’s flawed inside regular parameters.” About Trump he mentioned, “This man simply can’t be president. They’ve obtained this button, , within the briefcase. He’s going to search out it.”

He provoked the suitable in different methods. Accepting asylum seekers was in step with conservative ideas, he argued: “Aren’t we pro-life?” he requested. “Aren’t refugees life?”

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