September 03, 2003


Fun P.J. O’Rourke interview in The Onion:

The Onion: Were you ever at The Harvard Lampoon?

P.J. O'Rourke: Oh, no. Christ, I went to Miami of Ohio. I couldn't have gotten into Harvard with a crowbar.

In the interview, P.J. mentions -- in some cases surprisingly -- Tina Brown, Hunter S. Thompson, and Michael Moore, among others.

Posted by Tim Blair at September 3, 2003 07:07 PM

The "Harvard Lampoon" was set up by Doug Kenny, one of the founders of "National Lampoon".
Kenny wrote "Animal House", and appeared as the apparently brain-damaged character "Stork".
He also wrote a great parody of "Lord of the Rings", titled "Bored of the Rings".
Poor bastard died in a climbing accident- just goes to show that now good ever comes from healthy outdoors activites.

Posted by: Habib Bickford at September 3, 2003 at 07:20 PM

I liked this bit:

O: Do you find that political humorists are inclined to look for things to be annoyed about? Do you find yourself approaching every news story with an eye toward potential mockery?

PO: If you're doing a column, you kind of have to. Like in the back of Sports Illustrated, Rick Reilly has to find something to be mad about. It's not really the way I approach things.

Not sure why I mention that.

Posted by: Mork at September 3, 2003 at 07:46 PM

"The "Harvard Lampoon" was set up by Doug Kenny, one of the founders of "National Lampoon"."

Wasn't it the other way around?

And the big problem I have with ole Peejay is that he was so good, he inspired a legion of half-arsed imitators - Orwellisian party animals, who are legends in their own blogs.

And in "Parliament of Whores", he (PJ, not E. Blair) did make it clear he saw both left and right ideologues ("my needs/beliefs come first") as the prime cause of intrusive and incompetent government.

Posted by: Elitism For The People at September 3, 2003 at 11:38 PM

Harvard Lampoon predated National Lampoon by some years.

Posted by: Habib Bickford at September 3, 2003 at 11:56 PM

Habib - "Doh!'

And "Lampoon" itself was derived from french terms of the 16th/17th century meaning:
- "swelling of the mucous membrane of the hard palate of horses"; and/or
- lampons, "let us drink" - from a common refrain in drinking songs.

Then revived by East Coast liberal Uni smartarses, whose creation mutated into the first platform for ole PeeJay.

Posted by: Elitism For The People at September 4, 2003 at 12:42 AM

E for the P,

Thanks for splainin that for me, I thought that lampoon had to do with the reperductive organs of female sheeps.

Posted by: ZsaZsa at September 4, 2003 at 01:46 AM

As you can surmise by this interview, PJ is a wonderfully entertaining speaker, too. I heard him speak at a local college a few years ago. His comments were good, but his handling of the Q and A were priceless.

He gave big kudos to Dave Barry then, too. And to Hayek.

Posted by: timks at September 4, 2003 at 03:47 AM

Yup, PeeJay is one of the all time great US barbed humourists/clear-eyed satirists.

I'd put him up there with Mark Twain, Will Rogers and HL Mencken.

Posted by: Elitism For The People at September 4, 2003 at 04:06 AM

I heard PJ speak a few years ago and he was great. The one answer that sticks in my brain was his response to a guy who wanted to know why PJ wasn't a Libertarian. PJ said he didn't want to have to attend Libertarian parties where the conversation would eventually get around to the details of privatizing trash collecting.

Posted by: Polly at September 4, 2003 at 07:47 AM

He talks about Mike Kelly a lot without mentioning his death just a couple of months ago. Odd.

PJ's articles and books have become terribly didactic over the last few years. The humour feels retrofitted.

Posted by: Alex Hidell at September 4, 2003 at 10:39 AM

PJ, Mark Steyn, Peter Ruehl (?sp) - a summer's worth of reading.

I agree with Habib about healthy outdoor activities - my knees and back are buggerred from 10 years in the Army so I don't like running, shoulders u/s from Rugby so swimming is out - took up bike riding (low impact/aerobic etc) - got hit by a fucking car last August!

Posted by: Razor at September 4, 2003 at 12:18 PM

Anybody else note that he said he likes Michael Moore? I suppose you can laugh at jokes even if you don't agree with them. I doubt many lefties have the mental agility to do that.

Posted by: Razor at September 4, 2003 at 12:20 PM

Why can't I just laugh at Michael Moore's japes?

Because of the mental image I have of all the thousands of lefties sneering and shrieking and snorting and furiously nodding their stupid-ass heads up and down as Moore makes another low-blow half-cocked point via selective footage, selective quotes with that inane idiot-savant expression on his gab.

So fuck off, liar Moore. And take your stupid 'Aren't I a great lil' guy' baseball cap with you.

Posted by: ilibcc at September 4, 2003 at 01:04 PM

Alex, how can you say that? I read P.J.'s book The C.E.O. of the Sofa earlier this year and thought it was one of his best. (I've read about five other books by him). Fave moments include: P.J. teaching the kids to drive; the dippy babysitters mother who invents games like Significant Pursuit (as opposed to Trivial Pursuit) and Tug-of-Peace; and P.J. talking about the first 'march for ecological awareness.'

I was at the first march for ecological awareness. We found it, as I recall, behind the baseball stands. A guy named Groovy was selling it for three dollars...

Ladies and gentlemen, the master is still with us...

Posted by: Tim "P.J. fan" T at September 4, 2003 at 02:32 PM


I've read all his stuff. He deserves all the plaudits he gets. That said, his best work is behind him.

I'm not just talking about CEO of the Sofa - there's his articles for the Weekly Standard and Cato as well. This for example. It's OK, its just not brilliant.

Posted by: Alex Hidell at September 4, 2003 at 03:10 PM

CEO of the Sofa was okay, but not great. My faves would have to be Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence and a Bad Haircut and Eat the Rich.

Posted by: Robert at September 4, 2003 at 03:40 PM

We might have to agree to disagree on this one. My favourite P.J. books are Give War a Chance and The CEO of the Sofa, for very different reasons. The first because it has P.J. in full-blown Republican mode, with classics like "An article in favour of automobiles over pedestrians" an "At Home with the Carters". It was my introduction to P.J. world, and I loved it. I loved it because it was so outrageous.
I loved the CEO of the Sofa because, although it wasn't as outrageous as Give War a Chance, it was a great example of sustained humour - the jokes just kept on coming at you, and many of them were sustained over several chapters. I also loved the characters - his daughter, the babysitter, the babysitters mother, his long suffering wife, his Democrat neighbours, etc, etc.
And Robert, I didn't like Eat the Rich at all! Even P.J. O'Rourke, it seems, can't make economics interesting. Not for me, at least...

Posted by: TimT at September 4, 2003 at 04:42 PM

'Holidays in hell' was the funniest in my opinion.

I laughed out loud all the way through it.

'Give war a chance' was good too.

Posted by: dee at September 4, 2003 at 06:35 PM

TimT, I read Eat the Rich in Year 12, when I was still considering doing an economics degree. It was (is) hilarious, and I use it to tutor my brother's friends now.

I still haven't read Give War a Chance, although it's been in my "To Read" pile for almost a year now.

Posted by: Robert at September 4, 2003 at 09:29 PM

How about "How To Drive Fast On Drugs While Having Your Wing-Wang Squeezed and Not Spill your Drink"?
They don't write titles like that anymore.
(Or give that sort of practical advice).

Posted by: Habib Bickford at September 4, 2003 at 11:01 PM