Skip

"The Lighter Side of Pain: What’s Up with Our Global Economy" with P.J. O'Rourke
April 6, 2009 7:35 PM   Subscribe


 
Sounds pretty neat. Is there an audio only version floating around?
posted by ph00dz at 7:44 PM on April 6, 2009


Oops. Nevermind... it lives here: www.wlu.edu/x31805.xml
posted by ph00dz at 7:48 PM on April 6, 2009


FWIW, P.J. has been diagnosed with cancer. Link
posted by Confess, Fletch at 8:06 PM on April 6, 2009


P.J. O'Rourke doesn't even come close to making sense to me. This is no exception. It worries me that someone like myself who has never been to college, seems to have a better grasp of the complexities of the world than a guy who gets to be heard by wide audience. That and he is not funny.
posted by nola at 8:12 PM on April 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


Perhaps if you went to college, he might make more sense to you. That and he can be quite funny.
posted by RavinDave at 8:17 PM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I used to like PJ. A Bachelor's Home Companion still takes pride of place in my toilet bookshelf. But lately...I dunno. He's just become dull. I rarely if ever agreed with him but respected his obvious intelligence, it just feels like the fire's gone out of his belly these days.
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:19 PM on April 6, 2009


Perhaps if you went to college, he might make more sense to you.

Well I guess I left myself open to that, but it seemed to cheap and low for anyone to stoop to get it. Live and learn.
posted by nola at 8:21 PM on April 6, 2009 [9 favorites]


P.J. O'Rourke doesn't even come close to making sense to me.


Really? I liked his advice to today's (late eighties) young

"Pull your pants up, turn your hat around and get a job"

Or the military's nomenclature

"bidirectional multilevular transport asset" - a staircase
posted by mattoxic at 8:22 PM on April 6, 2009


MOUSTACHE-TALITY
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:22 PM on April 6, 2009


That and he is not funny.

I mean... come on. I have deep disagreements with much of his positions, but to say he's not funny just throws any credibility you may have right out the window. PJ is hysterical. If you can sit through this video and not laugh when he compares the effects of Tylenol PM to Viagra, then you my friend probably don't find anything funny.
posted by pwally at 8:26 PM on April 6, 2009


I lost interest in PJ O'Rourke right around the time of "Give War a Chance." He's kind of like Dennis Miller in that self-identifying right wing comics are (just like self-identifying left wing comics) never funny. O'Rourke's humour is just not intellectually honest enough to be even amusing.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:31 PM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]






Holy crap. We linked the same thing, with almost the same text, within less than a minute of one another. I'm off to go wrap my head in foil and yank out my molars looking for radio transmitters.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:34 PM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


heh heh...
posted by Confess, Fletch at 8:37 PM on April 6, 2009


I mean... come on. I have deep disagreements with much of his positions, but to say he's not funny just throws any credibility you may have right out the window.

Well, that depends. Saying P.J. O'Rourke was never funny is of course crap - Holidays In Hell and Parliament of Whores especially are brilliant, and there's lots of other good stuff he's done.

But saying P.J. O'Rourke is not presently funny, on the other hand? I can totally get behind that. He hasn't written a goddamned funny thing since 1999. I mark him down as being one of the many casualties of the Bush administration.
posted by mightygodking at 8:40 PM on April 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


He hasn't written a goddamned funny thing since 1999.

Have you read The CEO of the Sofa?
posted by Confess, Fletch at 8:45 PM on April 6, 2009


But saying P.J. O'Rourke is not presently funny, on the other hand? I can totally get behind that. He hasn't written a goddamned funny thing since 1999. I mark him down as being one of the many casualties of the Bush administration.

Naw, he just got old is all. Happens to almost all comedians. But even with some slackening off in his quality in the past decade or so, he's still probably the funniest American writer of the last thirty years. For those of you who can only laugh at politics you agree with, check out his Holidays in Hell chapter on his trip to Heritage U.S.A.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:49 PM on April 6, 2009


Thanks inspector and confess, that was a great read.
posted by pwally at 8:54 PM on April 6, 2009


Metafilter: But even with some slackening off in his quality in the past decade or so, he's still probably the funniest American writer of the last thirty years.
posted by swift at 9:01 PM on April 6, 2009


I really, really liked Give War a Chance, but this video leaves me with the impression that Mr. O'Rourke is just really impressed with his own vernacular. His whole schtick seems to be a re-hash of the us-vs-them garbage that has made politics in the US so increasingly unpleasant to follow over the past few decades, and it isn't funny. Even the Viagra 'joke' kind of falls flat.

Seems like he's run out of original ideas and is just phoning in what he's used to doing. "Bitch, bitch, bitch, fact, bitch, joke. Repeat." Tired.
posted by Pecinpah at 9:10 PM on April 6, 2009


I've liked some of O'Rourke's old stuff, but this wasn't funny, and I'm sorry, but I haven't laughed at a Viagra joke since 1996, if then. This was hack-work.

When he really started to lose me was when he started lying. The trope of treating "income tax" as equal to "all taxes" is an old conservative think-tank bit of intellectual dishonesty, because most Americans pay the bulk of their taxes in payroll taxes. He tries to hammer this home with the joke that, "The people who voted for Obama don't pay any taxes," and the idea that the only problem with not having any taxes for a single year is that the money would only go into the hands of those who pay taxes to begin with. Really? No government operating budget for a whole year would be fine, P.J.? I'd like to tour your bunker.

As dull as he is now, he's still immensely well-spoken, which is why his horrible ideas presented here sound better than they do coming from the drunken homeless man on the subway trying to sell you the same thing. I'm not saying that I think the bailout and stimulus package are going to be good in the long run, necessarily - I have grave doubts about them, frankly - but they're a damn sight better than what O'Rourke proposes here.

I could ramble on about this for a decade, but I'll end with addressing his question of whether we can begin discussing the "failed Obama presidency," because the first thing Obama did was to spend $700 Billion on the stimulus package. As if Obama had just been chomping at the bit to spend that much money right out the gate, and hadn't been hamstrung by an inherited crisis that's been keeping him from the things he wants to do.

So fuck you, P.J. O'Rourke, as eloquently as you'd like.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:23 PM on April 6, 2009 [7 favorites]


(All of the above is not to denigrate the FPP, which I like. I just disagree heartily with the primary speaker.)
posted by Navelgazer at 9:24 PM on April 6, 2009


PJ O'Rourke wasn't even all that funny in his prime. And his "mean-spirited-rich-white-guy" act went out with Reagan.
posted by telstar at 9:41 PM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


First, I'm gonna apologize to nola for sounding a bit more snarky that I intended.

Second, I'm going to point out to the people who judge PJO's humor by an ideological yardstick that he has consistently mocked the neocons and Bush administration since WAY before it became a political imperative for the GOP to distance themselves from them. Much like I rarely agreed with Buckley, I never felt threatened listening to him and often enjoyed his opposing viewpoint, as it was invariably framed in a civil manner consistent with his beliefs (as opposed to political expediency).
posted by RavinDave at 9:45 PM on April 6, 2009


For those of you who can only laugh at politics you agree with, check out his Holidays in Hell chapter on his trip to Heritage U.S.A.

Holidays in Hell is funny because even in those places where it's blatantly conservative, it's the good conservatism. And it doesn't really show through in that many places; most people liberal or conservative, after all, didn't look on the Soviet Union as being all that great, so his chapter on that doesn't really bash any drums. Meanwhile his brilliant chapter on EPCOT, despite coming from a conservative, shows a distrust of both the Disney Corporation and the corporate overlords that sponsored half of it.

You can be liberal or conservative and look askance at the great weirding of American culture, and when he's at his best P.J. O'Rourke does that.
posted by JHarris at 9:47 PM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


That book that was a collection of his writings from his hippie days was pretty funny, so he hasn't been funny in... what, 40 years?
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:06 PM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I primarily know PJ though his appearances on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, and he come across as a mild dick on that show, a few funny things and some wankery but nothing to get riled about but not someone you'd go out of your way to seek out.

As political as I am, I generally avoid political humor, I figure it is mostly redundant with the source material so close at hand.
posted by edgeways at 10:30 PM on April 6, 2009


My exposure to PJO is pretty limited, so let me ask his fans: Are his appearances on Real Time with Bill Maher a good representation of how funny he is?

Aside from a few forgettable moments in the past, those are my primary exposure to him.
posted by hifiparasol at 10:41 PM on April 6, 2009


It's sad that people cannot get over their ideological viewpoints enough to laugh at PJO's stuff.

There are people on the right who are similar, but PJ himself found Hunter S Thompson funny.
posted by sien at 10:42 PM on April 6, 2009


I don't know sien, I think there are plenty of people who don't find him funny and it has little to do with political affliction, humor is funny that way, you find something hilarious and Bob thinks it sucks ass. I should make some statement on the profound nature of humankind based on that, but I can't summon the energy to do so.
posted by edgeways at 11:05 PM on April 6, 2009


PJO peaked in 1973.
-
posted by Ron Thanagar at 11:07 PM on April 6, 2009


And its "champing at the bit" goddammit.
-
posted by Ron Thanagar at 11:11 PM on April 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


He might have been vaguely amusing once, can't remember.

But if you are using the word "Viagra" for humor in any context and the year is after 2006 you don't get to call yourself a professional comedy writer anymore. The end.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:12 PM on April 6, 2009


I mean besides the fact it's a boner joke, at least say "Cialis" for fuck's sake. Even the worst hack on leno's staff doesn't usually hit the nail that squarely on the head.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:13 PM on April 6, 2009


edgeways: True enough about comedy. But look at this thread. Early comment:

P.J. O'Rourke doesn't even come close to making sense to me. This is no exception. It worries me that someone like myself who has never been to college, seems to have a better grasp of the complexities of the world than a guy who gets to be heard by wide audience. That and he is not funny.

The first hack at him is political.

Are there any right wing comedians you find funny?

Humor probably requires some shared values. PJ seems to many to be a pretty mild Republican, one who is pro drugs and is skeptical of the Christian Right. A lot of people who wouldn't agree with him on a lot of subjects still manage to find him funny.
posted by sien at 11:22 PM on April 6, 2009


sien: what are you talking about? how is anything nola said in that comment "political"?
posted by Iax at 11:39 PM on April 6, 2009


I mean... come on. I have deep disagreements with much of his positions, but to say he's not funny just throws any credibility you may have right out the window.


Because humor can be objectively measured and judged, right? Next time I interview someone, I'll ask them what they think of Bill Hicks. If they don't like them him, I'll know they can't be trusted ...

O'Rourke, like all comedians, has his ups and downs. He has moments when he is funny, moments when he is smart and observant, and moments when he is phoning it in for a cheap laugh. In Parliament of Whores, there's a well-argued piece about reasons for having a strong military. And in the middle of that well-argued piece there's a few dumb, throwaway, stupid jokes about it being manly to have big guns and kill things. To my eye, it weakened the rest of his argument, but this is O'Rourke's MO. Saying he doesn't have weak, unfunny moments just throws any credibility you may have right out the window.

tl;dr: O'Rourke varies in funniness, your mileage may vary.
posted by outlier at 1:42 AM on April 7, 2009


PJ O'Rourke is pretty funny on Real Time with Bill Maher. Mostly because his positions are so indefensible that I giggle at every attempt to squirm out of the hot seat. At times he cracks and you can almost see him on the edge of breaking down.

"Much better introduction than I deserve but I'll take it anyway"

That's what is precisely what is wrong with the modern conservative ethos. They spend all their time telling you what others don't deserve while helping themselves, quite liberally, to what they know they don't deserve.

One sentence into his talk and he inadvertently nails it.

The beauty of even good modern conservative humour is that it is self-destructive like an inflated but untied balloon farting all over the room. It goes from funny to sad in about half a second and then becomes this limp, flaccid deflated piece of junk that someone else has to clean up. There is just something so raw, naked and desperate about it. It's like watching an animal die.
posted by srboisvert at 3:11 AM on April 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


.
posted by Wolof at 3:21 AM on April 7, 2009


He's just become dull.

He's become doctrinaire, which is even worse. Or rather, it's why he's become dull. He used to put the humour before the point (something he, identified in the preface of Republican Party Reptile as the thing most overtly political comedians get wrong; Ben Elton, I'm looking at you, too). Even when being political, as in Holidays in Hell, or Parliament of Whores, he was quite happy to lay into both sides. He ripped shit out of Reagan's response to the Aquino-led uprising in the Philipines. He was happy to dig at subtler forms of racism in white countries that liked to poke at South Africa in the 80s. "Moscow on the Mississipi" wouldn't have won too many fans amongst rural Republican voters.

These days he seems to be hacking out a bunch of party lines. He also seems to have become one of those tedious "no control in the boardroom, what the fuck are you doing in the bedroom" types - a long way from the "Wiffle Life" essay.
posted by rodgerd at 3:26 AM on April 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


I own most books he's written and two are signed from tour stops at a local bookstore. But after his dismissive response to the Gore Florida recount with "oh you won the popular vote? How nice for you," they're now in a box somewhere in the garage.

Except for one that I still enjoy and I've recommended here before: All The Trouble In The World.
posted by hal9k at 4:04 AM on April 7, 2009


Never found him that funny, and I don't have it in for economic conservatives, although I disagree with them in many cases. I could see how Holidays In Hell had its cleverness, but I found it more occasionally-chuckling-while-marveling-at-the-writer's-ego-displays than capital-F Funny. I'd give it "an entertaining read".

Perhaps if you went to college, he might make more sense to you. That and he can be quite funny.

Yeah. But the fact that you think this is a witty comeback in a group discussion undercuts your credibility on the subjects of humor and intellect completely.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 4:05 AM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


That was horrible. The entire shtick of the conservative humor is a variation on the "white people walk like this, black people walk like this" joke, and he is no exception.

(And no, a dog will bury his meat for the lean times, you retard.)
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 5:01 AM on April 7, 2009


I dunno. He's just become dull. I rarely if ever agreed with him but respected his obvious intelligence, it just feels like the fire's gone out of his belly these days.

I got bored with PJO when I saw him promoting his book on capitalism and Adam Smith. Not that the topics are, in and of themselves bad, but the whole enterprise just seemed so pedantic, and he was clearly very proud of himself for it. Give me more "Reptile Republican" stuff and more mockery of democratic pieties and less trying to encourage me to become a better person.
posted by deanc at 5:23 AM on April 7, 2009


PJO'R has always been a libertarian at heart, prepared to swallow the republican agenda to get less interference in his life, which really equated to small government. The Bush years have left him with no political options (Ron Paul!) and IMHO made him pretty bitter.
In his early stuff he was fighting the good fight, at least as he saw it, and a lot of the excesses of the liberals he skewered were deserved. I disagree with his conclusion that libertarian ideas mean voting for the conservatives, but always got a chuckle from him.
If you read some of his earlier stuff, it is pretty much in tune with the metafilter vibe - keep government out of my private business, reward success and help those less fortunate by giving them a level playing field. But because he is labeled a conservative he won't ever get much love from this community.
posted by bystander at 5:35 AM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


First, I'm gonna apologize to nola for sounding a bit more snarky that I intended.

It's no big deal, he who is without sin cast the first stone, all that jazz. I just wanted you to know I could stick and move even if I ain't never been to call-edge.

Second, I'm going to point out to the people who judge PJO's humor by an ideological yardstick that he has consistently mocked the neocons and Bush administration since WAY before it became a political imperative for the GOP to distance themselves from them. Much like I rarely agreed with Buckley, I never felt threatened listening to him and often enjoyed his opposing viewpoint, as it was invariably framed in a civil manner consistent with his beliefs (as opposed to political expediency).

P.J. was at one time at the very least clever. Now, watching this YT clip I can't tell if this is Mark Russell without the piano, or just another talking head out earning his bread.
posted by nola at 5:35 AM on April 7, 2009


He married the second wife and had kids. Isn't that the usual recipe for fogeydom?
posted by IndigoJones at 5:42 AM on April 7, 2009


Perhaps if you went to college, he might make more sense to you.

(Pst- Nola! 20% if billionaires never went to college.)
posted by IndigoJones at 5:45 AM on April 7, 2009


... Mark Russell without the piano ...


hehhe-he
posted by RavinDave at 6:15 AM on April 7, 2009


(Pst- Nola! 20% if billionaires never went to college.)

20% of what if billionaires never went to college? I might consider taking the bet if I knew what the stakes were...
posted by saulgoodman at 6:19 AM on April 7, 2009


because he is labeled a conservative he won't ever get much love from this community.

Oh please. There was no point where he wasn't a conservative yet if you read the thread you can see that he had lots of fans here and lost them. People get skewered here when they are stupid not conservative. The problem is that in the last ten years there has been far too much overlap between the two categories.
posted by srboisvert at 6:20 AM on April 7, 2009


Go to "college" to understand PJ O'Rourke?
Puleeze.

There is nothing to "get."

The prerequistite back in the day was being a graduate of Mad Magazine, and moving on National Lampoon at age 14. His mental audience is usually 14-22. He used to do "funny" things like make fun of Mexicans and poor people. Complete pompous fake intellectual Republican mediocrity. blech.

On the other hand, (although you wouldnt see it in this clip) Wolfe has been one of the most brilliant observers of the Amercian psyche for 2 generations.
posted by celerystick at 6:45 AM on April 7, 2009


Are there any right wing comedians you find funny?

That Joe the Plumber guy is pretty funny. And Bobby Jindal's line "Take Volcanos .... please!" always cracks me up.

Seriously, H.L. Mencken was a funny right-winger and half a century and more later, he's still funny. Lots of conservative columnists want to be Mencken (I'm looking at you, Michael Graham), but none of them are, because none of them will admit that the modern American right has become devoted to nearly everything that Mencken loathed.

Take Mencken's creed, for example:

Today's conservative writers are happy to mouth "I believe that all government is evil, in that all government must necessarily make war upon liberty ..." even as they ignore the belief in practice, but it's almost unimaginable that a mainstream, conservative, Republican-identified writer could write so boldly "I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse to mankind - that its modest and greatly overestimated services on the ethical side have been more than overcome by the damage it has done to clear and honest thinking ..." or I believe that the evidence for immortality is no better than the evidence of witches, and deserves no more respect ...", or even, simply, "I believe in the reality of progress ...".

When conservative satirists can be as witty about the conservative boobosie as the liberal, then there might be more funny conservatives.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:56 AM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


People get skewered here when they are stupid not conservative. The problem is that in the last ten years there has been far too much overlap between the two categories.
Fair call, because I guess I am defending his earlier stuff. I can't argue the linked video wasn't bland. But, but, but, surely you can't argue the guy who wrote How To Drive Fast On Drugs While Getting Your Wing-Wang Squeezed And Not Spill Your Drink was a true believer in Bush style command and control conservatism.
Until I read P.J. O'Rourke I didn't have much respect for a conservative viewpoint. After I read him I suspected some conservatives were smart guys making bad choices.
posted by bystander at 7:00 AM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


because none of them will admit that the modern American right has become devoted to nearly everything that Mencken loathed.
I suspect this is the same story with O'Rourke, but he has chosen to take the dollars of being a "conservative humourist" rather than stick to principles. That said, I notice my older relatives are much more conservative than me, so maybe it is just a factor of grumpy old man status.
He writes about waking up from being a hippy, to being a Reagan conservative. Maybe he has dropped the libertarian streak too, and really believes in low tax, kill the poor. If so, I'm pretty disappointed in the standard of conservative thought.
But he was pretty funny.
posted by bystander at 7:07 AM on April 7, 2009


On the other hand, (although you wouldnt see it in this clip) Wolfe has been one of the most brilliant observers of the Amercian psyche for 2 generations.

And yet one of the American writers that he admires to the very utmost is P. J. O'Rourke.
posted by iconjack at 7:15 AM on April 7, 2009


Didn't anyone here read "Parliament of Whores," his book explaining the U.S. government? (He even complained about farm subsidies!) I gave it to a French friend to help her understand America better.

I loved PJ O'Rourke since I read the essay in "Holidays in Hell" about being Europe when they bombed Tripoli, and the one about South Africa: both had lines that I can still recite. Some later stuff was weak, but so was some earlier stuff (ilke "Republican Party Reptile"). *shrug* The guy giot me to shoot milk out my nose more times thn I can remember.

I don't think he is as pure an ideologue as some here would like him to be.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:39 AM on April 7, 2009




Yah, he's gotten old and like Dennis Miller, pretty much went off his gourd post 9/11. But "Holidays in Hell" made me laugh harder than most anything. And he was one of the twisted minds behind this little gem.
posted by Ber at 7:52 AM on April 7, 2009


Also fast forward to about 30 minutes in to hear his evaluation of the Bush administration. It's perfect. The rest is just him being boring.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:05 AM on April 7, 2009




« Older It's My Scar   |   Happy 5th Birthday Subservient Chicken Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post