Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
Do you have a mopey young person in your family? Does he or she possess an all-ebony wardrobe, have a lop-sided haircut, and know what “latte” is? Is this “slacker” lying on your couch all day listening to Hootie and the Blowfish CDs? Or making a lifetime career out of going to college? Or still working in a Kinko’s copy center at the age of 28? Or trying to get an NEA grant to write a film script about all of the above? And the nose ring — is negotiating a temporary removal for grandma’s visit going to require the intervention of Jimmy Carter?
You may have a larva or pupa stage Democrat in your home. Try this test. Get the child’s attention (extra latte helps). Now say, “Newt Gingrich.” Did you receive the following reaction?
“Mom! Dad! [theatrical sigh] It’s like … [eyes roll toward ceiling] Oh, man … “
Yes, a conservative tide is rising all across the political landscape of America, but some members of “Generation X” have climbed onto the outhouse roof of intellectualism and managed to keep their Doc Martens dry.
As a special service to our readers, TAS has enlisted P. J. O’Rourke to have a word with the youngsters. P.J. is the International Affairs Desk Chief at the with-it and trendy Rolling Stone magazine. He speaks their lingo. He knows Dr. Hunter S. Thompson personally. And he claims that he can actually tell the difference between Hootie and the Blowfish and the noise a washtub full of cats makes when you throw it down the cellar stairs. Clip this article and hand it to your child. It explains in language that young people can understand what’s happening in Washington now that Republicans have won control of Congress and why those Republicans — schmucks that they are — are a good thing, even for people with tongue studs and facial tattoos. Who knows? It could change their lives. They might even get promoted to manager of Kinko’s copy center.
REPUBLICAN hordes have descended on Washington. They rove where they will, sacking and looting, or, as it were, voting and golfing. Also talking on C-Span, listening to Rush Limbaugh, and signing enormous book deals. It is a frightful scene. Men risk having their taxes slashed in broad daylight. No woman is safe from dinner table conversations about unfunded mandates. Pathetic groups of unemployed Democrats huddle on Capitol Hill, homeless. House-less, anyway. Senateless, too.
The National Endowment for the Arts is threatened. “See here, Mr. Subsidized Dramatist, can’t your characters die of something besides AIDS? How about a sword fight once in a while?” Public broadcasting is also at risk. Underprivileged children may be deprived of “All Things Considered.” Woefully imperiled are all the accomplishments of the Clinton administration, such as … such as … Bill can forget about midnight basketball.
The Republicans want to do away with whole sections of government. The Department of Education doesn’t have a prayer. (Ha, ha, a little Christian Coalition joke.) Numerous congressional committees have already been eliminated, causing a severe business downturn in America’s snoozing, doodling, and yawn-suppression industries. The president was forced to make a conciliatory State of the Union speech, the short version of which was, “Hillary, you’d better go home and fix dinner.” And heartless welfare reformers will soon be erecting grim, drafty orphanages all over the country. Speaking of which, now that Rose is dead, Ted Kennedy is technically an orphan. In you go, Teddy. And … whack … mind the nuns.
Everyone in the thoughtful, progressive, sensitive, compassionate, objective, and fair media world which I inhabit is awful upset about these darn Republicans. And I would be too, except I am one.
I hear thoughtful, progressive, sensitive hissy noises in the audience. “Tsk. Tsk. You write for Rolling Stone. We assumed you were too hip to be Republican.” Yeah, hip, that’s me. I’m hip from Hip Street and it gets hipper as you go along and my pad is in the last crib, Daddy-O. Navel ring? Tongue stud? Man, I went out and bought a three-foot barrel hoop and got one whole butt cheek pierced. Where I come from even the circus clowns dress all in black, and the only reason a dozen of them get in that little car is to show kids how miserably cramped life is for veal calves.
Call Earth. I’m a 47-year-old middle-class male with a job. Every hippy-dippy thing that’s thought up — from heroin addiction to special vegan lunch lines in the local high school cafeteria — I get to pay for. Of course I’m Republican. But there is one shred of beatnikery to which I cling. I still detest authority. I always did. My every bedtime was a Bataan Death March. Cleaning my room, an exile to the mines of Siberia. I cannot see a school crossing guard without wishing for a grisly hit-and-run. Some credit their loss of faith to a beneficent deity permitting the existence of evil. I rail against God because I was told to stop eating paste in Sunday school class. To this day I will not bring the car home before eleven, even though it’s my car and nobody lives in the house but me. And when I’m sent back through an airport metal detector, I scream that I have a steel plate in my head. “I’ll sue you under the Americans with Disabilities Act! You’ll be court martialed! You’ll be busted to the lowest rank of the Airport Security Service and made to sit in front of a PA system microphone all day endlessly repeating, ‘The space by the curb is for immediate loading and unloading only!’”
I spit on dominion and control. And the greater the power, the more my abomination. Which brings me to the subject of government. Great, hulking, greasy, obese, gobbling, omnivorous, ever-aggrandizing, fat-witted government — I am not its friend. In Washington, the Republicans are (in their wingtip-hobbled, suspender-entangled, Old Spice–befogged way) trying to destroy big government. The Republicans I like okay. The destruction I adore.
Think of what big governments have gotten up to in this century: not one but two world wars, the Gulag, the Holocaust, aerial bombing of civilian population centers, the Berlin Wall, nuclear explosions, the Post Office. A wicked individual might want these, but he wouldn’t have the cash and connections to get them. A villainous corporation could afford them but has to market the products. The Vietnam draft would be a tough sell for even the most fiendish businessmen. “Get shot! Get killed! Get diseases from foreign women who despise you in their hearts!” And never mind the 32¢ postage stamp.
Governments do terrible things. All right, I sympathize. I do terrible things myself. Although it’s getting harder to find somebody to do them with now that I’m 47 and a Republican. What bothers me is how the terrible government things are always for the greater common good. Communists, Nazis, and more than a few democratically elected leaders of the free world have told us in plain language that their loathsome acts were justified by felicific calculus — the most good for the greatest number. Censorship, genocide, the Volstead Act, wholesale expropriations of private property, segregation, religious persecution, mass deportations, and vaporizing Nagasaki have all been “for the good of the nation,” “good for mankind,” “good for us in the long run,” “good for future generations.”
Amazing how well-meaning, how virtuous, how good the people in authority always are. I guess good people are just naturally attracted to government. You remember them from high school — the Senior Class President, the Sophomore Class Secretary, the Chairgirl of the Junior Prom Decorations and Refreshments Committee. They weren’t like some kids I could name, keeping the car out till all hours looking for crossing guards to run over. The kids in school government were good kids. Teachers liked them. Parents liked them. Why, you could take one of those kids — pry his sucker-like mouth off the career counselor’s behind — and, heck, make him President of the United States. And we did.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
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