It was a shock Tuesday to learn of P.J. O’Rourke’s passing. I didn’t even know he was ill. His leaving us is truly sad news. The world is a less funny place without him. Few have ever combined intelligent observations with humor the way P.J. could and did for decades. The arrival of a new P.J. O’Rourke book was an event, and always a mood elevator. I’m pleased that our Wlady Pleszczynski chose to honor P.J. on the TAS website. P.J.’s ’92 dinner speech reprinted there holds up very well indeed.
I hope our readers followed the link to P.J.’s “meatballs” column, reprinted from TAS in 2003. It’s priceless. And demonstrates P.J.’s style at its best. It also helped demolish a popular humbug of the day. P.J. committed a public service in helping bring Lee Iacocca’s 15 minutes to an end.
One need go no further than the first chapter of Parliament of Whores to encounter an economical stating of one of the central tenets of conservatism. To wit: “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” And, “A little government and a little lucks are necessary in life, but only a fool trust either of them.” Just so. Pithy and humorous constructions like these do more to win hearts and minds for conservatism than long-winded and wonky dissertations on the importance of limited government.
RIP P.J. Thanks for the laughs and the sharp insights. They and you will be missed.