P. J. O’Rourke
|P. J. O’Rourke|
|Born||Patrick Jake O’Rourke
November 14, 1947
Johns Hopkins University
Patrick Jake “P. J.” O’Rourke (/rʊərk/; born November 14, 1947) is an American political satirist, journalist, writer, and author. O’Rourke is the H. L. Mencken Research Fellow at the Cato Institute and is a regular correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, The American Spectator, and The Weekly Standard, and frequent panelist on National Public Radio‘s game show Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!. In the United Kingdom, he is known as the face of a long-running series of television advertisements for British Airways in the 1990s.
He is the author of 20 books, of which his latest, The Baby Boom: How It Got That Way (And It Wasn’t My Fault) (And I’ll Never Do It Again), was released January 2014. This was preceded on September 21, 2010, by Don’t Vote!-It Just Encourages the Bastards, and on September 1, 2009, Driving Like Crazy with a reprint edition published on May 11, 2010. According to a 60 Minutes profile, he is also the most quoted living man in The Penguin Dictionary of Modern Humorous Quotations.
Life and career
P. J. O’Rourke was born in Toledo, Ohio, the son of Delphine Loy, a housewife, and Clifford Bronson O’Rourke, a car salesman.He did his undergraduate work at Miami University, in Ohio, and earned an M.A. in English at Johns Hopkins University while a brother of the Alpha Delta Phi Literary Society. He recounts that during his student days he was a left-leaning hippie, but that in the 1970s his political views underwent a volte-face. He emerged as a political observer and humorist with libertarian viewpoints.
O’Rourke wrote articles for several publications, including The Rip Off Review of Western Culture an underground magazine/comic book in 1972, entitled A.J. at N.Y.U. and also for the Baltimore underground newspaper Harry and the New York Ace, before joining National Lampoon in 1973, where he served as managing editor among other roles and authored articles such as “Foreigners Around the World” and “How to Drive Fast on Drugs While Getting Your Wing-Wang Squeezed and Not Spill Your Drink.” He received a writing credit for National Lampoon’s Lemmings which helped launch the careers of John Belushi, Chevy Chase and Christopher Guest. He also co-wrote National Lampoon’s 1964 High School Yearbook with Douglas Kenney. O’Rourke said later that Kenney brought comedy to the piece and he brought the organization. The Yearbook was a bestseller and some themes were later used in the movie Animal House.
Going freelance in 1981, O’Rourke began publishing in magazines such as Playboy, Vanity Fair, Car and Driver, and Rolling Stone. He became foreign-affairs desk chief atRolling Stone, where he remained until 2001. In 1996, he served as the conservative commentator in the point-counterpoint segment of 60 Minutes.
O’Rourke was married to Amy Lumet, a daughter of movie director Sidney Lumet and a granddaughter of Lena Horne, from 1990 to 1993. Since 1995 he has been married to his second wife, Tina, and they have two daughters, Elizabeth and Olivia, and one son, Clifford. O’Rourke splits his time between the small town of Sharon, New Hampshire, andWashington, D.C.
O’Rourke has published 16 books, including three New York Times bestsellers. Parliament of Whores and Give War a Chance reached #1 on the New York Times Best Seller List. O’Rourke was a “Real Time Real Reporter” for Real Time with Bill Maher covering the 2008 Presidential Election.
O’Rourke revealed on September 28, 2008, that he has been diagnosed with treatable anal cancer, from which he can expect “a 95% chance of survival.” His announcement is typical of his writing in that it handled a very serious subject within his humorous style.
O’Rourke was a proponent of Gonzo journalism; one of his earliest and best-regarded pieces was “How to Drive Fast on Drugs While Getting Your Wing-Wang Squeezed and Not Spill Your Drink”, a National Lampoon article in March 1979. The article was republished in two of his books, Republican Party Reptile (1987) and Driving Like Crazy(2009).
O’Rourke’s best-received book is Parliament of Whores, subtitled A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government, whose main argument, according to the author, “is that politics are boring”.
O’Rourke has described himself as a libertarian. He has sarcastically proposed two other American political parties: one for those with his mixture of views, another for those who hold the opposite mixture.
O’Rourke types his manuscripts on an IBM Selectric typewriter, though denies that he is a Luddite, asserting that his short attention span would make focusing on writing on a computer difficult. In a January 2007 interview, O’Rourke gave an example of his view of computers and writing by referencing novelist Stephen King, whom he paraphrased – saying had he a computer, he could have written three times as much in his early days. To which O’Rourke remarked, “Does the world need three times as many Cujos? Three times as many Jane Austens, maybe.”
- National Lampoon 1964 High School Yearbook Parody (1974) (with Doug Kenney) ISBN 978-1-59071-057-9
- National Lampoon Sunday Newspaper Parody (1978) (with John Hughes) ISBN 978-1-59071-037-1
- Modern Manners (1983) ISBN 978-0-87113-375-5
- The Bachelor Home Companion (1986) ISBN 978-0-87113-686-2
- Republican Party Reptile (1987) ISBN 978-0-87113-622-0
- Holidays in Hell (1989) ISBN 978-0-8021-3701-2
- Parliament of Whores (1991) ISBN 978-0-8021-3970-2
- Give War a Chance (1992) ISBN 978-0-679-74201-2
- All the Trouble in the World (1994) ISBN 978-0-87113-611-4
- Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence, and a Bad Haircut (1995) ISBN 978-0-87113-653-4
- The American Spectator’s Enemies List (1996) ISBN 978-0-87113-632-9
- Eat the Rich (1999) ISBN 978-0-87113-760-9
- The CEO of the Sofa (2001) ISBN 978-0-8021-3940-5
- Peace Kills: America’s Fun New Imperialism (2004) ISBN 978-0-8021-4198-9
- On the Wealth of Nations: Books That Changed the World (2007) ISBN 978-0-8021-4342-6
- Driving Like Crazy (2009) ISBN 978-0-8021-1883-7
- Driving Like Crazy: Thirty Years of Vehicular Hell-Bending, Celebrating America the Way It’s Supposed to Be – With an Oil Well in Every Backyard, a Cadillac Escalade in Every Carport, and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Mowing Our Lawn (2010) Reprint edition by Grove Press ISBN 0802144799
- Don’t Vote! – It Just Encourages the Bastards (2010) ISBN 978-0-8021-1960-5
- Holidays in Heck (2011) ISBN 978-0-8021-1985-8
- “The Baby Boom: How It Got That Way (And It Wasn’t My Fault) (And I’ll Never Do It Again)” (2014) ISBN 978-0-8021-2197-4
- War Feels Like War, in which P. J. O’Rourke stars
- Give me liberty and give me death, Los Angeles Times September 28, 2008
- Shanahan, Leo (23 April 2009). “The world (and its crisis) according to P.J.”. The Age (Melbourne: Fairfax Media). Retrieved 22 December 2011.
- Full text, National Lampoon mirror, Internet Archive, archive made 01-24-2003, archive retrieved 05-05-2007.
- Swirski, Peter (2010). “Ars Americana Ars Politica”. McGill-Queen’s University Press.
- Live Online with PJ O’Rourke, Washington Post September 10th, 2001
- Garner, Dwight (November 9, 2007). “Stray Questions for: P. J. O’Rourke”. The New York Times.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to P. J. O’Rourke.|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: P. J. O’Rourke|
- PJ O’Rourke delivers the National Press Club Address
- Transcript (and video): ABC 7:30 Report: An Audience with PJ O’Rourke
- P. J. O’Rourke’s Official Website
- P. J. O’Rourke on National Public Radio in 2004
- The Unofficial P. J. O’Rourke Admiration Site
- P. J. on The Hour
- P. J. O’Rourke gives Daniel Webster College 2007 Commencement Address[dead link]
- Articles at The Atlantic
- Articles at the Cato Institute
- Articles at the Weekly Standard
- British Airways advertisement with P. J. O’Rourke
- Booknotes interview with O’Rourke on Eat the Rich, January 3, 1999.
- In Depth interview with O’Rourke, January 7, 2007