Bad Influence

I’m sorry to see that P.J. O’Rourke has left us for that Great Editorial Office In The Sky.

Although I didn’t agree with much of his later writing, I loved his earlier books (Parliament Of Whores, Eat The Rich, etc.) and I do owe him a debt of gratitude.

You see, when I was homeschooling the kids, whenever they asked a question about politics or taxes or any of that, I simply pointed them to the relevant chapter in one of P.J.’s books, and let him be their guide.  (Also, they didn’t always believe my explanation because for some reason they thought I was a right-wing conservative, and wanted an “impartial” perspective, ho ho.)

The Son&Heir now has all O’Rourke’s books on his shelf, and I truly believe that these have formed his socio-political outlook, such as it is.

No better legacy.


  1. Even Before the books, he was on the staff at Car & Driver. He fit in perfectly there. His articles were always a great read and, I suspect, he was one of the instigators of some of their more infamous activities. C&D never really recovered from the loss of all those early Writers

  2. Easily my favorite American author. He did start to lose his fastball toward the end, but I think most of us do. I too have all his books on my bookshelf (well currently in a pile on the floor owing to some home renovation). Sad to see him go, sadder still to see no one out there who even comes close.

  3. Love his writing. And as stated above, his work for Car & Driver is often overlooked.
    I’ve read his books multiple times, and a lot of his greatest lines are part of my wit now.

    He had a great sense of clarity, most times. He lost me at preferring Hillary. He thought of her as the devil you know. Whatever, she’s still a demon.

    It’s a shame he’s gone. But he was a 74 year old dude on his second bout with cancer. His first was ass cancer. He wrote about it. A great story as usual. I laughed my ass off at his description of being strapped into a sling bare assed for radiation treatment.

    1. I laughed so hard when he wrote “I came face to face with death, well I actually glimpsed death in the crowd”

  4. I was stationed in Korea when he wrote an article for Rolling Stone about the annual springtime Korean university riots.

    Hilarious and oh, so true.

  5. I had the pleasure of sharing a meal with him and his lovely wife back in the late ‘80s. O’Rourke was speaking at my university, and I was tapped to host him because of my penchant for writing in a similar style (would that I were as good) for the school paper. Showed him around campus and had a hilarious conversation during dinner.

    Requiescat in pace.

  6. Is he the one who, when asked if Front-wheel drive cars handled better than Rear-wheel drive cars, promptly answered “Rented cars handle better”?
    Nevertheless, “Give War a Chance” was classic. I think I’ll buy it for my Nephew who won’t read a book to save his life.

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