Sunday, December 05, 2010

A Short Thought On The Career Of PJ O' Rourke

PJ has a new book out, entitled, I kid you not, 'Don't Vote It Just Encourages the Bastards'.
I had intended to write this post as his obituary, should he clock off before me. However, the dictates of good taste, such as the need to adhere to the principle 'de mortuis nil nisi bonum', and also the realisation that he might just not clock off before me make the present a good as time as any to say what I think should be said about the American right's Court Jester.
In his 'Letters to Malcolm', CS Lewis noted that Thomas Cranmer might not have been the world's greatest theologian, but that he was a wonderful prose stylist. While I don't think anyone would ever accuse PJ O' Rourke of possessing one of the great political brains of our times, that he is a wonderful prose stylist is beyond doubt. Yet in 'How The Reformation Happened', Hilaire Belloc took that line of thinking one step further, and suggested that what really animated Cranmer wasn't the theology at all, it was the opportunities to create prose that theology provided him with that got him fired up.
Is PJ more animated by the thought of being able to create wonderful prose about politics than by politics itself? Although my own mind is sort of made up on that question, I will leave it as an open one for readers.
I hope his book sells well, and is better than the last of his efforts I read, his absolutely dreadful book on 'The Wealth of Nations'. I would be minded to throw my copy out, but, weirdly, it does have some sentimental value (I was reading it the day I got married). The only item of value in it, in my opinion, was PJ's inclusions of a whole two pages of material suggesting that Adam Smith had a raving case of Tourette Syndrome; a suitably O' Rourkeian outcome for an exercise in unjustified hagiography.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Lallands Peat Worrier said...

A splendid little post, this.

06 December, 2010 11:15  
Blogger Martin Meenagh said...

I agree with LPW. By the way, I also agree--what a festival of comity this blog is today--about PJ O'Rouke's 'Wealth of Nations'. It was terrible, but I suppose that it appealed to the right people. All the best to you and yours, Martin.

07 December, 2010 13:20  
Blogger Martin said...

Thanks, gents.

07 December, 2010 23:09  

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