Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence and a Bad Haircut: 25 Years of P. J. O'Rourkeby P. J. O'Rourke
Readers may be shocked to discover that America's most provocative (and conservative) satirist, P. J. O'Rourke, was at one time a raving pinko, with scars on his formerly bleeding heart to prove it. In Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence, and a Bad Haircut, O'Rourke chronicles the remarkable trajectory that took him from the lighthearted fun of the revolutionary
Readers may be shocked to discover that America's most provocative (and conservative) satirist, P. J. O'Rourke, was at one time a raving pinko, with scars on his formerly bleeding heart to prove it. In Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence, and a Bad Haircut, O'Rourke chronicles the remarkable trajectory that took him from the lighthearted fun of the revolutionary barricades to the serious business of the nineteenth hole. How did the O'Rourke of 1970, who summarized the world of "grown-ups" as "materialism, sexual hang-ups, the Republican party, uncomfortable clothes, engagement rings, car accidents, Pat Boone, competition, patriotism, cheating, lying, ranch houses, and TV" come to be in favor of all of those things? What causes a beatnik-hippie type, comfortable sleeping on dirty mattresses in pot-addled communes - as P. J. did when he was a writer for assorted "underground" papers-to metamorphosize into a right-wing middle-aged grouch? Here, P. J. shows how his Socialist idealism and avant-garde aesthetic tendencies were cured and how he acquired a healthy and commendable interest in national defense, the balanced budget, Porsches, and Cohiba cigars. P. J. O'Rourke's message is that there's hope for all those suffering from acute Bohemianism, or as he puts it, "Pull your pants up, turn your hat around, and get a job." "From the fictionalized accounts of his career as a hard-drinking hippie to the Benchley-in-the-age-of-macho lampoon of fly fishing, Mr. O'Rourke shows an incorrigible comic gift and an eye for detail that keeps the wild stuff grounded." - The New York Times Book Review
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Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence, and a Bad Haircut
By P. J. O'Rourke
Grove Atlantic, Inc.Copyright © 1995 P.J. O'Rourke
All right reserved.
Chapter OneOn the Virtues of Automobiles:
We're told cars are dangerous. It's safer to drive through South Central Los Angeles than to walk there. We're told cars are wasteful. Wasteful of what? Oil did a lot of good sitting in the ground for millions of years. We're told cars should be replaced with mass transportation. But it's hard to reach the drive-through window at McDonald's from a speeding train. And we're told cars cause pollution. A hundred years ago city streets were ankle deep in horse excrement. What kind of pollution do you want? Would you rather die of cancer at eighty or typhoid fever at nine?
On the Role of the Journalist:
You say we [reporters] are distracting from the business of government. Well I hope so. Distracting a politician from governing is like distracting a bear from eating your baby. Or like getting a dog to quit chewing on your wallet, anyway. But what do you want us to do? Come on, you're the customer. You tell us. Should we go back to Washington and write hundred-column-inch cerebrum snuffing, eyeball-fibrillating articles on health care reform? How about some NAFTA follow-ups? A nine-part series on the Republic of Kyrgyzstan? Or maybe we should come over to your house and investigate you.
On the Pleasures of Fly-Fishing:
Here's a guy standing in cold water up to his liver, throwing the world's most expensive clothesline at trees. A full two-thirds of his time is spent untangling stuff, which he could be doing in the comfort of his own home with old shoelaces, if he wanted. The whole business costs like sin and requires heavier clothing. Furthermore, it's conducted in the middle of blackfly season. Cast and swat. Cast and swat. Fly-fishing may be a sport invented by insects with fly fishermen as bait.
Excerpted from Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence, and a Bad Haircut by P. J. O'Rourke Copyright © 1995 by P.J. O'Rourke. Excerpted by permission.
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Meet the Author
P.J. O'Rourke writes regularly for Rolling Stone. He will soon be appearing every other week with Molly Ivins on CBS' 60 Minutes. His last book, All the Trouble in the World, was a bestseller in Canada and the United States.
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