Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence and a Bad Haircut: 25 Years of P. J. O'Rourke

Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence and a Bad Haircut: 25 Years of P. J. O'Rourke

by P. J. O'Rourke
     
 

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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

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Since most of O'Rourke's (All the Trouble in the World) books are collections, this retrospective is not so much a greatest-hits album as a variably entertaining grab bag of B-sides and other miscellany. There is giddy juvenilia he wrote for the 1970s underground press, including a hilarious hoax piece about Richard Nixon's trip to China. There are several arch tales about the 1960s that O'Rourke published in the National Lampoon, including an amusing attack on communism. His bumptiously ignorant persona serves him well as he explores high-end automobiles and such sports as fishing and golf for specialized magazines. O'Rourke's brief section on ``Current and Recurrent Events'' reminds us of his best political work; an even briefer selection of miscellany has some funnier stuff, including his uproarious dissection of a book tour. 150,000 first printing; author tour. (Sept.)
Library Journal
O'Rourke has three times achieved bestsellerdom with his satirical observations from the conservative perspective; here he collects 25 years of his writing, starting when he was, yes, a leftist-revolutionary wannabe. Then writing for the "underground" press, O'Rourke did the drugs-sex-and-rock-and-roll scene and survived to make fun of it today. Also included in the collection are pieces written for Rolling Stone and National Lampoon and a selection for Automobile and Car & Driver featuring some of the funniest (mostly) nonpolitical of his writing. Public library patrons, and even ex-hippies who appreciate political satire, will very much enjoy this. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/95.]-Pamela R. Daubenspeck, Warren-Trumbull Cty. P.L., Warren, Ohio

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780871136534
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
08/28/1996
Series:
O'Rourke, P. J.
Pages:
341
Sales rank:
1,215,449
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.01(h) x 1.01(d)

Read an Excerpt

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.

ISBN: 0-87113-653-8


Chapter One

On 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.

(Continues...)



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.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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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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