Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful for P.J. O'Rourke, Less So for the GOP


One reason I’m thankful that P.J. O’Rourke has not succumbed to his recently-revealed (treatable) ass cancer is that his ongoing existence allows him to write great articles like this very funny one summarizing the grim and frustrating situation of Republicans at this juncture in history.

Where do we go from here? I for one spend December blogging about how not to philosophize and January blogging about how to do so with a proper regard for the centrality of property rights. Political parties and movements can agree with me or not, but at this late stage in history, I just gotta be me.

But lest we think self-mockery is possible for Republicans but not for the more elite band of Atlas Shrugged readers, behold this marvelous comedy piece from McSweeney’s, pointed out to me by co-worker Jeff Stier (and reminding me somewhat of the warnings over the past couple years from my ex-girlfriend Koli, who’s moving to DC, about the disconnect between laissez-faire ideals of productivity and some of the obfuscatory legal-semantic shenanigans she saw going on down on Wall Street). Sigh.

Lest we think there is nothing positive still to be said about proud, Randian-style capitalism, though, I will just have to make Atlas Shrugged one of my (seven) Book Selections of the Month for December (the Month of Feminism on my blog), using a first edition first printing copy ironically given to me as a gift by Valerie Jackson, a lefty friend from Brown now organic farming in upstate New York — and no doubt having a fine Thanksgiving dinner while, by principle or mere happenstance, eating locally (the practice at the heart of next week’s Lolita Debate, so join us for that — and bring leftovers if you like).


Mark said...

P.J. O’Rourke has got to be one of the nicest, most gracious writers I’ve ever met. I’ve got a signed letter from him framed and displayed in my living room – it’s my most prized possession. I had a chance to meet him at a book signing, and he remembered the letter in question and we had a very pleasant (albeit brief) conversation.

I’m not the biggest Rand fan, well, not really a Rand fan at all. If I’m reading this blog or subscribing to reason it’s because of the groundwork laid by P.J. O’Rourke. Still, I’m not surprised that her acolytes can demonstrate self-awareness and a sense of humor – when I first read The Fountainhead over sixteen years ago, and when I paged through it again a few months ago, I was surprised at how well the women satirized the then contemporary literary and intellectual scene in the USA. I couldn’t pick out all the writers and intellectuals, but there were more than a few acid pen portraits that I recognized. I think Rand’s greatest curse – as well as blessing – is the fact that she has never been fully embraced by the academy, so to speak.

dave said...

I’m glad to hear the label of elite (sarcastic as it may well have been) because I just reread Atlas Shrugged this year, but for the first time as an adult.

Wouldn’t she have loathed, beyond measure, Wall Street? After government, shareholders and corporate boards are the bad guys in this book, after all.