Distinguished Gentlemen

This week, the men of GLoP remember a friend and someone who they admired from a far.

P.J. O’Rourke, the great humorist, satirist, author, editor of National Lampoon, car enthusiast, and all around good guy was a friend to all the guys and they trade their stories and thoughts on his passing. None of the guys knew Ivan Reitman, but as the director of GhostbustersTwins, Kindergarten Cop, and a producer on Animal House and Stripes, his work was an important part of their entertainment diet.

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There are 21 comments.

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  1. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Bit of trivia:  the title of the last episode of the show Rob Mentioned, “Pig Sty,” was “Leap Into An Open Grave.”  Which was also the name of a drink referenced in “Cheers,” that Carla sometimes made.  Including one time for Diane.

    • #1
  2. Franz Drumlin Member
    Franz Drumlin
    @FranzDrumlin

    Then there was that time in 2016 when P. J. O’Rourke announced that he would vote for Hillary Clinton because even though she was wrong on just about everything she was wrong within normal parameters. That would get him canceled in some circles.

    • #2
  3. Franz Drumlin Member
    Franz Drumlin
    @FranzDrumlin

    And just in case the Editors don’t get around to posting this, here’s a nice little tribute to P. J. O’Rourke from Rob Long and Peter Robinson:

    • #3
  4. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Franz Drumlin (View Comment):

    Then there was that time in 2016 when P. J. O’Rourke announced that he would vote for Hillary Clinton because even though she was wrong on just about everything she was wrong within normal parameters. That would get him canceled in some circles.

    Since you brought it up, PJ had become what so many in his (and my) generation ultimately turned into – the very thing they as younger men and women mocked and derided. Completely unaware of their own transformation.

    PJ was funny because he was a counter-culture guy. He was a rebel. He thought outside the box (probably the experience with drugs, but that’s a different subject).

    In his later years he became just another fuddy-duddy curmudgeon lamenting about “kids today” and craving the “normality” of such people as Hillary Clinton.

    Highlighting P.J.’s hypocrisy was his position – as a self-proclaimed libertarian – that Social Security payments should be means-tested and withheld from senior who make a certain amount of money. So, not only can the state take away thousands of dollars of your money for decades, if you finally manage to succeed the money promised by the government should get retroactively hovered because now you, according to them, don’t need it.

    Obviously, this violates any libertarian mindset on several levels, besides horribly undermining the public’s trust in government promises. 

     

    • #4
  5. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Franco (View Comment):
    Obviously, this violates any libertarian mindset on several levels, besides horribly undermining the public’s trust in government promises. 

     

    Not trusting government promises is probably the most fundamental part of the libertarian mindset.

     

    • #5
  6. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Franco (View Comment):
    Obviously, this violates any libertarian mindset on several levels, besides horribly undermining the public’s trust in government promises.

     

    Not trusting government promises is probably the most fundamental part of the libertarian mindset.

     

    So are you saying PJ was being subversive in his proposal?  That is, encouraging the government of doing even more evil so as to provoke a counter-movement, or something?

    I can’t imagine that’s what you are saying. If so, I highly doubt it.

    For more background, PJ used himself and his own accumulated wealth to postulate this proposal. Of course, the precise level of wealth remained undefined. PJ never addressed the notion that this might become a slippery slope whereby “wealth” is defined down for the convenience of Democrats. 

     

    • #6
  7. Franz Drumlin Member
    Franz Drumlin
    @FranzDrumlin

    Franco (View Comment):
    In his later years he became just another fuddy-duddy curmudgeon lamenting about “kids today” and craving the “normality” of such people as Hillary Clinton.

    It’s a fascinating phenomenon: so many writers and performers who are known for their humor become dyspeptic, even downright nihilistic as they head into their twilight years. S. J. Perelman, Mark Twain, Mike Royko, George Carlin, Woody Allen… We can gather from first-hand reminiscences of P. J.’s later years that he was kind, mirthfully contrarian and tremendous fun right up until the end. 

    • #7
  8. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Franz Drumlin (View Comment):

    Franco (View Comment):
    In his later years he became just another fuddy-duddy curmudgeon lamenting about “kids today” and craving the “normality” of such people as Hillary Clinton.

    It’s a fascinating phenomenon: so many writers and performers who are known for their humor become dyspeptic, even downright nihilistic as they head into their twilight years. S. J. Perelman, Mark Twain, Mike Royko, George Carlin, Woody Allen… We can gather from first-hand reminiscences of P. J.’s later years that he was kind, mirthfully contrarian and tremendous fun right up until the end.

    Not contrarian, a fully conformist establishment tool – whatever else he may have been.

    • #8
  9. Franz Drumlin Member
    Franz Drumlin
    @FranzDrumlin

    Franco (View Comment):
    Not contrarian, a fully conformist establishment tool – whatever else he may have been.

    !

    • #9
  10. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Franco (View Comment):

    PJ was funny because he was a counter-culture guy. He was a rebel. He thought outside the box (probably the experience with drugs, but that’s a different subject).

    In his later years he became just another fuddy-duddy curmudgeon lamenting about “kids today” and craving the “normality” of such people as Hillary Clinton.

    I think he was funny because he was talented and funny.  It didn’t matter what topic he was writing about, he could bring humor to it.

    Franco (View Comment):

    Highlighting P.J.’s hypocrisy was his position – as a self-proclaimed libertarian – that Social Security payments should be means-tested and withheld from senior who make a certain amount of money. So, not only can the state take away thousands of dollars of your money for decades, if you finally manage to succeed the money promised by the government should get retroactively hovered because now you, according to them, don’t need it.

    Obviously, this violates any libertarian mindset on several levels, besides horribly undermining the public’s trust in government promises. 

    First of all, a hypocrite is someone who says we should all do A, but then does B himself.  It does not make one a hypocrite if one identifies with an ideological movement and differs with it on a handful of issues.  If that is how you define a hypocrite, then 99% of the people who call ourselves conservative, liberal, progressive, libertarian, whatever are hypocrites.

    Secondly, there are plenty of libertarians who think we ought to just admit that Social Security is a straight-up welfare program and treat it as such.  Leaving Social Security as it is, is not a bedrock libertarian principle.

    • #10
  11. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Franco (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Franco (View Comment):
    Obviously, this violates any libertarian mindset on several levels, besides horribly undermining the public’s trust in government promises.

     

    Not trusting government promises is probably the most fundamental part of the libertarian mindset.

     

    So are you saying PJ was being subversive in his proposal? That is, encouraging the government of doing even more evil so as to provoke a counter-movement, or something?

    I can’t imagine that’s what you are saying. If so, I highly doubt it.

    For more background, PJ used himself and his own accumulated wealth to postulate this proposal. Of course, the precise level of wealth remained undefined. PJ never addressed the notion that this might become a slippery slope whereby “wealth” is defined down for the convenience of Democrats.

     

    Actually, I was making fun of you for suggesting that it’s a problem for a libertarian (or a conservative) to espouse policies that undermine faith in government. 

    if you want to trust the government, go become a leftist. 

    • #11
  12. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Actually, I was making fun of you for suggesting that it’s a problem for a libertarian (or a conservative) to espouse policies that undermine faith in government. 

    if you want to trust the government, go become a leftist. 

    I don’t mind being made fun of, but what you are implying doesn’t make sense.

    First, you only quoted a portion. In context it’s clear he is not exposing policies in order to undermine faith in the government. He was espousing policies because of ‘fairness’ and the idea that he, being now wealthy, didn’t need his Social Security check and that it should go to someone more deserving. This is collectivism or as you say “leftism”.  As a side effect, I mentioned this would also undermine faith in government promises, but the real hypocrisy was calling himself a “libertarian” and advocating for government to forcibly and retroactively redistribute wealth.

    • #12
  13. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    First of all, a hypocrite is someone who says we should all do A, but then does B himself.  It does not make one a hypocrite if one identifies with an ideological movement and differs with it on a handful of issues.  If that is how you define a hypocrite, then 99% of the people who call ourselves conservative, liberal, progressive, libertarian, whatever are hypocrites.

    Secondly, there are plenty of libertarians who think we ought to just admit that Social Security is a straight-up welfare program and treat it as such.  Leaving Social Security as it is, is not a bedrock libertarian principle.

    But differs on fundamental issues?

    Randy, being for government confiscation of earned savings – remember that SS is paid into the system over time from the first day you work, depriving you of that money but promising ‘it’ to you in the future. You can’t claim to be a libertarian and also believe those forced savings could be legitimately confiscated due to means testing. It’s essentially collectivism.

    Social Security, as bad as it is, is not a form of welfare. It’s a forced retirement plan. No government funds are dispersed. The program forces your employer to pay 7.5% and the employee to pay 7.5 % and then allows you to collect the payments on a limited basis. It’s not a friendly program, but it’s not “welfare”. Granted they borrowed against it and spent much of it, so now it’s become a Bernie Madoff scheme on a grand scale.

    I lean libertarian, although I’m not a dogmatic libertarian, and I’d be for phasing it out in theory. But of course that can’t happen because they need money coming in to keep the Ponzi scheme going.

    Interesting tidbit: When Social Security idea was first trotted out, there were a substantial number of people who argued that the Social Security number would someday become an identification number. They assured everyone that was an absolutely ridiculous notion and those people should take off their tin-foil hats. 

    Whatever, P.J. was wrong calling himself a libertarian. More like a rich and naive collectivist.

     

     

    • #13
  14. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Both Jonah and J-Pod liked “Reacher.”

    • #14
  15. Taras Coolidge
    Taras
    @Taras

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Both Jonah and J-Pod liked “Reacher.”

    I dunno.  The actor looks too much like a male model.

    Toby and James on “London Calling” like to point out that supposedly the guy travels around eating fast food and getting no exercise. When he looks like what he actually is: somebody who spends several hours a day in the gym and eats an all-protein diet.

    I vaguely recall that I kind of liked the Tom Cruise movies.

    • #15
  16. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Taras (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Both Jonah and J-Pod liked “Reacher.”

    I dunno. The actor looks too much like a male model.

    Toby and James on “London Calling” like to point out that supposedly the guy travels around eating fast food and getting no exercise. When he looks like what he actually is: somebody who spends several hours a day in the gym and eats an all-protein diet.

    I vaguely recall that I kind of liked the Tom Cruise movies.

    Except Reacher is supposed to be like 6′ 4″ and Cruise is like 5′ 7″, not even as tall as little old me.  The idea of him throwing much larger men around barrooms etc is as ridiculous as the little female “action stars” doing it.

    • #16
  17. Taras Coolidge
    Taras
    @Taras

    The woman in the car who asked young Rob Long if he partied was probably looking for drugs, and thought he might be a drug dealer.

    • #17
  18. Taras Coolidge
    Taras
    @Taras

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Taras (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Both Jonah and J-Pod liked “Reacher.”

    I dunno. The actor looks too much like a male model.

    Toby and James on “London Calling” like to point out that supposedly the guy travels around eating fast food and getting no exercise. When he looks like what he actually is: somebody who spends several hours a day in the gym and eats an all-protein diet.

    I vaguely recall that I kind of liked the Tom Cruise movies.

    Except Reacher is supposed to be like 6′ 4″ and Cruise is like 5′ 7″, not even as tall as little old me. The idea of him throwing much larger men around barrooms etc is as ridiculous as the little female “action stars” doing it.

    Actually, no.  Some short guys compensate, rise to the challenge by getting super-strong.  And developing their martial arts skills.

    In a movie or TV show, the casting director can make adjustments.  For example, Debra Winger looks tall next to Richard Gere, and petite next to John Travolta.

    • #18
  19. J Ro Member
    J Ro
    @JRo

    “He was a nice guy.”

    PJ O’Rourke was working at National Lampoon right when I was at the perfect age to enjoy his humor and style. As I matured I continued to enjoy many of his other works as he wrote them.

    I was traveling with a buddy in China just after the Beijing Olympics in 2008. We were looking to get a room at Nanjing University (back in the day Chinese universities had special dorms for Western students and rented rooms to foreign travelers) and were walking towards the campus with a crappy Chinese map on a poorly lit road. We met a Caucasian couple walking in the opposite direction so we stopped and asked them if we were heading towards the University gate. He said yes, it is just up the road. We thanked them and went on our way.

    As we walked away my friend said, “He looks a lot like P J O’Rourke.” I said, “Yeah, I thought so, too!” But I was thinking it was not likely to meet a celebrity on a night walk in Nanjing so I hadn’t said anything. My friend observed, “And when we intercepted their walk, his partner sort of rolled her eyes and made a face like, “Here we go again! We’ll never get away from these fans!”” We were pretty sure.

    In the following years PJ O’Rourke wrote and talked about his travels in Nanjing and around China. I’ll always regret that my friend and I hadn’t taken that rare opportunity to thank him for entertaining and educating us. May he rest in peace.

    • #19
  20. Fresch Fisch Member
    Fresch Fisch
    @FreschFisch

    Wyle E Coyote v. Acme products company

    Classic

    • #20
  21. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    February was another disappointing month for the GLoP advertisers.

    • #21
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