It’s been a long time since I read it (IIRC it was anthologised in “Holidays in Hell”) but that excerpt certainly reflects his attitude – informed by the Libertarianism he embraced – that everyone is a self-interested bigot, that it’s a saving grace to be honest about being a bigot, and that it’s pointless and ridiculous to try to change any system predicated on bigotry. It’s not so much that he approves of apartheid but that he wants the reader to accept that it’s just the way things are in this dog-ear-dog world and at least they’re open about it (unlike those silly American activists with their useless boycotts and demonstrations and songs about not playing Sun City).
It’s all there in that excerpt if you read it carefully, and based on what I know about him I doubt he says anything in the essay that would lead one to another interpretation. So yes, it is very interesting that you miss the points he’s really making.
As with many privileged white guys, especially ones who enable racists rather than put on the white sheet and pointed hat, it’s easy to joke about the absurdity of it. I recognise the absurdity of racism and laugh about it as well, but after I do that my response isn’t to just shrug it off.
Okay, maybe my favorite typo of the day. Now all I can picture is dog-eared copies of his writings, with notes scribbled in the margins about how wrong he was about so many things.
In this dog-ear-dog world, librarians are hurling well-read books at each other!
This is a good time to remember that those “indignant demonstrations” helped end Apartheid even though the Reagan administration that O’Rourke so venerated was an ally and supporter of the racist South African regime.
You don’t shrug it off and neither do I. I don’t assume P.J. did (but I can’t know). As my quote shows, he was perfectly aware of systemic racism but he did write humor pieces. He was not Upton Sinclair.
Having read more of his writing, apparently more extensively and more in context with his stated ideological worldview than his supposed fans do, I’m very comfortable doing so.
He was indeed a satirist, a very clever and often funny one, but he was also the kind of conservative one who wasn’t really interested in effecting any real change in the Swiftian mode. Even Mencken, to whom he fancied himself the literary heir and who was problematic in his own way, occasionally did try to effect real change with his work. O’Rourke was content to sit back and support neoliberalism and its twisted view of humanity as the default and profit off its spectacle as a supposedly disinterested observer.
Yeah. I know. Without the heretics life would be so boring, eh? I’m not a big commenter but I weighed in because I have read a number of P.J.s books and I quite liked them. If it helps, the troglodytes on gettr think I’m a communist.
It’s no great distinction to be called a Communist by fascists. They consider George W. Bush to be a pinko. That’s one of the many reasons that joining and participating in their forums is the act of a fool (at best).
You’d think that PJ – with his razor-sharp wit, control of the English language, and apparent wish to change the world – would have picked up on how it was the conservatives (emboldened) who embraced him. Of course, he knew… and, given that, the kindest thing one could say about it? He simply went with the kind of satire that paid off for him, and perhaps without much if any effect on his conscience.