Monday, 21 September 2009

P.J. O'Rourke identifies smugness and self-importance

My friends, there's a great profile of P.J. O'Rourke in a recent edition of The Daily Telegraph. In it he identifies correctly the priggish nature of the Left, even when they are trying to be funny:

...he criticises the smugness and self-importance that he feels has crept into some political satire – not surprisingly, a trait he sees more on the Left than on the Right. “It does not do for a political humourist to be smug. We’re not offering policy alternatives; we’re pointing out political absurdities. We’re the ones switching on the kitchen lights and watching the cockroaches scamper. But we’re not going in there to stamp on them. That shouldn’t be our role.”

The piece goes on to mention that he is the most quoted living writer in The Penguin Dictionary of Modern Humorous Quotations, and asks P.J. which is his personal favourite:

...he opts for an observation he made in 1993 that is enjoying a new lease of life today: “If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free,” he famously opined at a gala dinner for the libertarian Cato Institute as the then First Lady Hillary Clinton pursued her doomed efforts to reform the health care system.

“It’s very flattering to invent a catchphrase that sticks around and hear those words being quoted again,” he says, 16 years later. “They probably stand up to analysis and time because they’re true.”

Quite right, P.J., quite right.

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