Readers can be excused for a little motion sickness when reading this collection of pieces from P.J. O'Rourke. To go from preaching "Armed Love" (whatever that is) to being anointed as the ultra-libertarian Cato Institute's favorite humorist in only 25 years is an astounding transformation.
Still, whether it's New Left juvenilia or high-octane auto journalism scrawled in the Age of Cocaine, one thing holds true: O'Rourke writes one hell of a sentence. Here's P.J.'s impression of Nixon explaining Vietnam to a bunch of hippies: "To be really out front, I get off on ego trips, power games. But, like that's where I'm at ... I mean you can put me down for kicking your ass but don't put me down for being an ass-kicker 'cause that's my movie." Then fast-forward 17 years: "Sure, everyone says the Sixties were fun. Down at the American Legion hall, everybody says World War II was fun, if you talk to them after 10:00 p.m." Age and Guile is fun, whatever time it is.
Judging by this enjoyable volume, political humorist P.J. O'Rourke was a smart-ass when he was a drug-crazed hippie radical and remains one today as a conservative basher of liberal folly. Norman Dietz has a perfect handle on his sense of humor in this anthology covering more than twenty-five years of his commentary. Whether the listener agrees or disagrees with his politics won't affect the pleasurable effect of his comic iconoclasm, which Dietz delivers with personality and a good sense of timing. Y.R. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine