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Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government Paperback – April 28, 1992
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If satirists are at their best when tussling with something they hate, then this is P.J. O'Rourke's masterpiece. He clearly hates government--and has hated it since before it was cool to do so--and for all the right reasons, too: it's clumsy, inefficient, hypocritical, greedy, and arrogant. In other words, it magnifies the faults of the poor saps who staff it. Parliament of Whores is the humorist's howl of bitter laughter at the entire bloated, numskulled mess. As befits an ex-editor of National Lampoon, nothing is out of bounds for O'Rourke. Speaking of the fabled "football"--that satchel that follows the president around 24/7--the author doubts there are really launch codes in there at all--nothing but "a copy of Penthouse and a pint bottle of Hiram Walker--a Penthouse from back in the seventies, when Penthouse was really dirty, I'll bet."
Parliament of Whores is perfect for anyone who longs to cultivate an entertaining brand of cynicism, to be "a lone voice--not crying in the wilderness, thank you, but chortling in the rec room." O'Rourke is a master at making you laugh in spite of the better angels of your nature, and the only negative thing to be said about this tour de force is that his flamethrower brand of satire leaves nothing in its wake--certainly not the suggestion of an improvement. --Michael Gerber
From Publishers Weekly
Conservative O'Rourke takes no prisoners in this deadly accurate number-one bestseller, which spent 28 weeks on PW 's hardcover list. O'Rourke's latest essay collection, Give War a Chance , will be published by Atlantic Monthly Press in May. Author tour.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top customer reviews
clueless I've been for many years about how corrupt our republic has become.
The author's sharp wit and breezy style are just frosting on the cake.
The subject matter is deadly serious and the author has done an impressive
amount of study, research, travel and interviews with informed people.
This is a serious study and analysis of how far we have migrated from
the intentions of the admirable founders of our nation, and the extent of
our modern failures. I wish he would write another serious book that
brings us up to the present disastrous situation, and the dilemma of a
presidential election with no acceptable candidate on the ballot.
Being a good journalist, PJ not only insults, but documents. He explains and the research shows. He is a serious journalist with a non-serious attitude. I understood much about the American government and enjoyed even more PJ's sarcasms. I wonder what he would write if he lived down here in Mexico, where things are that bad and worse.
He also makes it abundantly clear that the fault, dear Brutus, lies not in the stars (or our leaders) but in ourselves. We want it all, but we don't want to pay for it.
Using the apt phrase, the arch observation, the deadly accurate thrust of wit to puncture the balloons of buffoonery he finds built into our system and the people who bungle and abuse it, he actually presents a factually serious account of what goes wrong and why it continues to go wrong. He just can't help doing so without a large dose of insightful and wicked humor. Written back in the days of Bush Senior, before 9/11, it really would be overwhelmingly depressing how little things have changed and how the DC Band Plays On no matter what, if you didn't find the horse laugh in it all.
You will never listen to a budget battle, or the justification for a farm bill, or just about any other pose or posture taken by our fearless leaders again without a smile on your face. Of course we, the public, continue to fund and support this nonsense so we have no one but ourselves to blame.
The Republic has been beset by fools, incompetents, liars, cheats, morons and pompous asses from its inception. Luckily for us, it has also always had its cynical observers, ready with the stilleto of reason and common sense to jab, torment, mock and debunk the participants in this carnival of clowns. P.J. O'Rourke takes his place in that long pantheon of wits from Henry Adams and Mark Twain, to H.L. Mencken, Will Rogers, Mort Sahl and the rest, who took great joy in pulling down Washington DC's collective pants while sounding a loud Bronx cheer. And that razzberry may be the clarion call that says, yes, we just might survive it all, one more time.