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Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government Paperback – January 7, 2003
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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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Among the current crop of humorists, P. J. O'Rourke is one of the very best. Though it must be acknowledged that he's operating in a target rich environment, his stories of government stupidity, overreach, waste, and arrogance are truly funny. He's pretty much a libertarian, though made uncomfortable by many of the social behaviors that it would allow and overly enamored of the armed forces, so he's just as likely to light out after stupid Republican ideas as he is to castigate Democrats. Parliament of Whores finds him in the perfect position to flail both, as he follows George Bush the elder to Washington in 1989, and sets out to examine the entire U. S. government.
Unsuspecting readers may assume that O'Rourke is just going to snidely lambaste bureaucrats, politicians, institutions, and government generally, but that assumption really underestimates him. He's after much bigger game, as he reveals in the title of the book :
Every government is a parliament of whores. The trouble is, in a democracy, the whores are us.
The various government employees and elected officials actually come out looking pretty good. As portrayed by O'Rourke, they seem for the most part to be genuinely dedicated to their work and trying to do the best they can. It is the American people who come out of this looking pretty awful. Time and again, as he shows how useless, wasteful, and outrageously expensive the myriad government programs are, O'Rourke also makes it clear that they exist, and exist at such bloated sizes, because they have constituencies. And those constituencies are not the easily caricatured and vilified underclass, they are more often the regular work-a-day middle classes.Read more ›
Eighties, P. J. O'Rourke (in his conservative incarnation) was a
hurricane of fresh air. After years of finger-wagging about how evil
America is, how the middle-class straight white male taxpayer is the
root of all evil, his satires horse-laughed all that liberal
self-righteousness right out of our systems.
All his books follow
the same convention--he collects his previously published essays of
observational humor, and writes linking material to create a unified
theme. Here, it's the federal government. Example: What are the
three branches of government? Money, television, and b.s. It's hit
or miss, as most humor is, but the hits really score
Whenever I read O'Rourke's stuff aloud to friends, there
isn't a dry seat in the house. I had the great pleasure of telling him
so in person at a book signing once. Parliament of Whores shows
P.J. to be more than a humorist--he is, if nothing else, the present
era's greatest political aphorist. Example: "When buying and
selling are legislated, the first thing to be bought and sold are
legislators." A keeper.
His budget proposal, from his cuts on bloated agencies to his final cut, the "circumcision" one, is both hilarious and a good, hard look at the way the American federal government throws money around and, often, away.
But it's not their fault, O'Rourke wryly observes. We ask them to do this TO us in the name of doing things FOR us. Or, perhaps, do it to the other guy so they can do something for me. The best idea might simply be to take some of the money off the table and not let them have so much to spend or waste.
Conservatives will love O'Rourke's condemnations and even the most liberal will have to concede many of his points. He's like Peggy Noonan on acid and, for all we know, he just might be. O'Rourke knows how to live on the wild, not just to comment on the other side.
However, as long as we must put up with the strange policies our government decides to adjudicate (witness California's legislature and governor Gray Davis circa 2003 for a more in-depth view) for us, at least we should have a good laugh. This book is a good laugh. Ah, but how I wish most of the things contained in it were not true.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I should have read this excellent book years ago. It made me realize how
clueless I've been for many years about how corrupt our republic has become. Read more
Well written an at times sober and other times, hilarious. I plan to read more books by this author.Published 3 months ago by John L. Patterson
P.J. O'Rourke is the master of political satirical commentary. His writing will make you laugh, make you angry, and may even make a liberal change their mind... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Brian McKinny
Thoroughly enjoyable read, apart from a few expletives here and there. The book gives an insightful view of the operations of the United States government, full of humor.Published 4 months ago by Douglas R. Buck
This is P.J. at his best. It's almost upsetting how much nothing has changed in the political landscape since it's original publication. Read morePublished 6 months ago by techie1974
Usual outrageousness; nothing's sacred, well researched, funny LOL. I love this guy!Published 7 months ago by Kim