“How The Hell Did This Happen,” by P.J. O’Rourke
It is a sobering realisation having a cult satirist from one’s youth become a grumpy commentator about to notch up the three score plus ten.
P.J. O’Rourke is an obligation like Meryl Streep. Their name appears on the dustcover or marquee and one has no option but to by the ticket or the copy.
Some offerings are better than others. Nevertheless everyone’s a winner.
Trying to make sense of Donald Trump’s election one is initially best advised to read A.C. Grayling.
P.J. O’Rourke doesn’t proffer reasons for this debacle like Grayling does.
He makes pronouncements. “America is experiencing the most severe outbreak of mass psychosis since the Salem witch trials of 1652”.
His conclusion that the last remaining superpower found its teacher repulsive and turned to the fat bully in the back row is the ceiling closing line.
So bad is Trump that is this libertarian, Republican reptile endorses Hillary Clinton. He calls her the second worst thing that could happen to America.
“She wrong about everything, but she’s wrong within normal parameters,” he says.
Arch proponent of gonzo journalism, O’Rourke was wont to take to the road to write his 16 books, no fewer than three of which have appeared in the New York Times bestseller list.
This time, he fulminates mostly from his couch.
I find his exhaustive treatment of all the candidates, despite their being administered the coup de grace by the voters, makes the book drag.
However his world weariness and sense of having had a gut’s full resonates.
O’Rourke’s conclusion that 2016 was not an election in the U.S.A. but a rebellion: a “War of incivility”, strikes a chord.
His observation that the outcome was a victory of the have-nothings against the arrogant elitists is not a million miles away from Grayling. 2018-09-22