Experience a year in the life of a cranky couch potato—also known as “the funniest writer in America” (The Wall Street Journal).
Touching on topics from technological change to the United Nations, this is a chronicle of the day-to-day home life and frequent harangues of a New York Times–bestselling humorist. Over the course of the year, in between rants, he does occasionally leave the sofa and embark on exotic adventures—including a blind (drunk) wine tasting with Christopher Buckley, and a Motel 6 where he has twenty-eight channels and a bathroom to himself. As readers of Parliament of Whores, Give War a Chance, and his other bestsellers know, P. J. O’Rourke takes no prisoners—though he may take a few naps.
“An entertaining and engaging read.” —Associated Press
“A wide-angled worldview from his own living room, his salon of sarcasm. He introduces readers to his assistant, friends, family and smart-aleck babysitter . . . His vitriolic wit is couched in humor that elicits the gamut from giggles to guffaws.” —Publishers Weekly
Not content to rest on his laurels, the bestselling humorist O'Rourke (All the Trouble in the World, etc.) instead settles back on his caustic couch to offer a wide-angled worldview from his own living room, his salon of sarcasm. He introduces readers to his assistant, friends, family and smart-aleck babysitter, as he reflects on such topics as cell phones ("People are willing to interrupt anything, including hiding under the bed, to answer a cell phone"), Christmas catalogues, Instant Messaging, MP3s, Nasdaq, toddlers, TV and how the "Gettysburg Address" would have turned out if written on an iMac. On a serious note, he praises the "philosophical legerdemain" of Hunter Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. He also reviews the "profound cogitations" of Hillary Clinton's 1995 It Takes a Village ("Some kinds of stupidity cannot be faked"), compares Vegas's Venetian resort to the real Venice ("Will video poker ever inspire a novella by Thomas Mann?") and contemplates the results of bias-free language ("What a piece of work is person!"). For "senior-management types," one hilarious chapter explains youth culture and current celebs, including Moby, Eminem, Carson Daly, Hilary Swank and Beck: "Beck dropped out of school after junior high so we can't blame the dot-com mess on him personally." Though his vitriolic wit is couched in humor that elicits the gamut from giggles to guffaws, O'Rourke never cushions its impact. The comedic crescendo is his centerpiece, a summary of mankind's achievements at millennium's end. This insightful (yet also funny) essay alone is worth the price of admission.
The author wrote the book 22 years ago when he was 52. He died in February of this year, 2022. Although his obits proclaim him to have been a super nice guy, he came across as sarcastic, mean-spirited and unbendable in his ultra conservative views. At the same time, his wit was sharp and made me laugh. He writes of enjoying those big fat stinky cigars which may have contributed to his dying of lung cancer. I hope to read more of his later writings and his analysis of #45. RIP PJ