Monday, October 6, 2008

No whiskey was injured in the writing of this post

Lost in all the hub bub of the dissolution of the American economy and the non-event that was the Biden/Palin debate was a spec of news that's important me. So I'll write about it.

There are a few writers who have really influenced me. In no particular order they are Hunter Thompson, David Halberstam and P.J. O'Rourke. Thompson's dead (suicide). Halberstam's dead (bad driver). And now P.J. O'Rourke announced last week he has cancer.

I know a pundit/essayist/drunk getting diagnosed with a "malignant hemorrhoid" (his words) isn't deserving of front page news. But golly, it took me (a news junkie) four days to find this out! And when I told friends, they hadn't heard it either. It's entirely possibly that some of you are just hearing of this now. This is a shame.

What does this have to do with Hollywood? Nothing. Unless you consider his writing to be less satire and more like clairvoyance. What do I mean? I offer the following from the essay "Hollywood Etiquette" from Republican Party Reptile (copyright 1987)
What would Talleyrand made of someone who had the power to put "Leave it to Beaver" back on network television or the power to turn a popular soft drink jingle into a $30 million movie staring Lorna Luft?
Did he foresee Ben Silverman re-issuing every show from the NBC catalog? Did he have a vision of Steve McPherson greenlighting Cavemen?

Maybe it was just a lucky guess, right? Wrong.

You ever watch The Daily Show and enjoy their visits oddball Americana? Check out Holidays in Hell (copyright 1988) and see if you recognize any similarities. What about the Colbert Report and how they skewer politicians for being...well...politicians? Try reading Parliament of Whores (copyright 1991) and see if parts don't sound familiar. And even those ill-informed blow-hards Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Chris Matthews (and sometimes even Keith Olbermann) owe a debt of gratitude to the man who made the combination of humor, drugs and blasting the government fashionable.

But P.J.'s not dead. This isn't a eulogy. I just wanted to recognize someone who has had an influence on me. If you care to, go out and read some of these books. He's one of the few who can make anything from Albanian Capitalism to Heritage USA interesting, educational and amusing. Or if you're too cheap, at least spend a minute and read his most recent column.

P.J., I hope you make it through this.
Sure your politics these days aren't where they should be (perhaps whiskey has clouded your judgement). But don't die any time soon. Because if you do, there won't be anything left for me to read.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One of your best blogs in quite a long time. Pity someone had to get a terminal illness to inspire you. I look forward to more blogs like this--recognition to unappreciated writers and artists in the entertainment industry is much needed. Thanks for starting the work week off right!

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