By Eric Mack
February 15, 2022
Famed conservative political satirist P.J. O’Rourke died Tuesday at the age of 74, according to myriad reports.
O’Rourke was the former editor of National Lampoon and a contributor to The Atlantic Monthly, The American Spectator, and The Weekly Standard.
His death was confirmed by United Talent Agency, The U.S. Sun reported.
The cause of the death has not officially been reported, but the Internet Movie Database lists his cause of death as lung cancer.
Conservatives responded on Twitter.
Trish Regan tweeted: “I’m devastated to hear that the brilliant PJ O’Rourke — my colleague for the last year and a half — has just passed away. PJ’s humorous style was unrivaled. It was an honor to have work w/ him. He was truly one of the GREATS. RIP PJ. You will be dearly missed.”
National Review editor Richard Brookhiser tweeted a story showing O’Rourke’s wit: “P.J. O’Rourke and I sat together at the 1988 GOP convention. When Bush41 promised the death penalty for drug kingpins, PJ asked, ‘Even if the drugs are good, and the prices fair?’ R.I.P.”
O’Rourke was once a guest on Newsmax, having denounced censorship of conservative views on the campus of Rutgers University in 2014: “If you’re looking for the fundamental problem, it would be the old coots my age, victims of the ’60s, the real loser element.
“Some of us came to our senses at least partially, but the real losers wound up in academia and the long march through academia, and all this ’60s gibberish lives on on our campuses.
“By now, these people are in their 60s, in their 50s, and they’re in powerful positions . . . Americans, your people are being taught by lunatics, especially in the softer subjects like history of film and stuff.”
Despite O’Rourke having backed Hillary Clinton over President Donald Trump in 2016, saying “she’s wrong about absolutely everything, but she’s wrong within normal parameters,” Newsmax ranked O’Rourke No. 44 on its 100 most influential Libertarians in 2017: “A beloved political satirist whose wit is only slightly sharper than his tongue, O’Rourke has written books that have been translated into many languages and his columns and opinions have printed in every worthwhile — and some not so worthwhile — magazine you could imagine.”
But it was O’Rourke woefully wrong, when he claimed about Trump: “I mean, this man just can’t be president. They’ve got this button, you know, in the briefcase. He’s going to find it.”
O’Rourke, a famed foreign correspondent, was author of “Holidays in Hell: In Which Our Intrepid Reporter Travels to the World’s Worst Places and Asks, ‘What’s Funny About This?'”
And, as a sequel, O’Rourke wrote “Holidays in Heck,” who writes in its Amazon synopsis: “The O’Rourke clan treks to places as close to home as Disneyland and Washington, D.C., and as far-flung as China, all while P.J. attempts to dissuade his wife from shopping and keep his children entertained. His travels often leave him wishing he were under artillery fire again.”
In the 2011 review of that book, The New York Times noted O’Rourke had battled cancer: “Mr. O’Rourke loses his thatchy head of brown hair during chemotherapy,” the Times wrote. “His painkilling drugs make him reconsider some of his previous opinions: ‘Opiates are a blessing — and a revelation,’ he writes. ‘Now when I see people on skid row nodding in doorways, I am forced to question myself, Have they, maybe, chosen a reasonable response to their condition in life?’
“Right-wing humorists, like right-wing protest singers, are painfully rare in America,” the Times book review concluded then. “The best news in ‘Holidays in Heck’ is that Mr. O’Rourke’s cancer appears to be gone. We still need this man, bird flu bunker or not.”