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P. J. O'Rourke

Iran and Iraq have been at war for five years now. The traditional present for a fifth anniversary is wood. Here's a gift suggestion: a big stick to beat some goddamned sense into their heads.
P. J. O'Rourke god
Armenians and Azerbaijanis in Stepanakert, capital of the Nagorno-Karabakh autonomous region, rioted over much needed spelling reform in the Soviet Union.
P. J. O'Rourke men
One of the annoying things about believing in free will and individual responsibility is the difficulty of finding somebody to blame your problems on. And when you do find somebody, it's remarkable how often his picture turns up on your driver's license.
P. J. O'Rourke responsibility
No government proposal more complicated than "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private" ever works.
P. J. O'Rourke work
Marijuana never kicks down your door in the middle of the night. Marijuana never locks up sick and dying people, does not suppress medical research, does not peek in bedroom windows. Even if one takes every reefer madness allegation of the prohibitionists at face value, marijuana prohibition has done far more harm to far more people than marijuana ever could.
P. J. O'Rourke people
I am a little to the right of ... Why is the Attila comparison used? Fifth-century Hunnish depredations on the Roman Empire were the work of an overpowerful executive pursuing a policy of economic redistribution in an atmosphere of permissive social mores. I am a little to the right of Rush Limbaugh. I'm so conservative that I approve of San Francisco City Hall marriages, adoption by same-sex couples, and New Hampshire's recently ordained Episcopal bishop. Gays want to get married, have children, and go to church. Next they'll be advocating school vouchers, boycotting HBO, and voting Republican.
P. J. O'Rourke marriage
Moore's new book, Dude, Where's My Country?, contains ten chapters of fulminations convincing the convinced. However, Moore does include one chapter on how to argue with a conservative. As if. Approached by someone like Michael Moore, a conservative would drop a quarter in Moore's Starbucks cup and hurriedly walk away.
P. J. O'Rourke art
There are two organizations pushing for change in November — al Qaeda and the Democratic party. And they both have the same message: 'We're going to fix you, America.' On the whole, the terrorists have a more straightforward plan for fixing things. They're going to blow themselves up. Although, come to think of it, Howard Dean did that.
P. J. O'Rourke war
No, it turns out Saddam Hussein didn't have weapons of mass destruction. And how crazy does that make Saddam? All he had to do was tell Hans Blix, 'Look anywhere you want. Look under the bed. Look beneath the couch. Look behind the toilet tank in the third presidential palace on the left, but keep your mitts off my copies of Maxim.' And Saddam could have gone on dictatoring away until Donald Rumsfeld gets elected head of the World Council of Churches. But no . . .
P. J. O'Rourke you
Saddam Hussein was reduced to the Unabomber — Ted Kaczynski — a nutcase hiding in the sticks. Sure, the terrorism by his supporters is frightening. Hence, its name, 'terrorism.' Killing innocent people by surprise is not called 'a thousand points of light.' But, as frightening as terrorism is, it's the weapon of losers. The minute somebody sets off a suicide bomb, you can be sure that person doesn't have 'career prospects.' And no matter how horrendous a terrorist attack is, it's still conducted by losers. Winners don't need to hijack airplanes. Winners have an Air Force.
P. J. O'Rourke people
Watching Republicans in Washington is like watching lemmings, if lemmings jumped into cesspools instead of off cliffs. Splash! There goes Mark Foley!
P. J. O'Rourke tea
The difference between American parties is actually simple. Democrats are in favor of higher taxes to pay for greater spending, while Republicans are in favor of greater spending, for which the taxpayers will pay. In foreign policy, Republicans intend to pursue the war in Iraq but to do so with a minimal number of troops on the ground. This is not to be confused with the disastrous Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld policy of using a minimal number of troops on the ground to pursue the war in Iraq. Democrats intend to end the war, but they don't know when. Democrats are making the 'high school sex promise': I'll pull out in time, honest!
P. J. O'Rourke war
The number of American presidential candidates varies with the sunspot cycle and the phases of the moon. Being a Republican, I'm backing Hillary Clinton. Because she could lose. The reason is not that she's a woman. The reason is that she's the particular woman who taught the 4th grade class that every man in America wished he were dead in. Hillary Clinton is Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown. Hillary Clinton is 'America's ex-wife.'
P. J. O'Rourke art
Incidentally, there's a balanced position that all of America's presidential candidates could take on the controversial abortion issue. If they want votes they shouldn't campaign to make abortion illegal or legal. They should campaign to make it retroactive. If a kid reaches 25 and he or she is still jobless, feckless, and sitting around Starbucks acting like a — no offense — European, then whack.
P. J. O'Rourke job
A charity ball is like a dance except it's tax deductible.
P. J. O'Rourke dance
A hat should be taken off when you greet a lady and left off for the rest of your life. Nothing looks more stupid than a hat.
P. J. O'Rourke life
Weird clothing is de rigeur for teenagers, but today's generation of teens is finding it difficult to be sufficiently weird. This is because the previous generation of teens, who went through adolescence in the sixties and seventies, used up practically all the available weirdness.
P. J. O'Rourke weird
Nothing makes an awful secret like a secret Negro... Up North, confess your bloodline freely. There's nothing a Northerner likes better than a black person who is completely white. Do not, however, try this trick with real blacks. They could give a shit... (If you travel in very sophisticated circles, you may want to turn Marcus Aurelius into Moses Schmeckle. Racism is very lower-class. Upper-class people are never racists; they're anti-Semites.)
P. J. O'Rourke people
Foreigners may pretend otherwise, but if English is spoken loudly enough, anyone can understand it, the British included. Actually, there’s no such thing as a foreign language. The world is just filled with people who grunt and squeak instead of speaking sensibly. French may be an exception. But since it’s impossible to figure out what French people are saying, we’ll never know for sure.
P. J. O'Rourke people
Full title: The Bachelor Home Companion. A practical guide to keeping house like a pig.
P. J. O'Rourke home
A good bachelor drinks his dessert (and sometimes the rest of his meals). A sweet tooth is a danger signal that you're getting too much exercise and not enough cocktails.
P. J. O'Rourke time
A steady job is at least as deleterious to the spirit of bachelorhood as a steady date. Some jobs are worse than actual wives.
P. J. O'Rourke spirit
Bachelors know all about parties. In fact, a good bachelor is a living, breathing party all by himself. At least that is what my girlfriend said when she found the gin bottles under the couch. I believe her exact words were, "You're a disgusting, drunken mess." And that's a good description of a party, if it's done right.
P. J. O'Rourke art
Cleaning, like seduction, should be done from the top down— starting with the ceiling, which is ridiculous. Gravity takes care of that.
P. J. O'Rourke art
Despite the fact that meat is made from dead animals, it shouldn't smell that way. Try this test for meat freshness: close your eyes and see if you can tell the pork chops from a gym locker.
P. J. O'Rourke animals
Even newlyweds don't spend much time together, now that few marriages outlast the appliance warranties.
P. J. O'Rourke war
For some mysterious Darwinian reason, women feel compelled to straighten up bedrooms before and after sex. Try to make love in every other room of the house.
P. J. O'Rourke love
Keeping house is as unpleasant and filthy as coal mining, and the pay's a lot worse.
P. J. O'Rourke
Never serve oysters during a month that has no paycheck in it.
P. J. O'Rourke
Remember, your body needs 6 to 8 glasses of fluid daily. Straight up or on the rocks.
P. J. O'Rourke body
The only really good vegetable is Tabasco sauce. Put Tabasco sauce in everything. Tabasco sauce is to bachelor cooking what forgiveness is to sin.
P. J. O'Rourke forgiveness
The real truth about children is they don't speak the language very well. They're physically uncoordinated. And they are ignorant of our elaborate ideas about right and wrong.
P. J. O'Rourke truth
There's only one secret to bachelor cooking— not caring how it tastes.
P. J. O'Rourke secret
You can keep the dining room clean by eating in the kitchen.
P. J. O'Rourke you
A child growing up in an excessively safe environment may never learn that he is one— not until he gets married and has a wife to tell him so.
P. J. O'Rourke men
Every generation finds the drug it needs.
P. J. O'Rourke need
Fishing ... is a sport invented by insects and you are the bait.
P. J. O'Rourke you
Freddie Aguilar, who's billed as "the Bob Dylan of the Philippines." This is unfair, since he's good-looking, plays the guitar well, can carry a tune, and writes songs that make sense.
P. J. O'Rourke good
I mean, so what if some fifty-eight-year-old butt-head gets a load on and starts playing Death Race 2000 in the rush-hour traffic jam? What kind of chance is he taking? He's just waiting around to see what kind of cancer he gets anyway. But if young, talented you, with all of life's possibilities at your fingertips, you and the future Cheryl Tiegs there, so fresh, so beautiful— if the two of you stake your handsome heads on a single roll of the dice in life's game of stop-the-semi— now that's taking chances! Which is why old people rarely risk their lives. It's not because they're chicken— they just have too much dignity to play for small stakes.
P. J. O'Rourke life
Some people say a front-engine car handles best. Some people say a rear-engine car handles best. I say a rented car handles best.
P. J. O'Rourke people
I'm a registered Republican and consider socialism a violation of the American principle that you shouldn't stick your nose in other people's business except to make a buck.
P. J. O'Rourke people
In fact, safety has no place anywhere. Everything that's fun in life is dangerous. Horse races, for instance, are very dangerous. But attempt to design a safe horse and the result is a cow (an appalling animal to watch at the trotters.) And everything that isn't fun is dangerous too. It is impossible to be alive and safe.
P. J. O'Rourke life
Man developed in Africa. He has not continued to do so there.
P. J. O'Rourke man
Jewishness cropped up and has never successfully been put down since.
P. J. O'Rourke success
Industrialization came to England but has since left.
P. J. O'Rourke sin
Neither conservatives nor humorists believe man is good. But left-wingers do.
P. J. O'Rourke humor
Something is happening to America, not something dangerous but something all too safe. I see it in my lifelong friends. I am a child of the "baby boom," a generation not known for its sane or cautious approach to things. Yet suddenly my peers are giving up drinking, giving up smoking, cutting down on coffee, sugar, and salt. They will not eat red meat and go now to restaurants whose menus have caused me to stand on a chair yelling, "Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, dinner is served!" This from the generation of LSD, Weather Underground, and Altamont Rock Festival! And all in the name of safety! Our nation has withstood many divisions— North and South, black and white, labor and management— but I do not know if the country can survive division into smoking and non-smoking sections.
P. J. O'Rourke life
The forces of safety are afoot in the land. I, for one, believe it is a conspiracy— a conspiracy of Safety Nazis shouting "Sieg Health" and seeking to trammel freedom, liberty, and large noisy parties. The Safety Nazis advocate gun control, vigorous exercise, and health foods. The result can only be a disarmed, exhausted, and half-starved population ready to acquiesce to dictatorship of some kind.
P. J. O'Rourke freedom
The Institute of U.S. and Canadian Studies is supposed to have subscribed to the Village Voice for six years in an attempt to find out about life in America's rural areas.
P. J. O'Rourke life
The real slums are another matter. The bad parts of Tondo are as bad as any place I've seen, ancient, filthy houses swarmed with the poor and stinking of sewage and trash. But there are worse parts— squatter areas where people live under cardboard, in shipping crates, behind tacked-up newspapers. Dad would march you straight to the basement with a hairbrush in his hand if he caught you keeping your hamster cage like this.
P. J. O'Rourke war
The Soviet constitution guarantees everyone a job. A pretty scary idea, I'd say.
P. J. O'Rourke job
These were people who believed everything about the Soviet Union was perfect, but they were bringing their own toilet paper.
P. J. O'Rourke people
To really enjoy drugs you've got to want to get out of where you are. But there are some wheres that are harder to get out of than others. This is the drug-taking problem for adults. Teenage weltschmerz is easy to escape. But what drug will get a grown-up out of, for instance, debt?
P. J. O'Rourke joy
Civilization is an enormous improvement on the lack thereof.
P. J. O'Rourke men
Cockfighting has always been my idea of a great sport— two armed entr
P. J. O'Rourke fight
Earnestness is just stupidity sent to college.
P. J. O'Rourke stupidity
Everything on a boat has a different name than it would have if it weren't on a boat. Either this is ancient seafaring tradition or it's how people who mess around with boats try to impress the rest of us who actually finished college.
P. J. O'Rourke people
Harvard has been almost as important to the American Jewish community as the pork-sausage industry.
P. J. O'Rourke age
I am no stranger to loud noise. I've been to a Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels concert. I once dated a woman with two kids.
P. J. O'Rourke man
I can understand why mankind hasn't given up war. During a war you get to drive tanks through the sides of buildings and shoot foreigners— two things that are usually frowned on during peacetime.
P. J. O'Rourke war
I like to do my principal research in bars, where people are more likely to tell the truth or, at least, lie less convincingly than they do in briefings and books.
P. J. O'Rourke truth
I've always figured that if God wanted us to go to church a lot He'd have given us bigger behinds to sit on and smaller heads to think with.
P. J. O'Rourke church
If Christ came back tomorrow, He'd have to change planes in Frankfurt. Modern air travel means less time spent in transit. That time is now spent in transit lounges.
P. J. O'Rourke time
In Western Australia they don't even know how to make that vital piece of sailing-boat equipment, the gin and tonic.
P. J. O'Rourke men
Only one way to cover a story like this, and make that a double, bartender, please.
P. J. O'Rourke art
It had never occurred to us that the Kremlin's new anti-booze campaign would apply to journalists. Now, that's a human-rights violation.
P. J. O'Rourke man
Italy is not technically part of the Third World, but no one has told the Italians.
P. J. O'Rourke art
Moscow has changed. I was here in 1982, during the Brezhnev twilight, and things are better now. For instance, they've got litter. In 1982 there was nothing to litter with.
P. J. O'Rourke change
One nice thing about the Third World, you don't have to fasten your seat belt. (Or stop smoking. Or cut down on saturated fats.) It takes a lot off your mind when average life expectancy is forty-five minutes.
P. J. O'Rourke life
Some people are worried about the difference between right and wrong. I'm worried about the difference between wrong and fun.
P. J. O'Rourke people
The America's Cup is like driving your Lamborghini to the Grand Prix track to watch the charter buses race.
P. J. O'Rourke art
The Australian language is easier to learn than boat talk. It has a vocabulary of about six words.
P. J. O'Rourke words
The French are a smallish, monkey-looking bunch and not dressed any better, on average, than the citizens of Baltimore. True, you can sit outside in Paris and drink little cups of coffee, but why this is more stylish than sitting inside and drinking large glasses of whiskey I don't know.
P. J. O'Rourke age
The interesting thing about staring down a gun barrel is how small the hole is where the bullet comes out, yet what a big difference it would make in your social schedule.
P. J. O'Rourke you
The Italians have had two thousand years to fix up the Forum and just look at the place.
P. J. O'Rourke
The larger the German body, the smaller the German bathing suit and the louder the German voice issuing German demands and German orders to everybody who doesn't speak German. For this, and several other reasons, Germany is known as 'the land where Israelis learned their manners'.
P. J. O'Rourke man
The most extraordinary change in Moscow was Arbat Street, the USSR's first pedestrian mall. Of course, there's something a little sad about a pedestrian mall in a nation where few people own cars— the whole damn country's a pedestrian mall.
P. J. O'Rourke change
There are a lot of mysterious things about boats, such as why anyone would get on one voluntarily.
P. J. O'Rourke
There are probably more fact-finding tours of Nicaragua right now than there are facts— the country has shortages of practically everything.
P. J. O'Rourke age
They don't like anyone who isn't Korean, and they don't like each other all that much, either. They're hardheaded, hard-drinking, tough little bastards, "the Irish of Asia".
P. J. O'Rourke drinking
To grasp the true meaning of socialism, imagine a world where everything is designed by the post office, even the sleaze.
P. J. O'Rourke world
War will exist as long as there's a food chain.
P. J. O'Rourke food
What would be a road hazard anywhere else, in the Third World is probably the road.
P. J. O'Rourke world
There are twenty-seven specific complaints against the British Crown set forth in the Declaration of Independence. To modern ears they still sound reasonable, in large part, because so many of them can be leveled against the federal government of the United States.
P. J. O'Rourke art
The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work, and then they get elected and prove it.
P. J. O'Rourke art
was there, too, looking – it was indeed a strange week in Washington – great. She had her hair done up in something my wife said was a chignon, and whatever it was, it made Marilyn look considerably less like a Cape buffalo than usual. Though actually I admired the Cape buffalo look. I have an idea that – like a Cape buffalo – if Marilyn Quayle gets furious and charges, you've got only one shot at the skull. You wouldn't want to just wound her.
P. J. O'Rourke hate
Many reporters, when they go to work in the nation’s capital, begin thinking of themselves as participants in the political process instead of glorified stenographers.
P. J. O'Rourke art
The whole idea of our government is this: If enough people get together and act in concert, they can take something and not pay for it.
P. J. O'Rourke people
is the archtypical extremely smart person who went into politics anyway instead so doing something worthwhile for his country. So maybe he owes all of us an apology...
P. J. O'Rourke politics
The American political system is like a gigantic Mexican Christmas fiesta. Each political party is a huge pi
P. J. O'Rourke art
Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.
P. J. O'Rourke power
Imagine if all of life were determined by majority rule. Every meal would be a pizza. Every pair of pants, even those in a Brooks Brothers suit, would be stone-washed denim. Celebrity diet and exercise books would be the only thing on the shelves at the library. And — since women are a majority of the population — we'd all be married to .
P. J. O'Rourke life
Authority has always attracted the lowest elements in the human race. All through history mankind has been bullied by scum. Those who lord it over their fellows and toss commands in every direction and would boss the grass in the meadows about which way to bend in the wind are the most depraved kind of prostitutes. They will submit to any indignity, perform any vile act, do anything to achieve power. The worst off-sloughings of the planet are the ingredients of sovereignty. Every government is a parliament of whores. The trouble is, in a democracy, the whores are us.
P. J. O'Rourke history
The second item in the liberal creed, after self-righteousness, is unaccountability. Liberals have invented whole college majors— psychology, sociology, women's studies— to prove that nothing is anybody's fault. No one is fond of taking responsibility for his actions, but consider how much you'd have to hate free will to come up with a political platform that advocates killing unborn babies but not convicted murderers. A callous pragmatist might favor abortion and capital punishment. A devout Christian would sanction neither. But it takes years of therapy to arrive at the liberal view.
P. J. O'Rourke women
At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child — miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill-disciplined, despotic and useless. Liberalism is a philosophy of sniveling brats.
P. J. O'Rourke philosophy
I have often been called a Nazi, and, although it is unfair, I don't let it bother me. I don't let it bother me for one simple reason. No one has ever had a fantasy about being tied to a bed and sexually ravished by someone dressed as a liberal.
P. J. O'Rourke sex
The principal feature of American liberalism is sanctimoniousness. By loudly denouncing all bad things — war and hunger and date rape — liberals testify to their own terrific goodness. More important, they promote themselves to membership in a self-selecting elite of those who care deeply about such things.... It's a kind of natural aristocracy, and the wonderful thing about this aristocracy is that you don't have to be brave, smart, strong or even lucky to join it, you just have to be liberal.
P. J. O'Rourke war
You can't get good Chinese takeout in China and Cuban cigars are rationed in Cuba. That's all you need to know about communism.
P. J. O'Rourke good
You can't shame or humiliate modern celebrities. What used to be called shame and humiliation is now called publicity. And forget traditional character assassination; if you say a modern celebrity is an adulterer, a pervert and a drug addict, all it means is that you've read his autobiography.
P. J. O'Rourke character
Speech delivered May 6, 1993 for the opening of the Cato Institute's headquarters in Washington, D.C.
P. J. O'Rourke art

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