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The passing of PJ O'Rourke

February 18, 2022 - 11:22 -- Admin

This was a very sad moment this week. I bumbled on to ABC radio to talk about who PJ was and why he mattered. But unsurprisingly Jonathon V Last did it better at The Bulwark.

P.J. was most famous for being a funnyman, but early on he did all kinds of writing. He reported. He did longform. He wrote books. And this is a big part of why writers admired him so much: P.J. could hit to all fields with power. And while he became a star, with the kind of career that most of us only dream of, he came up the hard way. He did not emerge fully formed from William Shawn’s head like Athena. He worked for it.

Let me put it this way: If you’re a writer and you look at Joan Didion, you see an untouchable prodigy, someone who might as well be from another planet.

But when you looked at P.J. O’Rourke you saw a craftsman and you thought to yourself, “If I work hard enough and hit the ball cleanly, on every at bat, every day, for a few decades . . . well, then maybe I could be like P.J.”

So that’s one reason we loved him.