P.J. O'Rourke: is there a writer we more heartily wished had a blog right now? The country is in the throes of an ideological earthquake, and P.J. O'Rourke is a right-wing free-market ideologue who is too smart not to allow himself to be tossed around a bit, and too entertaining a writer to elicit much of our indignation in the case he doesn't end up landing that much closer on the spectrum to raging creative class Bolshevism. Well, we'd been wondering where the writer and Rolling Stone "foreign affairs desk" chief had been during the End of Capitalism, and it turns out today that he has been preoccupied getting ass cancer. (His phrase, not ours!) The good news is that it seems to have been detected early: he assures us he has a 95% chance of survival. The other good news: it's good material! From today's LA Times:
Furthermore, I am a logical, sensible, pragmatic Republican, and my diagnosis came just weeks after Teddy Kennedy's. That he should have cancer of the brain, and I should have cancer of the ass ... well, I'll say a rosary for him and hope he has a laugh at me. After all, what would I do, ask God for a more dignified cancer? Pancreatic? Liver? Lung?… No doubt death is one of those mysterious ways in which God famously works. Except, on consideration, death isn't mysterious. Do we really want everyone to be around forever?…Napoleon was doubtless a great man in his time — at least the French think so. But do we want even Napoleon extant in perpetuity? Do we want him always escaping from island exiles, raising fanatically loyal troops of soldiers, invading Russia and burning Moscow? Well, at the moment, considering Putin et al, maybe we do want that. But, century after century, it would get old. And what with Genghis Khan coming from the other direction all the time and Alexander the Great clashing with a Persia that is developing nuclear weapons and Roman legions destabilizing already precarious Israeli-Palestinian relations — things would be a mess. Then there's the matter of our debt to death for life as we know it. I believe in God. I also believe in evolution. If death weren't around to "finalize" the Darwinian process, we'd all still be amoebas. We'd eat by surrounding pizzas with our belly flab and have sex by lying on railroad tracks waiting for a train to split us into significant others.
As for that last sentence, I don't know quite what it means, and I am tempted to say if anyone would I'd be that person. But the important part is, P.J. O'Rourke thanks God for death (and to that end, whiskey.) Taxes can't be very far behind.