'Republican Party Reptile' is a collection of essays and journalism in which P J O'Rourke sets out to prove that it's not just liberals who know how to crack jokes. He aims his special brand of sex, drug and beer fuelled humour on such diverse subjects as war torn Beirut, leafy New Hampshire and prime-time TV. Democrats, liberals and others whose political colours are tinged pink should not be put off, O'Rourke's chauvinistic and flag-waving convictions are at least honestly expressed and are tempered with equally as much self-depreciation and compassion. He is surely one of very few writers who can, with all sincerity, combine a tearful vigil in a Manilla church with a high speed chase across his beloved USA in a Ferrari within a hundred pages. O'Rourke is a writer of contrasts and contradictions so he is unlikely to change too many minds or challenge many sacredly held beliefs, but you may fall off the fence with laughter, proving at least the hypothesis that Republicans can have a good time.
This was PJ's first anthology and it's a wicked delight. Two highlights: the immortal, "How To Drive Fast On Drugs While Getting Your Wing-Wang Squeezed Without Spilling Your Drink", the essential guide to irresponsible driving: "There's lots of argument about what kind of car drives best. Some say a front-wheel drive car. Some say a rear-wheel drive. I say it's a rental car. There are things you can do with a rental car that are just impossible with any other kind of vehicle." (I may be paraphrasing slightly here.) Equally dazzling is "Ship of Fools", a stunning and riotous account of PJ's trip down the Volga "as seen through the bottom of a vodka glass" in the company of some very dodgy "peace activists": "She thought the Soviet Union was heaven on earth, but she was bringing her own toilet paper." I've howled over this collection (which also contains the first of PJ's brilliant travel pieces, which have come to dominate his writing for Rolling Stone) innumerable times. Pour some iced Stoli, kick back and enjoy.
Ohhhhhh so good. Dry, acerbic, breathtaking, slightly shocking, incredibly self-aware post-teen humour from the best American author ever. If you don't laugh out loud at this book, then you have never really tried to enjoy yourself properly.
This book contains a chapter entitled "How to drive fast on drugs while getting your wing-wang squeezed without spilling your drink". That about sums it up, really. It is damn funny and you should buy it. Now.