Professor Mark J. Perry's Blog for Economics and Finance
~P.J. O'Rourke on NPR
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Somethimg tells me that even with a corvette, young P.J. wasn't exactly a chic magnet. Can't imagine him on the football team either. The sheer volume of passenger vehicles in America would seem to indicate that the car is far from an endangered species. By # of cars per 1000, the U.S. also comes out in the top internationally.Before sex appeal, the car's appeal was conquering distance. The car remains an efficient, comfortable, affordable, and enjoyable way to get around. I agree with P.J. that the car is no longer Steve McQueen sexy. Today's Honda Accord can beat James Bond's 1967 Aston Martin in a drag race and many of the features developed for the luxury cars like ABS, traction control, Sat. nav. are now available in regular cars. The car has become a commodity like hot & cold running water...just a means of getting from point a to point b. There are still cool vehicles for petroheads like the Zonda or the Ariel Atom. They just cost more and are sometimes completely impractical. The Zonda for example is so low to the ground that it could not negotiate a curb to get out of a parking garage on Top Gear. They had to make a ramp to try to get the car onto the road. You can't see out of the back window of a Ford GT.
I love everything O'Rourke. He makes me laugh and, more importantly, he makes me smile. Funny guy!
Maybe I'm too young or too ignorant or too hip, but this just wasn't funny. It was self deprecating in a " I don't really mean it" kind of way, and it felt like a disingenuous slap at the "good old days" mentality. I guess I do agree with him "Our passion for the automobile is gone" Though the way that he says it seems to lament the way things are. Our passion for the automobile is gone because we take it for granted. I was loaned a car when I was 16 (taken back when I graduated college), whereas my parents had to works their asses off to get a car. OF COURSE I'm going to have less passion for the automobile. I really like my car, but I only really own it for what it can do for me.
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I enjoyed O'Rourke until I read one of his books eventually, he ran out of "oh-so-witty" things to say and seemed to become bored with the subject (On the Wealth of Nations - first 2/3rds of the book is excellent; don't read the last 3 chapters). P.J. has a quick mind and a sharp wit. He does not actually present reasoned argument but debates his points by employing outlandish satirical comparisons (ie. feminism and the car...yet, we never really learn how these disparate concepts are related aside from some vague reference to Bella Abzug). This seems to be a modern form of argumentation popularized by journalists. It entertains and shocks which attracts readership but the style lacks depth of analysis and logic. P.J. is a very gifted writer and a highly intelligent man. Instead of a really insightful article, he presents homilies about life in the 1960's punctuated by the usual array of stale satirical barbs. Once you have seen this act, it's like figuring out the formula used by Agatha Christie. The genre doesn't hold much interest.
Ok Guys...you are critiquing O'Rourke as if here were publishing a scholarly and journalistic assessment of the problem. You're thinking Russ Roberts when you should be thinking Dave Barry. C'mon..cut the guy some slack.
QT just stop. The very first comment you make is an attack on PJ personally. Then you give the standard "oh he's a very good writer ... but" you're so clever you see through him.OK, I'll play. I've read too many comments by leftist who begin by making ad hominem attacks and then back up marginally before attacking again. If you read enough of QT's comments, you'll see right through her formula.Back to Canada with you.
QT, I enjoyed the PJ parody.
Bloggydoggy (aka sophist),Were any of us cheerleaders or football quarterbacks in high school? Even Rachel Welch could not get a date in high school (Source: Is there life after high school). That isn't ad hominem but ad reality check. "I've read too many comments by leftist who begin by making ad hominem attacks and then back up marginally before attacking again. If you read enough of QT's comments, you'll see right through her formula."Gee, that sounds just like a ad hominem attack...I guess I have to defer to an expert like you. Robert,PJ can and certainly does hit it out of the ballpark. Humor is a creative endevour like writing, art, or architecture. Some days you nail it and other days, you miss the mark.
Blogdog,You are right about one thing. I should not be commenting on P.J. O'Rourke when it is clear that I no longer enjoy his brand of humor.I consider him an erudite and intelligent man and find a great deal of common sense in his libertarian philosophy. Libertarianism urgently needs an eloquent spokesman to replace the hole left by the deaths of William F. Buckley and Milton Freedman. It is utterly appauling that there are posters in Washington declaring Milton Freedman the father of the global economic meltdown. Rose Freedman is right. It is the death of common sense.
“You heard the mantra, ‘Tax the rich, tax the rich… We’ve done that. We’ve probably lost jobs and driven people out of the state.”- Gov. David Paterson (D-NY)
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Dr. Mark J. Perry is a professor of economics and finance in the School of Management at the Flint campus of the University of Michigan.
Perry holds two graduate degrees in economics (M.A. and Ph.D.) from George Mason University near Washington, D.C. In addition, he holds an MBA degree in finance from the Curtis L. Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. In addition to a faculty appointment at the University of Michigan-Flint, Perry is also a visiting scholar at The American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.
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