This section notes the passing of P.J. O’Rourke on 15 February.
A quintessentially American satirist who was known for irreverent and relatable observations, O’Rourke served as Editor-In-Chief of National Lampoon during its comic heyday in the 1970’s.
He later authored numerous books of mostly political humor, including Parliament of Whores and All the Trouble in the World: The Lighter Side of Overpopulation, Famine, Ecological Disaster, Ethnic Hatred, Plague, and Poverty
He was adept at skewering all sides on practically any topic or issue.
“P. J. was one of the major voices of his generation,” Grove Atlantic publisher Morgan Entrekin noted. “His insightful reporting, verbal acuity and gift at writing laugh-out-loud prose were unparalleled.”
One of the funniest (and today unprintable) contributions of O’Rourke was National Lampoon’s Sunday Newspaper, co-authored by John Hughes (who would later write and/or direct movies including The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and the classic National Lampoon’s Vacation movie series). 
The fictional Dacron Ohio Republican-Democrat was issued on newsprint, and even contained various inserts including a comics section and grocery advertisements.
It was all a glorious spoof of the times, and today stands as a record of how much more easily Americans circa 1978 could laugh at themselves and each other.
To illustrate how the observations of the fake newspaper still sound fresh, the following is an excerpt from a fake column in the edition titled “The Lighter Side of Stuff.”
The column’s fictional author, a geezer named Biff Lighter, imagines that he once had a conversation with famed American satirist Mark Twain.
According to an addle-brained Biff, Twain told him the following:
“Biff,” he said, “there’s two kinds of humorists; humorists who say there’s two kinds of humorists and others who do not. It’s these latter kind that seem so prevalent in your modern times, the most glorious and prosperous times in the world.
“They seems to believe that contempt of government is funny, and that flouting laws against marijuana in public is smart—they forget the fact that their rights are privileges that may be taken away. You see, Biff, society is like a parent–it has its little peculiarities–but it also has a parental type authority: it can ‘ground’ us in a jail, or it can cut our ‘allowance’ by putting us on a blacklist so we can’t get any work. This is done for the benefit of the whole social family, though it is sometimes as hard for us as it is for children to realize society is only looking out for our future.
“That’s why we shouldn’t be smart-alecky or sarcastic about governments any more than we should be about our parents…
“Biff, one of the wonderful things about America is that there is room for all different types of people. People who want to jiggy-jig Chilean elections or go to war against Communism. Other people, who prefer to be older, stay home and support those overseas. Some people want to run large multinational corporations, others prefer to work for these. Some to make laws, some to obey them. There is room in our great country for all these types of people.
“In our country now we have some dissidents. Some are humorists, bitter and lashing out at the world like a drunk in a hall of mirrors. Others are like the bumblebee, which science tells us can’t fly. They believe the world has got itself into an argyle-bargle of mighty magnitude because they believe it can no longer fly. We don’t need them, Biff, we never did…”

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