Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U. S. Government

Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U. S. Government


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Called "an everyman's guide to Washington" (The New York Times), P. J. O'Rourke's savagely funny and national best-seller Parliament of Whores has become a classic in understanding the workings of the American political system. Originally written at the end of the Reagan era, this new edition includes an extensive foreword by the renowned political writer Andrew Ferguson — showing us that although the names and the players have changed, the game is still the same. Parliament of Whores is an exuberant, broken-field run through the ethical foibles, pork-barrel flimflam, and bureaucratic bullrorfle inside the Beltway that leaves no sacred cow unskewered and no politically correct sensitivities unscorched. "Highly pungent and wickedly accurate observations ... [from a] boisterous, pedal-to-the-floor humorist." — The New York Times Book Review "Outrageous ... It is insulting, inflammatory, profane, and absolutely great reading." — The Washington Post Book World "A gonzo civics book ... O'Rourke is like a trophy hunter let loose in an unguarded zoo." — Chicago Tribune

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802139702
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 02/10/2003
Series: O'Rourke, P. J.
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 384,567
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)

Read an Excerpt

Parliament of Whores

A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government
By P. J. O'Rourke

Grove Atlantic, Inc.

Copyright © 1991 P. J. O'Rourke
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-8021-3970-1

Chapter One

I have only one firm belief about the American political system, and that is this: God is a Republican and Santa Claus is a Democrat.

God is an elderly or, at any rate, middle-aged male, a stern fellow, patriarchal rather than paternal and a great believer in rules and regulations. He holds men strictly accountable for their actions. He has little apparent concern for the material well-being of the disadvantaged. He is politically connected, socially powerful and holds the mortgage on literally everything in the world. God is difficult. God is unsentimental. It is very hard to get into God's heavenly country club.

Santa Claus is another matter. He's cute. He's non-threatening. He's always cheerful. And he loves animals. He may know who's been naughty and who's bee nice, but he never does anything about it. He gives everyone everything they want without thought of a quid pro quo. He works hard for charities, and he's famously generous to the poor. Santa Claus is preferable to God in every way but one: There is no such thing as Santa Claus.

The American political system is like a gigantic Mexican Christmas fiesta. Each political party is a huge pinata-a papier-machedonkey, for example. The donkey is filled with full employment, low interest rates, affordable housing, comprehensive medical benefits, a balanced budget, and other goodies. The American voter is blindfolded and given a stick. The voter then swings the stick wildly in every direction, trying to hit a political candidate on the head and knock some sense into the silly bastard.

When you looked at the Republicans you saw the scum off the top of business. When you looked at the Democrats you saw the scum off the top of politics. Personally, I prefer business. A businessman will steal from you directly instead of getting the IRS to do it for him. And when Republicans ruin the environment, destroy the supply of affordable housing, and wreck the industrial infrastructure, at least they make a buck off it. The Democrats just do these things for fun.

Democrats are also the party of government activism, the party that says government can make you richer, smarter, taller and get the chickweed out of your lawn. Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work, and then they get elected and prove it. One philosophy is not necessarily an improvement on the other, but if you want the tooth fairy to come, you've got to have some teeth under your pillow.


Excerpted from Parliament of Whores by P. J. O'Rourke Copyright © 1991 by P. J. O'Rourke. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U. S. Government 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
O'Rourke's hysterical analysis of our government in inaction ought to be the standard textbook in all high school civics classes. Taking us from the town hall to the Supreme Court, it cuts through all the empty rhetoric and exposes just how far we've strayed from the founding fathers' hopes and ideals. 'Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys,' O'Rourke says. The evidence to support his theory is plentiful and scary. Buy a copy for your congressman.
megaden on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Oh, how I adore P.J. O'Rourke. Biting political satire, but not petty. A few of my favorite quotes: "Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys." "The Democratic platform was pure whining brat: "Like, full employment is sooooo and I hate having a big navy and you promised a drug-free America and I want my free drugs now."
carterchristian1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Funny, perceptive and as KarlNarveson has written in his review below "Frightening, really how little has changed.
cs503 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reading this book a decade and a half after it was written, it is interesting how relevant it still is. Since the book is primarily a send-up of the U.S. government, this is an understandably troubling idea. Although Mr. O'rourke is very self-centered in his writing, he still manages to be interesting and entertaining.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Some parts were funny and entertaining, others bored me to tears. I did learn a bit about the goverment though, so it wasn't a total just was not what I expected. Plus it was published 20 years ago, so facts and figures are dated. If someone were to write a modern version, I think I would have enjoyed it more.
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