If satirists are at their best when tussling with something they hate, then this is P.J. O'Rourke's masterpiece. He clearly hates government--and has hated it since before it was cool to do so--and for all the right reasons, too: it's clumsy, inefficient, hypocritical, greedy, and arrogant. In other words, it magnifies the faults of the poor saps who staff it. Parliament of Whores is the humorist's howl of bitter laughter at the entire bloated, numskulled mess. As befits an ex-editor of National Lampoon, nothing is out of bounds for O'Rourke. Speaking of the fabled "football"--that satchel that follows the president around 24/7--the author doubts there are really launch codes in there at all--nothing but "a copy of Penthouse and a pint bottle of Hiram Walker--a Penthouse from back in the seventies, when Penthouse was really dirty, I'll bet."
Parliament of Whores is perfect for anyone who longs to cultivate an entertaining brand of cynicism, to be "a lone voice--not crying in the wilderness, thank you, but chortling in the rec room." O'Rourke is a master at making you laugh in spite of the better angels of your nature, and the only negative thing to be said about this tour de force is that his flamethrower brand of satire leaves nothing in its wake--certainly not the suggestion of an improvement. --Michael Gerber [via]