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From Left to Write

Libertarian curmudgeon and author P.J. O'Rourke muses about fatherhood at 50, the politics of cigar smoking, and why economics is funny.
Alysse Minkoff
From the Print Edition:
John F. Kennedy, Nov/Dec 98

(continued from page 4)

A frequent contributor to Cigar Aficionado, Alysse Minkoff is a freelance writer based in Beverly Hills, California, and co-author with actor George Hamilton of Life's Little Pleasures (General Publishing Group).

P.J. O'Rourke on the Politics of Cigars

THE RECENT POPULARITY OF CIGARS:
"I was glad to see other people enjoying something that I enjoyed, especially in that it was something that annoyed a whole bunch of other people. The bad part of it was watching 26 year olds from Wall Street smoke half a Cohiba and leave it in the ashtray while they went and got green. It was sorta funny to watch them get green, but it wasn't funny to watch the Cohiba go to waste. I would prefer that if they were going to do something that they really don't want to do in order to look cool, that they would stick with Martinis."

CIGAR ETIQUETTE:
"I don't smoke the band. Anytime there is something good, whether it's wine or whiskey or cigars and, I suppose, women, there's going to be somebody around making too much of this. A nice little pleasure is a nice little pleasure. If you're smoking good cigars, it's rude to throw that in other people's faces. And of course, if you were smoking bad cigars, why would you want anybody to know, so you take the band off."

THE IRONY OF SMOKING RESTRICTIONS:
"Russia is the world's smelliest country and Russians are the world's smelliest people [and yet, on the Trans-Siberian railroad, you can smoke only on the platforms between cars]. Neither dry cleaning nor soap have caught on there yet, let alone pollution control. I'd spent nearly a month being gagged by coal smoke, diesel fumes, industrial effluvia and BO. Then I stepped out into the train car vestibule, lit a Montecristo No. 3 and all the Russians ran away holding their noses."

HIS FAVORITE SMOKE:
"Montecristos are my favorite cigars in the world, but I can never remember what's a Number 1 or what's a 2. If somebody were to call me up and say, 'Would you like a box of [Montecristo] 19s?' I would have no idea what they were talking about."

An O'Rourke Sampler

POLITICAL PARTIES
"Democrats are...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." --from A Parliament of Whores

JOURNALISTS
"You say we [reporters] are distracting from the business of government. Well I hope so. Distracting a politician from governing is like distracting a bear from eating your baby. Or like getting a dog to quit chewing on your wallet, anyway." --from Age and Guile

AUTOMOBILES
"We're told cars are dangerous. It's safer to drive through South Central Los Angeles than to walk there. We're told cars are wasteful. Wasteful of what? Oil did a lot of good sitting in the ground for millions of years. We're told cars should be replaced by mass transportation. But it's hard to reach the drive-through window at McDonald's from a speeding train. And we're told cars cause pollution. A hundred years ago city streets were ankle deep in horse excrement. What kind of pollution do you want? Would you rather die of cancer at eighty or typhoid fever at nine?" --from Age and Guile


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