Friday 2 December 2016

Imagination can help Ireland take its place among the world's nations

Published 13/05/2015 | 02:30

PJ O’Rourke is coming to Ireland to speak at the ZurichDalkey Book Festival (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
PJ O’Rourke is coming to Ireland to speak at the ZurichDalkey Book Festival (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

When asked, the great American satirist PJ O' Rourke responded: "Yes of course I'd like to come to Ireland in June". And that was about it. O'Rourke, the most quoted living man in 'The Penguin Dictionary of Modern Humorous Quotations', will be coming to Dalkey on June 13 to speak at the Book Festival.

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This reinforces rule number one of book, literary or arts festivals, which is that nobody ever got offended by being invited to something. Sometimes we forget that and think that people are "above" being asked; they are not. All they can do is decline. So why not ask them?

O'Rourke is that rare gem, a giant of American satire and analysis who has been poking fun at his own generation, the American liberal baby boomers, for years. He proves not so much rule number two but perhaps observation number two of book festivals, which is that the right-wing tend to have a better sense of humour than the left, take themselves less seriously and are inclined to be more forgiving than the men of the people.

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