tv Conversation with Authors P.J. O Rourke and Dave Berry CSPAN February 1, 2021 1:01am-1:55am EST
current events and assesses the state of the nation after five decades of writing satire from course country road trips to bad haircuts it's what you expect he is joined by dave barry himself a master of observation and as it happens a longtime friend the back and forth between these two is just as satisfying as you would imagine. now is my great delight to introduce to you pj orrick and dave barry. >> now is my job to introduce pj a little bit more and wanted to do that thank to the miami book fair we're sorry we cannot be there live this year. but were okay because pj has a wall of books behind him which
is the world these days. >> one of these days i will so one of these my unsold copies of my own books. >> i have copies of my books they are romanian have ever read any of the books on the wall behind you? >> no. therefore show. >> is that even your wall? >> it is my role. [laughter] >> now i have lengthy because i don't think it's not even my wall is my wife small. pj i have been a fan for a long time. was in my mid- twenties before i discovered i am older because he was my humor idle when i was in my late twenties. i was a huge fan and much influenced by the national lampoon's who knows what he
did later on discovered he was actually were both born in 1947 for doing all of these incredible things for humor anyway i'm a lifelong fan and also i consider him a good friend. so i'm excited to do this to talk about a cry from the far middle. i will start by asking a general question about the book you are called a conservative humorist i know a lot of people don't believe that is even possible read your work. did he has gotten easier or harder to be a conservative humorist as you are called? i thank you are more libertarian humorous but that is how you are labeled. >> i will do it because that is how i am labeled. i feel one - - i the entire
category for me conservative. not saying of the only funny conservative plan might be the only intentionally funny conservative. >> hl mencken although he is more creative and conservative. [laughter] he has shaky moments on basic issues of principle such as being slightly of two minds about hitler. [laughter] which is a little bit like stand back and stand by people besides know they are not. but it is true by instinct much more a libertarian i'm just cheaper who likes to see bad quarters born upset moves
me into conservativism or something but hasn't gotten harder? yes it has. people who are liberals think they detest trump of the people who are conservatives this is the guy who came allegedly from our side of the aisle i will say if you are a liberal and you don't like trump, he is a stray dog and he's making a mess on your lawn if you are a liberal. who are conservative he makes a mess on my carpet because that's a stray dog from my house. [laughter] that has been rough. you don't have to make a great deal friend of trump because he's good at it himself you just have to stand aside. >> i get that a lot this must
be a gold mine for you because there is so much material but now. that's not true because you cannot exaggerate him. [laughter] chris buckley did a damn good job with make russia a great again he did manage to write a book that satirizes trump by having it written by a trump flunky who isn't that bright and quite will and is just puzzled why people don't like his boss the way he likes his boss. but it was rough. i remember when he was writing it it was giving him offense. it's hard to keep crap on the
new were pilots a long climb to the top. [laughter] so a cry from the far middle, looking for a way to summarize it for our audience and phrase that comes to mind is these kids today. you and i are both very little since gender white guys. >> that's us. [laughter] with a recurring theme in the book which is wonderfully funny things really don't change that much overtime and young people generally have no clue about anything. is that fair? [laughter] >> having three people you
have a couple. >> he just turned 40. >> oh my gosh. >> now he's being disappointed of another generation of the children. >> now he can borrow the car. [laughter] >> but i never get it back. >> of course kids today. they are clueless. why do they buy into socialism? they are too young to see just how badly it works and i was in the old soviet union when it was the soviet union in east germany and poland and eastern europe when the iron curtain had yet to rest and crumble and honestly it was
like an awful experience in every respect. but follow the berlin wall , that is long ago for my daughters as the great depression was for me. restart talk about the evils of communism we might as well talk about the smoot hallway tariff act letting me know about socialism is you can go to cuba and go get cheap relevancy and co- american cars actually put time and effort into you can also find people who are really hungry and really broke and miserable. but you have to get out of the tourist parameters to do that. so that's one thing the puts
the kids heads full of baloney besides that they are kid. i was a kid wants also i was in my sixties also in my own way caused the sixties. [laughter] i caused as much of it as i could a living through it. and demonstrating once a boat germany at the world a minute i was that idiot. how come it never occurred to us to boot? [laughter] we were greater vandalizing beginning teargas and chased by the police i guess we were hippies not into that materialistic mindset but a big plate glass window so was
i going with this? [laughter] so the kids his they buy into the marxist idea to each of his ability and his need. the need is for a private jet or a château in france so it turns out life doesn't work that way but i can start know that because there is one place where the marxist idea from each according to his ability or to his need to do is work and happen and that is the family when you bring up little kids it really is for
each according to his ability and to his need starts with diapers and ends with a soccer actually graduate school tuition if it ever ends. when you reach the cusp of adulthood that the world is not your mommy and daddy they get better and disappointed and who can blame them? does it occur to you that you are no longer provided that the test to come from somewhere. >> it never occurred to them when they were growing up did it? it never occurred to us either.
[laughter] believe me this is no means confined to you and people. but bernie has three houses and they had been provided. >> somebody provided them i don't know what you pay him to do after they had to go away from him he is paid a lot to go away frequently. my tax dollars are paying for social security but then my social security. but the idea to the extent of any economic ideas to see wealth at being zero-sum. somebody makes a pizza pie too
much money are too many slices of pizza with the dominoes box a mess and how it works we can make more pizza. it isn't easy or foolproof way to make more pizza. with a pundit or whatever you call it or a motormouth is a technical term. we want this to be a book about everyone's frustration with government. not just mine. >> you are the equal opportunity. >> offender. [laughter] i love the part close to soon
as landers. >> this is a split. a really big divide in america. it doesn't run along partisan lines but with's coastal elites and the rest of us it doesn't mean he actually live on the coast because you can be in a college town like the gulf coast to florida a know it all's between fair trade and local and me again and
gluten-free and non- gml but they are the difference between hay and straw. >> i think of myself as a heartland or my parents are from the midwest and i was stumped between the difference between hay and straw. >> don't let on that they did not know this the hay is the stock like we need to why were the greens is is the stuff that use for betting for your cows and sheep and horses were somebody else's. whereas the hay is the edible part that's we feed the horses in the cows and the sheep. the coastal elites are left in
a position to slip their lattes through a blade of hay but the angry heart landers are stuffing the scarecrow through's - - four straw putting in the white house does identify the worst for any of us. >> you live in new hampshire. clearly that is heartland. >> we had been and jerry spillover. the western went blows vermont pixie dust into new hampshire and flatlanders keep coming up from massachusetts because we have no taxes no income tax or no capital gains tax or a sales tax.
the massachusetts people were shapiro this is great no taxes and then they say where did the services go? and we that i have lived here for years and years say what services? when i first moved out to new hampshire is pretty my garbage out the end of the driveway for three weeks before i noticed it was three weeks with garbage. you have to take care of that yourself appear. you take it to the dump. >> that's one thing i know about new england is you go to the dump and he probably your driveway even in july. >> you chose that life you had to know who would be called up there. >> i wish i knew how cold. i stumbled into it.
and then to be very depressed in a cute little house 15 acres beautiful favorable beautiful views $66000 i couldn't find a parking spot i couldn't find a parking spot became a freelancer and he said you were mine if you don't change your legal residence to new hampshire here i am when i can't get out because somebody needs to plow the driveway. >> we also have a good tax situation here in florida we
have marcos then misstates but would you call that a coastal state or a heartland state? so yes it is a mix for is an interesting mix like the coastal you need element but then you have all the pics from ohio in the mix from other places with venezuela and cuba turns them directly into republicans. and those that come from other places where capitalism seemed to be more naughty than it turns them in another direction with college students all over the place especially in the spring so
one of the reasons i find jeb bush i like him personally but i think it was a good governor of florida and he didn't get thrown out of office but can't cope with the microcosm of america and as soon as they retire it is a cross-section that's one of the reasons i supported him for his run for president. and for the same reason when jeb didn't seem to be going anywhere and then to go to
about you and the land. and then to be reelected by a landslide second term. thinking he can't carpool with people on the left and on the right and down the middle. >> recently i think she endorsed joe biden so you mr. conservative humorist that you voted for hillary clinton did you get a lot of blowback quick. >> surprisingly little and the libertarian principles something that we haven't been able to do in public which is lighter.
this is a cigar. is in new hampshire what is not. >> typing i can say in favor of a pandemic it's the first time i can smoke in public and decades. voted for hillary and i didn't care for her but i voted for her the principle the devil you know versus the one that you don't i disagree with the policies and prescriptions. wasn't pleased with her record that was the most boring campaigner ever covered although joe biden is not on the road it hasn't been given the chance to compete. but how glad we you during the debate saying here's the deal we wouldn't be in any shape
and voting for hillary i had allied of respect actually more respect for obama then hillary clinton but just as much disagreement we survive for years of president obama sure we can have snap back from the recession a little quicker and then to be that complicated understand the principle behind it we don't want anybody to lose the house purchase maybe the boat. it seems a simple deal could be come up with that but the
nation survived a man it was better shape than when they came in so then to be a one term presidency and i have a feeling i will feel the same way. i would for libertarian but in the case of hillary it is a tossup it was a purple state we didn't know how it would turn out it turns out we care on the she carried the state and that might actually make the difference to go in and for over trump. anybody who raises kids will understand this metaphor.
trump is a toddler at the top of the stairs you know that moment he forgot to close the baby gay and you stand at the bottom of the stairs and the toddlers at the top. and you cannot move fast enough. so it's been almost four years now i've toddlers at the top of the stairs more than i can take. >> one observation based on what you have been saying is here you are, you are supposed to be a libertarian conservative and a fan of the democratic party at least ideologically but then you could talk calmly i will vote this way because i find that to be true with most of the people that i know here in miami talk about this candidate without it
immediately becoming anger and you are wrong and you cannot say that but yet at the top of the media political heap , nobody seems capable of doing that that i could conceivably vote for this person you're not allowed to see that are think about it or what happened and just a quick anecdote when i remember vividly was in 1860 election of nixon and kennedy it was like what was going on it was really intense for a lot of reasons my parents were staunch democrats for many
friends were republican but i remember when he will drink a lot back then. >> so grown-ups still do. >> every weekend there were cocktail parties. reloaded at our house the house was always smoke immigrant dancing and singing but the arguments road rage. but at the end of that everybody hugs and nobody hated anybody because they voted for the other team and now it is hate. people will not be friends with someone because they voted for the other person what happened? you can rationally discuss that. >> a couple of things happened one is the news media got smarter about ratings.
let's face it rational conversation like we're having right now is not great tv. you and i will not replace the kardashians for a number of reasons but the new's media always have this idea if it bleeds it leads but they also began to realize it's and sleeves it leads so it was a cool medium but the expansion of the news media wasn't necessarily such a wonderful thing but there were more voices into the public forum but on the other hand, it raised the nasty competitiveness and also splinter the audience used to be a big newspaper or chain of
small newspapers they were dependent on the broad reach of audience and they have advertisers and the guy who owned the furniture store says i want to sell so close just to democrats or republicans but to everybody so he kept a lid on things so knowing those networks dominated under public scrutiny they had to make bipartisan noises at least we tended to be fairly liberal but they had to keep that muted to a certain extent.
so now is the fundamental thing the size and scope of government has grown enormously be careful what you wish for for that because you may be increasing the size and the scope of government through the best motives but the sheer size of government raises a danger is somebody that you hate getting a hold of the gigantic government may careful how big of a government you build. that makes people much more on edge than they used to be in the size and scope of government itself gets us all mixed up about the two ideas
that government should fix the problem and government is the problem. these are two ideas you can hold in your mind at the same time without cognitive dissidents or neurosis. does anybody knows it's been down to the government office to fill out forms for a benefit that you learn and deserve and that you need and want but then you have the and those government to go through and lines to stand in the giant department of motor vehicles of life and then thinking simultaneously the government should fix the problem and the government is the problem. >> that's a brilliant idea from the farm little again to
summarize your ideas. spending billions of dollars on programs for poor people they don't need the programs they need the money. back of money makes people poorer. [laughter] is not as if we are not spending enough money on trying to fix the problem. and i did the math on this one but we don't even know how many poverty programs that we have. >> you can't have too many? poverty is bad. >> i think we could step that out at the republican
congressional committee looked into poverty programs and said we have about 92. republicans hate these you thank you know exactly but they couldn't figure it out. and then to spell $91 billion per year and i'm not counting medicare because we don't want people to be poor and sick that is really wrong so leave the medical spending out of it never you take that money and divided among the poor there is no more poor it makes them on poor. doesn't bring a single person.
>> you meet is if you give the poor people the money that we spent on poverty programs they are poor anymore? it provides about ten grand per person doesn't bring a single person above the poverty line which is $12000 for nothing to say they cannot buddy up and there is a $20000 household income for a family of four would have a 47000-dollar annual income and be willing and it is not going to the bathroom and hike over but they would be desperate for food insecure for housing and will be power. is a sustainable is at a
one-year thing? >> we can do this year after year we are spending per year on poverty programs. when it comes to being a policy wonk i have no policy. what i do know from my own taxes is the government is extremely efficient at taking money away from you. so it can be equally efficient at handing it out to their mind to it. >> you want to make rich people less comfortable. >> yes i want to make rich people uncomfortable. one thing that is dividing us as a nation is tremendous and the of the very wealthy. it and used to be that way. used to be far more unfairly
distributed during the rockefellers than it is today. but reach people want and made in the same way because rich people were all dressed up in the starch colors and women had to wear bustles they were to have food and brocade. >> why the hell do they wear a bozo? to make their but look enormous? is it pre- kardashian? and with plastic surgery on the way to miami. and then we might as well is ben and brocade work that.
then had to wait to eat dinner until 8:00 o'clock at night and those trying to have fun it's going up and they were saying no. thanks to them out of the barrel abuse or dance the polka and not have some fun like the rest of us. so nowadays more than the rockefellers ever will be jeff zuckerberg wearing underwear in public you wonder if his
mom and in the farmer jackets running around like the backstreet boys and elon musk and this looks like way too much fun and it makes us angry so all of us with the network the 1 billion should have to wear a top hat at all times. >> even the women? they should have to a top hat it doesn't do anything for income equity but a great snowball target. >> albert if we make them where a vessel?
vessel. [laughter] >> what annoyed me as a competing humorist you seem to have read everything it looks like your house is on fire. and since you are in new hampshire you are required to put it out. but you read a lot but it's clear in the book 1984 and had a fascinating observation which is that it was being done the government was manipulating the minds of the people and you have a take on
that. >> like telescreens or false history the difference between the world were well projected and the real world 2020 is that we do it to ourselves. we are spending your own money to buy these telescreens and track our every move. and the cufflink has been a major. >> you have a smart phone? >> i did but i don't anymore
because smoking and public there are a couple of advantages to be housebound. >> you have any kind of a cell phone? >> i do but i haven't used it since march. [laughter] >> is that even legal? >> that's what i'm saying about people doing this themselves. not only that, when they do have a charged up, all i do is make phone calls on it. >> you use it as a telephone? >> i use it as a telephone that's all use it for. >> and how to text but it takes me 15 minutes to text okay.
who is it to make sure every idiot in the world with every other idiot. those are even more wrong if you don't have a phone my publisher maintains a facebook site for me but every once per book of never seen it or visited i've never use social media except my publisher insisted i tweeted a few years back that it was the last book i should be out there on twitter and i found it was like just one more thing extra daily task to do you have been hard at it all day writing with phony baloney takes to pretend to have read stuff they keeps a writer busy and then you have to put out a tweet to think of something clever to say. with two or three adult beverages to ensure that best mess interpreted and then we will just blow the left your entire career. will be prior to the cancel
culture. the commander in chief of armed forces leader of the free world the man who directs foreign and domestic policies manages to find time despite all his other duties to tweet many times per day. >> i can do nothing but admire him. wonder if joe biden is a paying for his twitter account. the only really good campaign at the moment is donald trump streets. if he is underwriting the various store buildings because that's the only effective campaign being run for donald trump at the moment.
if you do my tweets i will do your point down statues of general robert e. lee. >> they ran out of statutes one - - statues. >> their point of people who have never heard of. i will help with that. >> we are on the streets we never tore down statues with liberal arts major majors they didn't have the know-how. so we levitated the country
down there. >> we're nearing the end of our time but and talk generally if you would about the issue you for your humor professionals in the time for witness careers are destroyed left and right that there are people whose careers have been destroyed and those that are afraid to make jokes or even think about making jokes and the chilling effect is real and severe. what do you think about that quick. >> it gives us more material
not that i have been in any danger the past four years of things to make fun of as we point out that trump presents these difficulties and his weakness is a lot of fun and judging by my sons the school that he goes to. everybody is walking on egg shells about everything all the time. that's a good training for being married. [laughter] of these kids are in high school and college now so you can't think this can't make fun of this will provide
incredibly valuable service? >> it will turn into a joke as all previous did and those that turned into a joke in the sixties and the stuff going on now will turn into a joke by the end of the decade. things move faster nowadays. the self-righteous are always setting themselves up to be hit in the face with a cream pie and you think that's what's going to happen? >> it will be in 1984. it is too silly. >> is there anything you want to get out i do not cover?
>> i hate when people ask me that question now that would make you feel uncomfortable. [laughter] thinks. >> i have been talking about myself for an hour what more could a humorist ask? so not only is he a humorist but a trained professional observer one of the great reporters i consider you piece will new york city survive is should be taught the single best piece when you hire the helicopter. >> with the newspaper business at its pinnacle in the year 1987 when a photographer named
check and i could rent a helicopter $8000 to take a picture just to make new york look bad on the garbage barge i had breakfast dollars 73 helicopter $8000. the miami herald said no problem. >> it was about the same time i charged "esquire" magazine $10000 for lear jet fuel. [laughter] your expense reports. >> i had some duties. not getting shot $500. [laughter] but there was one bit in that piece a fabulous photograph of a drunk guy conked out next to
the disgusting wall and the caption was new york city commissioner making sure everything is covered with graffiti to take a well-deserved break. >> that is when your clothes new york. >> it's getting back there. >> you are a national treasure your book is wonderful a cry from the far middle of should get the book and pj will work for president of the united states i don't think he will do it but that's one more reason to vote for the man. thank you. >> i miss seeing you i hope to see you in person again soon. >> come back down and sing with me. [laughter]
spent the vice president of media and editorial. shifting from in-person programs to online events during the pandemic the latest the 360 online programs and will to viewers to make this possible. we appreciate you supporting the club if you wish to do so text the word donate (415)329-4231 or visit the website at commonwealth club.org. if you are watching the program life we invite you to submit questions for our guest and then a conversation between the two i