Political satirist and journalist PJ O’Rourke is a panelist for the 11th annual Schieffer Symposium, which will be Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
O’Rourke is the author of 16 books, two of which reached number one on the New York Times’ best seller list. He also is a former editor in chief of National Lampoon, and reported for Rolling Stone for 20 years.
He is now a regular columnist for the Daily Beast and writes for the Weekly Standard. However, he said his main focus is books.
O’Rourke mainly writes political pieces and is currently traveling to London for a story.
“I’m working on a piece about the British parliamentary elections and I was just over in England covering that and I’m going back in about a week to cover it some more,” O’Rourke said.
He said that reading is what brought him to the field of journalism.
O’Rourke received his undergraduate degree in English from Miami University in Ohio, and he was then awarded the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. He used this to attend writing seminars where he received his masters at John Hopkins University.
“During high school I read a lot and when I graduated college, there were no jobs in reading so I became a journalist as a way to feed myself,” O’Rourke said.
O’Rourke said he will be talking about humor and uses it as a tool in his writing.
“No matter how dramatic events are there are ordinary people at the core of them, and ordinary people tend to be comic,” O’Rourke said. “In fact that was Aristotle’s definition of comedy.”
O’Rourke said he uses humor in his writing as a way to explain an event.
“Humor is a way of humanizing what might seem like a completely confusing situation,” O’Rourke said.
O’Rourke said he has not been to campus before and that he met Bob Schieffer back in the 1980s.
“My connection is with Bob and television news. As a long time print journalist, I’ve often worked with people in television news because we are not competing for anything,” he said.