Everything I know about writing funny stuff, I know from reading P.J. O'Rourke, (well, except for the parts I know from reading Florence King,) so writing this pains me more than I can say:
P.J. is just not as funny anymore. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy reading his writing; I'm not sorry I bought the hardback and I'll try and get it autographed, and it's still funny, but he's lost a half-step.
Compare "Ship of Fools", his tale of a cruise down the Brezhnev-era Volga on a tour boat full of American peaceniks, to the newer "Republicans Evolving", a record of a cruise through the Galapagos on a ship crammed to the gunwales with Texas Republicans. The latter is funny in a way that elicits an occasional snort or an involuntary smile. The former was funny in a way that elicited gasping shrieks of neighbor-waking laughter and running into the next room to read passages to your housemate.
The decline was first noticeable at Peace Kills, which lacked the hilarity of Give War a Chance, and was readily apparent in Don't Vote..., which suffered from the inevitable comparison to his masterwork, Parliament of Whores.
Maybe it's just the green-eyed demon of a fangirl talking here, but marriage and fatherhood have not been good for the razor edge of the O'Rourke wit; these are the writings of a contented man. Perhaps there's at least a grain of truth to the old aphorism that people raising kids are too busy to raise hell.