P.J. O'Rourke's had a few pieces at Car and Driver magazine in the last few years. Getting his byline in there is probably a good idea, on the whole, but... I believe I've noted that I think P.J. O'Rourke has lost a half-step or so in the humor department, as though domesticity and fatherhood might have blunted whatever edge it was that made him go get drunk in Beirut bars before hiring a taxi across the Green Line to see if anything funny was happening in PLO-controlled areas.
Phillips makes me sad, now that the Eddie Alterman Era at Car and Driver seems to have forced him out of the NPR closet. The same guy who made me laugh to
tears in articles about driving a 512TR cross-country or taking a fleet
of 4WD minivans to Deadhorse in winter just isn't funny when he feels obliged to
slip a Fox News joke into every paragraph to show that C/D isn't the
Limbaugh of car mags anymore.
I can hear the editorial meeting:
"We're trying to appeal to a younger audience, and younger people are
more liberal, right? Work that angle." What is humorous when used as the occasional aside is monotonous when it becomes one's whole schtick.
While Aaron Robinson has occasional flashes of wit, the rest of the staff is workmanlike at best, and sophomoric too often. Worst of all, no matter how much I want to like Alterman, if only for the reason that my generation is finally at the helm of my favorite car magazine, I can't get over the urge to give him a swirly, and that column-header portrait of him staring at the sky like a stunned coney doesn't help.
Please, C/D, I stuck with you through that awful redesign and humored your over-tolerance of your crazy drunken uncle Brock, but if you stop being funny, we're going to have to break up.