Review Questions for
"Slamming and Jamming"
P. J. O'Rourke
O'Rourke takes an irreverent, caustic, and frequently humorous view of American government in his best selling Parliament of Whores. O'Rourke has spent part of his time chronicling the despair among the poorest of Americans and follows Newman, who investigated the despair among the middle-class.
Running through much of O'Rourke's humor is an impatience with government bureaucracy and Washington's inability to deal with the crippling problems of our times. In this selection, excerpted from his chapter entitled "Poverty Policy: How to End Privation," O'Rourke describes a raid on a South Bronx crack house.
To O'Rourke, the Guardian Angels are fighting to keep hope alive and drug-related misery away from depressed neighborhoods in America's urban centers. O'Rourke favors such action, even if he does find considerable irony in it. You should find the descriptions vivid - and MTV-quick - reading, and be inclined to discuss the crack raid as a raid, in all its dramatic detail.
Having discussed the raid, we should work the discussion back to the crisis of confidence that's the focus of our course. Think of such questions as:
- "Can vigilantism be a good thing?"
- "What does vigilantism suggest about people's confidence in their government?"
- "Can vigilantism be a mere excuse for wilding behavior?"