ALL THE TROUBLE IN THE WORLD by P.J. O'Rourke (Atlantic Monthly Press: $12, 339 pp.). In his account of "the lighter side of overpopulation, famine, ecological disaster, ethnic hatred, plague and poverty," O'Rourke dismisses the concept of global warming, sneers at the efforts to curb the accelerating extinction of plant and animal species and suggests that the issue of overpopulation is a just a screen for racist worries about high birthrates among nonwhites. From Aristophanes and Swift to "Doonesbury," satire has provided the powerless with a vehicle to criticize the rich and powerful, but O'Rourke allies himself with the privileged. His heartless mockery of the less fortunate makes him the perfect jester for the court of Newt Gingrich: "Somewhere in the psychic basement of the sob-sister sorority house, in the darkest recesses of the bleeding heart, starving children are cute. Note the big Muppet Baby eyes, the etiolated features as non-threatening as Michael Jackson's were before the molestation charges, the elfin incorporeity of the bodies. Steven Spielberg's E. T. owes a lot to the Biafran-Bangladeshi-Ethiopian model of adorable suffering."

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