Thursday, 18 December 2008

“Confessions of a Former Dittohead”, by Jim Derych (iG Publishing)


The Republican who came in from the cold…

Dittohead: a self-identifying term used by fans of right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh.

This is Jim Derych’s 189-page rant about the strange, unsubstantiated beliefs of the millions of Rush Limbaugh’s faithful listeners. Unlike some anti-Republicans (or, for that matter, anti-Democrats), Derych provides plenty of counterargument for the bizarre positions of the dittoheads (or dittiots, as he calls them).

The book starts with his account of how he came to be a dittohead in the first place (first hearing the big man’s show while in the car on the way to college), and Derych writes very honestly: he doesn’t shirk or shy away from admitting to positions that might be considered highly inappropriate or bigoted by the Bobos on the coasts. He then proceeds to describe his break with Rush and the Republican party. How “[i]t stopped being about governing, and evolved into just doing whatever it takes to stay in power”, and also how “it was the complete abandonment of anything remotely resembling intellectual honesty that caused me to change sides.”

What follows is a distilled debunking of the main disseminated opinions of Rush and those who believe everything he says; regardless of how ludicrous, overblown, hateful or purely stupid this “fact-free gibberish” might be. (I’d recommend Al Franken’s Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot for more on the “intellectuality” of Rush.) Again, he never goes too far, and is always ready with some “proof” or logical counterargument to point out how, with just a small pause for thought, every Dittohead really should see that they are being lied to and manipulated. While it is not the deepest of analyses on Republican wingnuts, Derych touches on all the big-button issues, such as abortion, gay rights, social security, taxes, guns, and Iraq, to such other topics as Sean Hannity, anti-intellectualism, and how to talk to a Dittohead (should you really want to, but Derych says you must).

An short, honest, very personal accounting of one man’s flight from the Republican Party and disenfranchisement from one of the GOP’s standard bearers, that can act as a manual to help all liberals and progressives (and independents, of course) understand one of the largest, confusing blocks of the opposition.


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