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Confessions of a Former Dittohead Paperback – April 1, 2006

3.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A former Limbaugh-enthralled, propaganda-spouting "dittohead," Derych details in this blog-turned-book the "thousand small cuts" that cured him of his liberal-hating views. His conversion resulted from a handful of pedestrian eye-openers: Derych was a sheltered, narrow-minded homophobe until he learned a friend of his was gay; Derych was rabidly pro-life until he realized someone he knew and respected had had an abortion; Derych took Fox News mouthpiece Sean Hannity at face value until a preposterous claim about tax cuts led him to "check the facts." This is a quick, lean read, and though Derych is prone to limp prose (referring to Limbaugh as a "chubby addict" is grating even to those who believe worse), it's not poorly written. The problem is how author condescends to readers; it's like a recent born-again preaching to the congregation during his first trip to church.
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"One of the most important political books of the year." -- Markos Moulitsas, Founder of Daily Kos and author of Crashing the Gate

Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Ig Publishing (April 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0975251783
  • ISBN-13: 978-0975251782
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,424,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Well, what's there to tell? I'm just some random guy who changed his mind. I started blogging about it, and suddenly folks were asking me to write a book. That's the 'big picture' view.

More specifically, I'm a guy who used to be a dittohead. From the depths of hating Clinton and wanting gays out of the military to the highs of the Wellstone memorial "backfiring" I was on board. From the early days of Dan's Bake Sale and Politically Correct Musical Chairs through the dark days of stupid comments about Donovan McNabb and prescription drug addiction, I was a Rush supporter. I read both of his books, regularly read the Limbaugh Letter, subscribed to the Rush 24/7 website (of which I appear to STILL be a member), and listened to Rush for 3 hours a day every day.

But over the years something happened. The world I lived in went one way, and Rush's assertion of "the way things ought to be" went another. It took forever for me to realize it, but finally in February of 2004 I had what Rush would call "the courage to accept the truth"--Rush was wrong about virtually everything. And so, after 13 years, I finally quit being a dittohead.

One of my favorite quotes comes from Mark Twain. "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." You may not find an exact parallel in my story for how to deal with the dittohead(s) in your life, but you may find something that rhymes. If you do, I hope it helps. We've got to do something to get our country back on track, even if it means we have to do it one dittohead at a time.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Revealing his slow ascent up from the depths of Dittohead-dom, Jim garnered a huge and enthusiastic audience from his debut diary on the behemoth political blog, Daily Kos. We kept asking for more, Jim kept obliging us, and some smart reader pointed him out to IG Publishing.

He came out of the closet, so to speak, but that wasn't the real reason he got the response he did. He would have been welcomed, certainly, as many other recovering kool-aid drinkers have been, but there was something bigger at play.

This boy is funny. Plus he's smart. Sometimes he breaks your heart with his insight into his younger self, as in Chapter 3, Amy's Story, where his knee-jerk condemnation of abortion meets the straightforward biography of a friend. Sometimes he makes you choke with laughter, as in the chapter where his "coming out" to his father as an ex-Dittohead is inadvertantly accomplished on a radio show Jim was sure his Dad would never hear in a million years.

Sometimes you want to crack him over his thick skull when he confesses his difficulty in maintaining a college friendship with a gay friend who also blew a lot of stereotypes Jim had. (That's the other thing he has that's absolutely necessary for such a book. He's brutally honest with himself (hello, looking at you Mr. Million Little Pieces and Ms. Opal Mehta).

He's also honest, yet gentle in many ways, with those who are still in Rush's thrall.

The book is divided in two parts. The first chronicles the steps on his path out of the morally murky smog of Rush-think. The second is a primer in how to approach the Dittohead in your life.

The second half read more haltingly. I think in part that's because my own brain resisted identifying with the ins and outs of Rush-think.
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Format: Paperback
I used to be a dittohead, and still am friends with many of them. These are good people who are so ill-informed that it is quit frankly, scary.

The danger of Rush is that he is entertaining and that he also makes the listener feel as if they actually know something about politics and that they are being informed. He is different than Howard Stern and Imus in that they do not pretend to know anything, in fact the humor of them is that they are so up front with their ignorance that they are not taken seriously.

Many of my friends ideas about politics come directly from Rush, I know because I used to spout the same stuff. What began to change me was Iraq, when what Maha Rushie was saying just was not matching up to what I was seeing in the "Liberal Media." It was at this point that I began to realize that their was no liberal media, but in fact their definitly was a Conservative media. My arc from Conservative to liberal was probably even more dramatic than the author's.

The Right Wing Media in this country is extremly powerful and dangerous. The best book on the subject is The Right Wing Noise Machine by David Brock. In his book Brock examines and describes the genesis and rise of the Right Wing Media in our country, which has culminated in Rush and now Fox News. I also recommend Outfoxed the DVD.

I sometimes ask people how they feel about certain issues, and the vast majority agree with me on issues, but will never vote democrat. I believe this is the Rush effect, because he spends all day demonizing democrats that the listener just assumes that these people are bad, without really even knowing the issue. This is not journalism, it is partisian politics at it's worst.
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Format: Paperback
As might be expected from the title, Confessions of a Former Dittohead sheds light on the Rush Limbaugh phenomena for those who already think he's an idiot. But the pleasant surprise is that it also presents some incisive arguments that could be used in a sincere attempt to convert those who think he's a hero. Should Rush fans actually read this friendly little book, its light and informal style might just make them think again. Derych is neither preachy nor condescending; mostly he's rather modest about his transformation. This isn't so much a tell-all confessional self-exposé as much as an honest mea culpa.

As Derych slowly became disillusioned by a series of events that continued to offer an alternative reality--facts that he couldn't easily dismiss--he started to listen more carefully and question some of the premises. As he did so, he discovered the duplicity of the arguments. One by one, his core beliefs went by the wayside.

Derych describes this transformation in a easy-to-read style, allowing the reader a glimpse of what it takes to undergo such radical change about controversial issues: abortion, gay rights, religion, and fiscal policy, to name a few. Derych's candor allows you to enter the mindset and follow the logic (or illogic). For those who are already on the left, it's an interesting read with some practical advise on how to talk to a Rush fan and score points in the process. For those on the right, if you can get them to read the book, they may be able to empathize and identify with Derych enough to start to chisel away at the façade of what Derych tags "the right-wing reasoning chip."

Derych takes each issue, pulls apart the Rush logic and explains how to crack open the door.
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