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Conservatize Me: How I Tried to Become a Righty with the Help of Richard Nixon, Sean Hannity, Toby Keith, and Beef Jerky Hardcover – October 3, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (October 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780060854010
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060854010
  • ASIN: 0060854014
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,033,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As a Seattle public radio commentator deeply entrenched in a liberal mindset, Moe wondered whether a sudden immersion in conservatism could change his worldview-so he saturated himself with nothing but right wing people, media and culture for an entire month. His subsequent misadventures are of uneven quality: thoughtful conversations with National Review editor Rich Lowry and talk radio host Michael Medved, among others, are interspersed with awkward attempts to provoke representatives of groups like the Family Research Council. At a visit to a fundamentalist church service, for example, he repeatedly asks if they'll be "able to stop The Gay" from destroying marriage. Moe also takes easy potshots at country music, SUVs and other red-state staples, and watches movies like Red Dawn and Forrest Gump for purported conservative themes. Conversations with conservative intellectuals, which force him to acknowledge greater shades of ambiguity, provide less fodder for mockery. His commonsense conclusion-exposure to new ideas can be eye opening, if not exactly transformative-will confirm the attitude of readers who have already embraced political complexity.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

John Moe is a regular contributor to the award-winning humor Web site McSweeneys.net and his stories, commentaries, and short humor pieces have appeared on the NPR programs All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Day to Day, and Only a Game. He lives with his wife and children in Seattle.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

I am the host and head writer of the public radio program Wits, heard on stations around the country. I'm a long-time contributor to McSweeney's and my writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine and numerous humor anthologies. I'm the former host of the national public radio programs Weekend America and Marketplace Tech Report. I live in St Paul, Minnesota with my family. God tries to ice murder all the people here every year and we always feel triumphant when/if we survive.

I'm from Seattle and am a big fan of the Mariners, Seahawks, and Sonics, even though as I write this the Sonics do not exist.

Customer Reviews

This audio book is a terrific listen.
James M. Owenby
It appears that the author who was very liberal, set out to make an unbiased attempt to find if he could be persuaded to become a conservative.
P. N. Anderson
It is well written, funny, and very entertaining.
P. Geyer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Andy Jensen on October 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I could give this hilarious and honest book to my granola-chewing Bush-hating mom and my hunting-loving, tax-cutting enviromental advisor to Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Montana) uncle (I'm not kidding) and they would both love it. Not only would they laugh but they each could quote parts of the book to each other and say "See this part here? It proves i'm right!"

Moe doesn't take any cheap shots at either the left or right like I did in my opening sentence, but simply recounts what it was like to immerse oneself in a conservative lifestyle and ideology.

Enjoy.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By P. Geyer on August 15, 2008
Format: Paperback
First let me get this out of the way: I enjoyed Conservatize Me. It is well written, funny, and very entertaining.

That having been said, I have a bone to pick with this book. Had this been a book about an outsider looking into the world of conservatism, it would have been just about right. Unfortunately, it uses the ultimately unsuccessful conceit of a liberal trying to "become" conservative by indulging in what he believes, through some pretty shallow assumptions and an abiding faith in gross stereotyping, to be conservative activities. In order to get into the conservative mindset, his first step is to buy an expensive suit (to fit in with the neocons) and a bunch of clothes at Wal-Mart with American flags (to fit in with the common folk), his next step is to fill his Ipod with nothing but Kid Rock and country songs, then he rounds it all off by consuming apparently nothing more than beef jerky, Jelly Bellies, and chewing tobacco. This strikes me as something akin to trying to learn how the Chinese think by eating chop suey and watching Jackie Chan movies for a month.

Now maybe I'm taking John Moe's "Experiment" too seriously. But if so, I think Moe may also be taking his "Experiment" too seriously as well. Perhaps it was at the behest of his editor, but the last several chapters are taken up my Moe's apparently serious lamentations that he can't quite seem to get into the "Conservative" mentality. Ultimately, still buzzing on beef jerky apparently, Moe has an epiphany that conservatives and liberals both really want to do what is right, and they simply have different perspectives on how to get there, and that we're all basically the same under the skin.
Read more ›
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By David Gribbin on December 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
John Moe strikes a balance in this work that allows him to be quite funny and yet remarkably insightful. He's able to poke fun at both conservatives and liberals in a way that encourages those of us who care about politics to lighten up a little and realized that the world is not as polarized as portrayed on TV.

A copy of this book should be mandatory reading for legislators at all levels of government.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A. Graf on October 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
When I first heard about this title, it sparked my interest. Anyone who pays any attention to politics always wants to know where the other side is coming from. Some like George Lakoff (Moral Politics) will look at the other side through a social psychological framework while others like Bill O'Reilly (Culture Warrior) will use a demonizing framework of the other side (traditional-conservatives are good, secular-progressives are bad). John Moe on the other hand wants to know where the other side is coming from by trying to become one of them. In a one month period, he reads only conservative literature and newspapers, and listens only to conservative talk shows and music like Tobe Keith, Kid Rock, and Lee Greenwood. He also talks to conservative heavyweights like Rich Lowery, William Kristol, Michael Medved (who by the way doesnt even like Fox News, gets a little embarassed by Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage, and prefers to listen to NPR), and talks with the mayor of the most conservative district in the United States.

Two things struck out to me while reading this book. One is that there no single archtype of conservative. Paleocons, Neocons, Christian Conservatives, National Defense Conservatives, etc. The other thing that struck out, and Moe mentioned this on Weekday on KUOW, is that the best way to get to learn the other side is to just listen. It is hard to get an understanding of the other side if you wont even give that person a chance to state their case. Even after listening to them, you may not agree with them but hopefully you have more respect as to where they are coming from. Something I think everyone needs to work on.

P.S. I still dont understand how beef jerky is conservative. I am liberal as hell and love beef jerky!
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on October 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
A self proclaimed leftist, NPR talk-show host John Moe spent nine months limiting himself to known acceptable conservative groups for news such as the Washington Times, Fox News, Russ Limbaugh, Weekly Standard and National Review; country music stations only, and roving "Krystal Klear" milieus like rodeos and NASCAR. He visited the Reagan and Nixon Presidential Libraries (Nixon's contains his key scandal while Reagan's ignores his in spite of convictions and confessions with Bush senior pardons). Finally his objective was to better understand conservative thinking especially in America's Heartland.

Though anecdotal and often amusing, Mr. Moe concludes there are two types of conservatives in this country. On the one hand he disdains those he met at a college conference who in his mind are offspring of Machiavelli and Lady MacBeth, as power is everything (consider that war reelects presidents) or ignore negatives re their "heroes". On the other side, Mr. Moe admires Mayor Shawn Larsen of Rexburg, Idaho who is a devoted logical person wanting to make government effective and efficient. He admits being from liberal Seattle making the trek through the Red states at times felt like Frodo seeking to rid himself of the ring as the conservative take on movies make for an overall delightfully funny exposé on those who are right.

Harriet Klausner
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