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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 Jerkyby John Moe
"The results aren't as hilarious as the author probably thought they would turn out, but they still yield amusingly trenchant insights into the cultural division in America....As interesting as Conservatize Me is to read, it can often be a frustrating book. Perhaps Moe's humor plays better in a broadcast medium, but on the page it is often flat and unfunny, like the guy in the summertime saying 'how about this heat?' I'm firmly liberal in many of my beliefs, but his attempts at this sort of 'nudge nudge' school of humor felt more like an elbow in the solar plexus from a roller derby player." Gerry Donaghy, Powells.com (read the entire Powells.com review)
Synopses & Reviews
We always hear how everyone in America is firmly planted in red or blue. They're permanently conservative or irreversibly liberal. But are we all really that locked in to the left or the right? Is America still a place where it's possible to change someone's mind and get them to cross over to the other side of the ideological fence? Is it possible to do that to yourself?
For John Moe, it simply wasn't enough to just read the Wall Street Journal editorial page a little more often or buy a framed picture of Barry Goldwater. He went in all the way, drinking deep from all aspects of the conservative universe to see if he could become that which he encountered.
Raised in a family of proud left-wingers (except for his late father, whose fondness for Nixon he is forced to confront) and living in deeply liberal Seattle most of his life, Moe set out to determine if what we believe is based on environment or actual conviction. Was there actually a conservative trapped inside him all along, just yearning to be set free? Moe puts himself on a strict conservative regimen: He resets his radio dials from NPR to Rush Limbaugh, goes head-to-head with some of today's most influential conservative thinkers for a series of conversion sessions, makes pilgrimages to the Ronald Reagan and Richard M. Nixon museums, spends the Fourth of July in the most Bush-friendly county in the country, attempts to set his inner Charlton Heston loose at a gun range, flies cross-country to be nearer to Toby Keith, and test-drives the type of massive gas-guzzling SUV so feared and loathed by liberals (and becomes uncomfortably fond of it). Through it all he tries to maintain positive standing with his lefty-wife and young but already liberal kids, including their four-year-old son, who joins the Sierra Club. These are but a few of the adventures chronicled in Moe's hilarious and timely first book.
Conservatize Me will strike a powerful chord with millions of disgruntled Americans ready for a fresh, humorous, and highly entertaining look at our country's political landscape. Moe's sharply observed prose will have enormous appeal for anyone interested in a new perspective on debates that have, for years, preoccupied our country and dominated our bestseller lists.
Will Moe end up getting a Dick Cheney tattoo and swearing loyalty to the Christian Coalition? Will he get a Dennis Kucinich tattoo and dedicate his life to cooking vegan food at protest rallies? Read Conservatize Me and find out.
"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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Funniest of all are the interspersed film reviews, which assign a numerical score for the effectiveness of a movie's conservative message. Imagine P.J. O'Rourke describing the effects of chewing tobacco rather than doing drugs." Kirkus Reviews
"[Moe] turns out to be an earnest searcher who spends far more time in some of his conservative pursuits than might be necessary or even advisable....Best of all, Moe fills his debut book with a host of fascinating insights about this country's current political divide and its antagonisms." Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Liberal meets conservative in this eye-opening look at the perilous state of American politics in the tradition of Morgan Spurlock's Super Size Me.
About the Author
John Moe is well known to humor fans as one of the writers of the award-winning highbrow humor website McSweeneys.net. He is also a commentator for NPR's "All Things Considered" and a regular contributor to the nationwide public radio program "Weekend America". He lives in Seattle, where he hosts several public radio programs dealing in politics, business, technology, liter-ature, and culture. Some of his short humor pieces have appeared in the anthologies Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans, Mountain Man Dance Moves, and More Mirth of a Nation. This is his first book.
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