Rebirth of Reason

Favorite EditSanction this itemHow I Accidentally Joined the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy (And Found Inner Peace) by Harry Stein
How I Accidentally Joined the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy (And Found Inner Peace)Conservatives aren't born--they evolve. And for Wall Street Journal ethics columnist Harry Stein--once vilified in The Village Voice as "a well-known asshole"--that evolution began with the birth of his daughter.
But Stein's memoir on transforming from bleeding-heart liberal to someone who gets junk mail from Patrick Buchanan isn't a sappy tale of fatherhood; it's a witty, intelligent account of how one man began to think for himself. "I remember when I was called a fascist for the first time," Stein writes about a dinner conversation in which he sided with Dan Quayle over the Murphy Brown/single-motherhood controversy.
While alienating his left-leaning friends, Stein takes to task The New York Times, AIDS hysteria, men-hating feminists, and Bill Clinton, just to mention a few bastions of liberalism that contributed to his social makeover. As if to prove he didn't start out this way, Stein spends a great deal of time trying to convince the reader of his liberal roots.
His wife, a former story editor for a major motion picture company, once belonged to a group called Women Against Right-Wing Scum. His sexual escapades as a single man (including a trip to a New York "swap" club) make up a whole chapter. He also writes of his admiration for Tennessee Williams (whom he once interviewed) as if to say, "See, I am not a homophobe."
Contrary to another conservative stereotype, Stein manages to keep a sense of humor throughout the book, writing in a conversational, amused style. His quips and lists read more like naughty office e-mail than diatribes from an angry right-winger: No. 3 in the 12 Ways to Tell If You've Joined the Right-Wing Conspiracy: "You sit all the way through Dead Man Walking and at the end you STILL want the guy to be executed."

Longtime conservatives and converts like Stein will find themselves nodding their heads in agreement. Others will simply get a good laugh.

--Jodi Mailander Farrell -- Amazon.com review
Added by Orion Reasoner
on 10/02/2004, 9:06am

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