Al Franken famously described Rush Limbaugh as a big fat idiot. Jim Derych is a bit more measured in his appraisal but he reaches essentially the same conclusion. Derych, a financial planner from Memphis, has written a new book called Confessions of a Former Dittohead
(Ig Publishing 2006) in which he traces his roots as a hardline dittohead at the University of Tennessee into his maturity as a born-again Democrat. (For the intelligent of you out there who may not know what a dittohead is, it is a slavish adherent to the rantings of Rush Limbaugh, the gangsta rap thug of rightwing talk radio.)
Derych is smart, and he performs a careful and thoughtful analysis not only of the political issues of the day but of Limbaugh's methods. Using quotations and apt examples, Derych deconstructs the Limbaugh line into its essential tools: half-truths, "fact-free gibberish," outright lies, straw men, convenient inconsistencies and, when he finds himself called up short (as he often is), a protest that he was only joking.
The average dittohead, Derych says, is a resentful, left-out loner who lives in a hermetic, paranoid world. "[T]here is no more natural home for the insecure loner than Rush Limbaugh. Rush makes you feel like you're an insider. Like you get it and nobody else does. That you're not alone."
Derych analyzes all the big issues Limbaugh rants about, and along the way he cannot resist pointing out that this self-aggrandizing spokesman for American morality is a confessed drug addict, likely a criminal, three times divorced and ... well, a big fat idiot.
Derych will be appearing and signing his book at Davis-Kidd Booksellers next Thursday, May 4, at 6:00 p.m. Ought to be fun.