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Daniel Richardsen

Mo’ Better Blues: The Improbable Arc of Fred Litwin

  “There is no word for the sound a life makes.” ― Howard Jacobson, The Making of Henry       The introduction to Fred Litwin wide-ranging memoir and authorial début, Conservative Confidential: Inside the Fabulous Blue Tent (one of Hill Times' 17 Political Books to Read this Fall), begins, in part, with a confession: Coming out is something I've had to do my entire life. When I finally came out as a gay man in the early 1980s, it was a daunting task, but it turned out to be far easier than I expected. Coming out years later as a conservative proved far more vexing. An Ottawa-based former IT-executive, Litwin is a man who defies easy classification: a gay conservative who runs a blues record label, NorthernBlues Music, and a film society, The Free Thinking Film Society. His journey has taken him from the socialism of his Montreal-Jewish upbringing to a heterodox conservatism that makes him a thorn in the side of all the hues in the political spectrum. The model for a socialist having a Pauline Road to Damascus moment where the light of conservatism marked an ardent turn is David Horowitz's Radical Son, considered "one of the key political autobiographies of the twentieth century." In fact, Litwin credits Horowitz's The Politics of Bad Faith as having "challenged everything about my outlook." Unlike Horowitz, or the playwright David Mamet (he of the infamous Village Voice screed, Why I am No Longer A 'Brain Dead Liberal'), Litwin's account is muted in its triumphalism without pulling punches, and heady with a hope in "freedom and democracy" that is earnest. You probably have heard of Litwin if you recall the Canada-wide media coverage of the imbroglio over the screening of the documentary Iranium, which the host, Library and Archives Canada cancelled… Read More