Today, it's a treat to have one of the smartest bloggers I read (yeah, and she's even a lefty!) taking our questions. Here's Megan, better known as C'est Moi (Lesbiencestmoi The Anti Right)...
Our interview panel is ready with their questions...
Who's your favorite right-wing blogger?
There are so many conservative (right-wing) blogs I respect for a host of reasons -- the writing, intelligence and a respectfully articulated position. I have to say though, the ones I follow very closely are all of those things - plus - a little fun, a little edgy, a little sarcastic. I'm really drawn to that. My two favorites - I am sure you all know these two.
Beth of My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. Beth is so outspoken and open minded. There is an amazing level of sincere passion in the way she approaches important issues. Yet she caters to no one and is completely unafraid to throw a spot-on punch. Also, Beth has so often picked me up after the left has bashed me over the head for misbehaving.
Ace of Ace of Spades How do I sum up Ace... he's a madman. I just love him. I dive into his site only when I feel fully prepared to have 1 on 100 arguments. It's hard to resist though because Ace just draws me in. He is sharp as hell, has an enviable writing style and has a satirical sense of humor that is unmatched in the blogosphere.
Is right always wrong?
How strongly can I say... ABSOLUTELY NOT. I am going to try to explain how I feel about this and I apologize in advance if it gets to wordy. I can just ramble on sometimes. I believe the stand we take, call it left/right or conservative/liberal or republican/democrat is a foundation to work from. It is where we fall based on what is at the root of our philosophical beliefs. It has nothing to do with morality. Morality can exist or be absent on either side and I strongly oppose anyone claiming a position of moral superiority.
Now, back to the foundation - and this is where it gets odd to me.
The political climate is so ultra-charged right now that there seems to be a demand for those who are outspoken and engaged, to blindly support "their side". That is tantamount to saying "this group is always right [correct]". No can do. It makes no sense. Deciding issues based on right and left is easy and it's lazy. Everyone is taking a position, but too many abandon the process of coming to that position. My recipe: start with the foundation + independent thought + research + open dialogue with really smart people from both sides of the issue = MY position. And my position has nothing to do with the stand taken by "my side".
So, the right is certainly NOT always wrong. I have supported positions held by the right on many occasions. When my recipe has landed me with an issue supported by the right, I express that position as freely as I do when I agree with the left.
Name one Democrat you'd never vote for President.
Who's hotter: Evan Bayh or John Edwards?
I have to admit, I was not sure if you meant "hotter" as in "oh wow, he is so flippin' hot" or "hotter" as in "politically, he is hot right now". In either case I am sure we can rule out Johnny Storm and I would have to say, of the remaining two, John Edwards has the "hot" ticket.
Or Johnny Storm?
Yeah, I think we ruled him out.
Would you rather be trapped in a room with Adrian Monk or Tom Cruise?
Without hesitation, Adrian Monk.
Monk: He's brilliant, kooky, different, funny as all get-out and neurotically obsessive. Yep, that's right up my alley.
Cruise: Being a woman who is unlikely to be swayed by a handsome man (grin), I can only be focused on other aspects of Tom Cruise. A gifted actor with an impressive screen presence who now appears to be defined by an almost cult-esque style of preaching. If all we hear is true, he is a little scary if you ask me. Not because he is a Scientology follower, but because in my opinion, he has taken it to a disturbing level.
Who's the smartest woman not in politics?
Camille Paglia, Professor of Humanities and Media Studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA, author, lecturer and by far one of the greatest cultural thinkers of our age. Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson (1990) is still one of my all time favorite books. Now, to my conservative friends who might be a bit anti-academe, do not make a hasty judgment. "Paglia is in her element scourging the pretentiousness and shoddiness of pseudo-leftist academics who have made a dull, if lucrative, career out of social deconstructionism.
Paglia does not come wrapped up in a neat, easy package. She throws me off balance and I like that.
She is no typical liberal Professor:
"Our major universities are now stuck with an army of pedestrian, toadying careerists, Fifties types who wave around Sixties banners to conceal their record of ruthless, beaver-like tunneling to the top."
The Anti-Feminist, Feminist:
"Feminism has become a catch-all vegetable drawer where bunches of clingy sob sisters can store their moldy neuroses."
A Lesbian but she is no supporter of gay activism:
"Homosexuality is not 'normal.' On the contrary, it is a challenge to the norm... Nature exists whether academics like it or not. And in nature, procreation is the single relentless rule. That is the norm. Our sexual bodies were designed for reproduction... No one is born gay."
For me, there is just something about a brilliant woman who is consummately true to herself and makes no apologies for being provocative.
Is the fact she's not in politics what makes her the smartest? Or should she be in politics?
Politics has nothing to do with the choice. I am delighted she is not in politics. She would be grossly over qualified. Let's face it politicians do not usually represent our brightest bunch.
Which of the Ten Commandments is the most important?
Interesting. I am an Agnostic with an unending interest in religion and a profound respect for faith and religious beliefs. For me, I needed to first decide which would represent moral absolutes regardless of faith. Thou Shalt Not Kill would be the most important to me. Again, regardless of faith, there is no greater gift than the miracle of human existence. We don't have the right to prematurely end that cycle in an individual. I am sure this begs questions about the death penalty and abortion. I don't necessarily agree with either. There are societal realities that make these very complicated issues. I grapple with them a great deal.
You have one banana cream pie. And a fast getaway car. Who's your target?
(Probably an expected answer) Ann Coulter. Really now... if she says the only way to talk to me (a liberal) is with a baseball bat, surely I can quiet her rather rude rhetoric for just a moment with a lil' ol' pie right in the kisser!
What's the most Redneck / White Trash thing you've ever done?
Making the Dixie Chicks' "Redneck Christmas" my favorite Christmas song. (You have to hear it, it's a friggin' hoot.)
Who should become the 44th President?
Ok, of likely candidates... I am still looking and researching. I am very interested in Joe Biden. I realize that he has little chance, but that is not what I consider at this point. Aside from one tasteless joke, I just like his position. He is a strong fit with the need for "center". What would have me running for the hills is any extreme position at all. We have had enough of that, not only in our current administration but around the world.
Who will become the 44th President?
Oh wow. I don't want to leave any question unanswered, but this one is a crap shoot. I can say that I do indeed think it will be a Democrat. Not because I am a democrat fighting to be represented in the White House but because I need - and I think the American people as a whole have expressed a need for - balance. Balance in policy and perception. Our current political environment represents a huge shift right. History offers a pattern of this type of thing. Ebbs and flows. And it balances itself out - I think - because we are not a nation comfortable with extreme anything. So, I do believe we are on the cusp of another shift. I wouldn't be surprised to see, in the coming decade a severe shift left. That is not necessarily what I want. My goal with this election is to seek balance.
Which jury was worse: The Menendez Brothers Jury or the OJ Jury?
Very tough choice. These are not the greatest examples of our justice system at work. It may be because I followed it more closely, but I think the OJ jury - or outcome was the worst. I hate to say any jury is the worst because then I personalize a juror's decision and I don't feel it's my place to do that. However, about the OJ jury, I will say that, given all there was to consume, to deliberate for only a couple of hours after a trial lasting nearly a year was a startling indication that something had gone terribly wrong.
Why was this one the worst? It was conceptually new. New ground was forged in the level to which DNA evidence was presented (i.e. DNA transfer evidence, etc), and much more. Add to that a complete abuse of easily heightened sensitivities (i.e. the race card, the notion that money buys justice). Add to that the newness of trials becoming a media spectacle. The "dream team", (outside of the courtroom) having the power to use that media attention to paint pictures of prosecutorial ineptitude and (inside the courtroom), paving the way for attorney showmanship, giving rise to the validity of a courtroom as a theatre.
This was a train wreck that unfolded in front of the cameras and fed a drama hungry public. It paved the way for mockery of our courtrooms becoming nothing more than standard operating procedure.
How much grief do you encounter from liberals when you take a position that is counter to the "line" of the left?
Oh my. How much time ya' got?
Is it as bad as the regular grief you get from conservatives?
Worse. When I get the regular grief from conservatives, it comes from a place of passionately held beliefs. There is nothing more real or more worthy of respect - even if it sparks heated debate. When I get blasted from the left for "misbehaving" it is only because I bucked their agenda with my pesky free thinking. Wrong. That is a terrible reason to castigate someone.
What was your best day blogging?
Sometimes I think it's the days I don't blog. On those days, I am not worried about - "Did I piss someone off to much?", "Did they not get what I was trying to say?", "Should I have waited until I thought this through more before I posted?". But of the days I did blog, I would have to say it would be (over the course of many days) the days I blogged for Terri Schiavo. I felt so close to that situation. Personally close. Things went a little wild when I started posting of my desire to do something to save this woman's life. That is what I wanted so badly. But of course I was powerless. When I started to be welcomed by the right, I felt a little less powerless. I felt there was a stand being taken, and that stand was getting stronger all the time. I felt a part of that and it was probably my very first indication (here) that I was speaking loud enough. I was part of an amazing group. Terri's life was not saved, and that same group grieved with me. It was a reminder that we can cross boundaries to try to do the right thing, and I felt a part of that.
Israel not capturing the PLO in Lebanon in 1982: Good idea or bad idea?
The knee-jerk reaction is - bad idea as the PLO remained a force to be reckoned with. However, Israel was under heavy pressure from the US for a ceasefire, and the way I see it, Israel has a history of a "give until it hurts" benevolence, with an ultimate goal of basic security and a hope for peace. The question becomes - could Lebanon, at that time, have gained real control under a consolidated government that was committed to peace with Israel. On that, I am not capable of much more that speculation. However, accomplishing that goes far beyond the borders of Lebanon. History provides the basis for an argument that even complete success for Israel (the eradication of the PLO) would have just quickly given rise to the next. I usually agree with fighting the good fight over the "why clean it, it will just get dirty again" argument. There were many political and strategic factors but I think hindsight shows retreating in 1982 as a mistake - made with the best intentions and under considerable pressure.
What's the biggest issue facing America that no one's talking about?
The way I see it, there is nothing that isn't talked about by everyone. We are a nation of talkers. We talk on 24 hour cable news; talking heads pontificate literally every second of the day; talk on the internet; talk via video phone; conferencing; immediate wireless communication. Frankly, we can't shut up. We cover every single conceivable angle of the important issues facing America and still have enough time to turn even the trivial and meaningless into debate worthy news. Really, there must be some cumulative mass over-estimation of the value placed on our every thought. Even blogging when you think about it (geeez, I am chucking as I think this through). Just how presumptuous is it to think to yourself "hmmm, I think I will toss myself out there in front of an audience of millions and prattle away about my thoughts on... well... everything. Yes, what I have to say is that important." HA, I just love those moments when I bring myself down a peg or two.
Ok, I'm sorry - what was the question? See? I warned you, ramble, ramble...
If I were to choose an issue - certainly not the top issue facing America but one I think takes a backseat when it actually shouldn't - it would be the degradation of American parenting. We are a rationalizing people. So many scapegoats have been offered up to parents who allow for out of control children. Too many children being raised today have no concept of respect, they are lethargic and undisciplined, have an over-developed need for unproductive stimuli, and have such an unhealthy need for attention, they fall victim to drugs and crime. Our children are more suicidal than ever and have a higher propensity for violence. I wish we could be talking more about getting rid of the excuses and creating a higher level of accountability for parents. It's a huge issue for the simple reason that these children ARE the next generation. There will be a real demand for great minds that will go un-met if we don't start considering it pretty important.
To give a minor example; when I was growing up I addressed adults as "Ma'am" or "Sir". I am lucky if one of my nephew's friends doesn't refer to me as "Bitch". I am not going to buy the excuses - maybe he has ADD or he is depressed, or he is gifted and high strung, or he comes from a broken home. No, he is the result of a PARENT not bothering to teach him the most basic lessons of right and wrong.
Bullwinkle or Underdog?
Thanks, Megan, for participating in the interview today. It was intersting, informative, and fun.
Next week, we have a couple of bloggers from Idaho: Adam of Adam's Blog... and Andrea of Adam's Blog and Ask Andrea. We're looking forward to that.