Ronni Bennett was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1941. She worked and lived in several US cities before settling in New York City in 1969. Ronni has spent many years producing radio and network television programmes until, in 1996, she moved on to the internet as the first managing editor at cbsnews.com. She has held similar positions since then at other websites. Ronni's interest in what it's really like to get older led her to start blogging at Time Goes By.
Why do you blog? > When I began wondering about what it's like to get older, I couldn't find much good, popular writing about it that is not focused on decline, debility and death. So I decided to do it myself. The media are in transition, to the largest degree as a result of the internet and especially blogging, which seemed an excellent place to carry on a dialogue with others about ageing. Also, blogging is a good way to organize my thoughts, agreeing as I do with E.M. Forster: 'How do I know what I think until I see what I say.'
What has been your best blogging experience? > Finding the extraordinary variety of voices out there. Old media are limited and predictable. New media have opened up my mind to new ways of thinking and ideas I had never considered before, and which can be heard in no other way than blogging. I particularly appreciate some of those in the lesser blogosphere, gems not linked to or acknowledged much among the alphabloggers, who have become hidebound and unimaginative in quoting themselves to each other. Get out there and look around, everybody. There is a world of knowledge and thought to be explored.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > SPAM. When will this problem be controlled?!
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Choose a topic and stick with it. Be generous in linking to others. And for god's sake, allow comments; it's not a blog if it's not a dialogue.
What are your favourite blogs? > I'm not nuts enough to answer that specifically. My tastes are eclectic in blogs as in life. All I ask is that you tell your stories, whatever they are, well.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > There are others, but off the top of my head: Gore Vidal, Jacques Barzun, Lawrence Lessig.
What are you reading at the moment? > A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amos Oz; The Complete Poems and Plays by T.S. Eliot; What Are Old People For? by William H. Thomas, MD.
What is your favourite movie? > The Third Man. Its mysteries hold up year after year after year.
What is your favourite song? > 'Summertime'. I have 61 versions on my computer. If you've got any I don't have, please send them along.
Who is your favourite composer? > One? Oh, please. Beethoven, Bach, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Gershwin, Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis...
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > I haven't changed my mind on abortion, but I have come to appreciate and weigh the concerns of the less strident anti-abortion advocates.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Neo-conservatism.
Who are your political heroes? > Franklin D. Roosevelt and the US Founding Fathers.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > Only one? Well, okay: 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one, affects all indirectly.' – Martin Luther King, Jr, Letter from Birmingham Jail.
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > To stop the systematic dismantling of the New Deal and the Great Society by the current administration in the US.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > The deteriorating environment. If we do not face global warming and other environmental problems, all the politics in the world are of no consequence.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > If we do not address - now - the environment, then yes, the best is past.
Do you think you could ever be married to, or in a long-term relationship with, someone with radically different political views from your own? > Good question. James Carville and Mary Matalin seem to make it work, but I don't think I could.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Compassion for others.
What is your favourite proverb? > 'Everything is interesting if you pay attention' - from that famous philosopher, Ronni Bennett.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Spectator sports, most television. (But see immediately previous answer.)
Who would play you in the movie about your life? > Shirley MacLaine - because I like her and when we were both younger, people thought we looked alike.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Oh, I would love to live in Jerusalem for a few years, the Old City, to walk the same streets every day where people have walked for millennia.
What is your most treasured possession? > Aside from my cat? A 2500-year old shard of pottery from the coast of Israel.
If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to? > Lydia - it rolls off the tongue so nicely.
What talent would you most like to have? > To sing. Next time I'm born I'm going to be able to sing. Like Janis Joplin, like Barbra Streisand, like Ella Fitzgerald, like Kathleen Battle, like the lead in a gospel choir - all at once.
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > It's not realistic, but I wish the political leaders of the world would come together to address the environment. We are headed for extinction if they do not.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > I would stop butting my head against the brick wall of age discrimination in the workplace that contributes to my unemployment at age 63.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Gore Vidal, Hitler and God. I have a million questions for them.
What animal would you most like to be? > Definitely a house cat, owned by me.