Born and raised in Randallstown MD, Jeff Goldstein moved to Denver CO in 1995, where he taught writing and literature at a small private university until the birth of his son in 2004. Since then, he has been a stay-at-home dad. Jeff is a fiction writer. He blogs at Protein Wisdom.
Why do you blog? > Were I to be pedantic about answering, I'd probably say something about wanting to add my voice to the chorus of interested citizens who are trying to (re)shape the public discourse. But honestly? I'm too lazy to hook up a printer.
What has been your best blogging experience? > I think I've done some good work on the recent NSA story – and before that, on the abysmal MSM coverage of Hurricane Katrina. But for me, the best blogging experiences come when I post satires that are taken for straight-up 'reporting'. This has happened several times now, first when I 'covered' the Republican National Convention; and more recently, when I 'liveblogged' the Pajamas Media launch. Both events took place in New York, and in both cases I covered them from a coffee table in Colorado. A close second would be having my posts on literary theory so widely read.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Update frequently, comment on sites with decent traffic, and polish your posts so that they gleam. And of course, it wouldn't hurt to shower me with gifts and praise. Not everyone can be bought. Me? Make me an offer.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Thomas Pynchon, Umberto Eco, John Searle.
What are you reading at the moment? > Robert Ferrigno's Prayers for the Assassin and Ramez Naam's More Than Human.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow or Eco's Foucault's Pendulum. Though the novels I return to the most are Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, Tom Robbins's Skinny Legs and All, and Richard Brautigan's Trout Fishing in America.
What is your favourite poem? > A tie between Eliot's 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock' and William Carlos Williams' 'Red Wheelbarrow'; and my favourite short story is 'Where are you going, where have you been?' by Joyce Carol Oates.
What is your favourite movie? > The Bad News Bears (1976) – with Friedkin's The French Connection a close second.
What is your favourite song? > Billy Joel's 'Scenes From An Italian Restaurant' or Dan Fogelberg's 'Same Old Lang Syne'.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > Linguistically speaking, meaning is always derived from intent.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > The idea that diversity, as it is currently (superficially) conceived, is a goal societies should be striving for. The diversity movement in the US reinforces group identity and is anathema to individualism. An offshoot of this is 'multiculturalism' as a social philosophy - particularly if it is divorced from nationalism, assimilation and ideas of sovereignty.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > Freedom isn't always free.
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > I would do away with race-based affirmative action – though I wouldn't be averse to considering affirmative action based on factors such as access to quality education or financial situation.
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be President, who would you choose? > Steven Wright.
What would you do with the UN? > Nuke it from orbit. It's the only way to be sure. Either that, or provide John Bolton's moustache 'Regis' with a handful of armed deputies, a couple barrels of whiskey, and two weeks alone with all the UN diplomats and their staffs. When the doors swing open, all the UN's problems will be solved.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > An unwillingness on the part of western civilization to address global problems seriously and forcefully until our choices have been limited by procrastination and wishful thinking.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Don't neglect your teeth. And if you do, learn to enjoy the taste of hard liquor.
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? > Of course. Provided she were mute and was a lousy typist.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Loyalty – though to friends and family, not to causes, necessarily.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Sanctimony.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > I approach that question pragmatically. Which means that the circumstances are potentially infinite. Or not.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > I'm uncomfortable seeing gay men kiss. Which is odd, because I don't think I'd have a problem should I happen to stumble upon them going at it like a couple of rutting bull elks.
What is your favourite proverb? > I actually like when proverbs are at odds. For instance, does 'absence makes the heart grow fonder'? Or is it, 'when the cat's away the mice will play'? And are those two mutually exclusive in the context of our contemporary moral ethos. I know which side John Updike would come down on.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Cock fighting. I went a couple weeks ago and it was not at all what I expected. I mean, what's with the birds?
What would you call your autobiography? > Because of the Hypocrisy!
Who would play you in the movie about your life? > Judd Nelson.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Big Sur.
If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to? > Bucky.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Hmm – so many to choose from. Many are dead now - Richard Brautigan, Andy Kaufman, Mitch Hedberg. But growing up it was Steve Martin and Steven Wright. And now? Sarah Silverman or Christopher Guest.
Which baseball team do you support? > Colorado Rockies.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > Things would appear pretty much the same. But for instance, I'd have hired somebody to answer these questions for me.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > That depends on what I'm serving, I guess. If it's chilli dogs, Captain Lou Albano's gotta be there. If it's shellfish, definitely Leif Garrett – if only so I can hear him tell the story about how he once did an entire 8 ball of cocaine out of a hollowed out 2lb lobster tail, then made an ill-advised pass at Diane Lane. And then of course, whatever ex-80s starlet Leif brings with him, because chances are he'll be too drunk to get anywhere with her by night's end, which means that, once I fetch Captain Lou a cab, it's just me, Joyce Heiser and Billy Joel's 52nd Street.
What animal would you most like to be? > If there's any justice in the universe, I'm destined to come back as an armadillo.
[The normblog profile is a weekly Friday morning feature. A list of all the profiles to date, and the links to them, can be found here.]