Jim Monk, who turns 55 at the end of the month, is a retired autoworker and has lived his entire life in the county of Essex in the province of Ontario, Canada. Raised a Jehovah's Witness, he abandoned that faith while still a teenager, coming out as a gay liberation activist and adopting revolutionary socialism as a personal philosophy. He played a prominent role in founding some of Canada's first AIDS organizations. Jim's blog is Out of the Driver's Seat, and he also posts at Drink-Soaked Trotskyite Popinjays for WAR.
Why do you blog? > To stay in touch with friends and family and to speak out on issues that interest me.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Getting criticized for my post on Haiti for the Popinjays. The critics raised some valid points and two of them have become pen pals.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > Losing friends for supporting the war in Iraq.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > A writer should write every day. A blogger should post at least once a month. Don't feel pressured to publish before you are ready.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Karl Marx, C.L.R. James, Ivan Illich.
What are you reading at the moment? > Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Dahlgren by Samuel Delaney.
What is your favourite poem? > 'Wildcat I' by Martin Glaberman.
What is your favourite song? > 'Won't Get Fooled Again' by Pete Townshend.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > There are many. Two examples: I used to be a strong atheist. After reading some popular science writing on quantum physics and alternate universes I retreated to a position of skeptical agnosticism. Gods or string theory, is there a difference? Also, I no longer believe in a right to privacy.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > Historical materialism.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Postmodernism.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > Marx's Capital. The perverse and maddening experience of working on Chrysler's assembly lines for three decades only made sense when I remembered what Marx had written about the nature of wage labour and the capitalist enterprise.
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > Abolish political parties. Replace them with a modern form of Athenian democracy.
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be Prime Minister, who would you choose? > Michael Ignatieff.
What would you do with the UN? > Make free elections a requirement for member states. Eliminate veto power on the Security Council.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Islamism.
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? > Yes.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Patience.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Rudeness.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > I dislike male transvestism (and women's clothes in general). Yet I've fallen in love more than once with guys who were into cross-dressing.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Victoria, British Columbia.
What would your ideal holiday be? > A six month tour of either Europe or Australia and New Zealand.
What is your most treasured possession? > My library.
What talent would you most like to have? > It would be most helpful if I could speak French, living as I do in a town with strong ties to Northern Quebec.
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > A cure for blephospasm, involuntary spasm of the eyelids. The current treatment, botox injections, no longer seems to be helping my brother.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > I'd travel a lot more and maybe maintain homes both here and in British Columbia. I've already got a generous pension so I don't think I'd change all that much.
What animal would you most like to be? > Bonobo.
[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.]