Eve Tushnet was born in 1978 and grew up in Washington DC. She studied philosophy at Yale University, where she was received into the Catholic Church. She is a freelance writer in DC, and has been published in (among others) Commonweal, The National Catholic Register, National Review, and The Washington Blade. Eve blogs at EveTushnet.com. Her hobbies include sin, confession, and ecstasy.
Why do you blog? > This is an incredibly exciting time to be a conservative - we have so much rebuilding to do, so much ground and credibility and acuity to regain, and a blog is a great way to throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks. And, more importantly, this is also an incredibly exciting time to be gay and Catholic - we're only just starting to work through the strengths and weaknesses and possibilities of John Paul II's 'theology of the body', to rediscover Catholic forms of (chaste) same-sex love, to live both openly and faithfully.
What are your favourite blogs? > I don't know if I have favourites, but I really like Dreadnought: 'Faithful, gay, Catholic' - and always appassionato! Sean Collins: horror, comics, ridiculous YouTube videos. Megan McArdle: the economic crisis, vegan recipes, a forthright but good-humoured temperament.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > St. Augustine, for realizing that the Platonic tradition is essentially a tradition of eros investigated in friendship, and that its primary failure was its inability to understand childhood and evil.
What are you reading at the moment? > Well, I just started Molière's Tartuffe (tr. Richard Wilbur), but what I really want to tell you about is the book I finished this morning, Francis Spufford's I May Be Some Time: Ice and the English Imagination. This is a terrific, incredibly readable look at the way English culture shaped and was shaped by the polar explorations of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Spufford has an unusual aptitude for capturing both the attraction and the potential failures of the sublime; and regaining an understanding of the sublime is perhaps the most important project of cultural renewal today.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Octavia Butler, Dolly Parton, James Whale.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > The Brothers Karamazov. There must be hooks in Hell!
What is your favourite poem? > The humiliated sensuality of Eliot's 'Preludes' played a starring role in my conversion.
What is your favourite movie? > The Last Unicorn, which I've watched at least 200 times. 'Men don't always know when they're happy.'
What is your favourite song? > This changes daily; for today, it's Tim Curry, 'I Do the Rock'.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > It's easier to name the only two I can think of on which I've never changed my mind: I'm against the death penalty in the United States, and against torture in all cases.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > The sacrifice you want to make isn't always the sacrifice God wants.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > The human body is an instrument, not an ikon.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > Plato's Symposium. One of the many bees in my capacious bonnet is the belief that philosophy lost its way when it shifted from dialogue to treatise - from friendship and leadership, in other words, to individualism. The Symposium is the very best example of what philosophy looks like.
Who are your political heroes? > Dorothy Day.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > 'Read the Catholic Worker! Romance on every page!' (Or Maggie Gallagher saying something similar in Enemies of Eros: 'Civilization is sublimated eros. But then so is sex.')
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? > I'm pretty sure I'm in a long-term relationship with my family, so: yes.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Self-overhearing, the ability to catch yourself in your own trap and see the light seeping through the cracks in your own persona. It's a form of humility that can be worn very lightly.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Belief in your own basic goodness. I also don't much care for people who think respect has to be earned, especially if they are proud of themselves for holding this belief.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > I'm prejudiced in favour of defendants, and against members of the PTA. These prejudices shore up my self-image, but I try not to be proud of them because I do realize that their costs are borne by others; lots of defendants are guilty, for example, and will hurt people if my sympathies allow them to go free.
What is your favourite proverb? > '"Take what you want, and pay for it," says God.' I got that from Agatha Christie.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Marijuana, shopping, girl talk.
What would you call your autobiography? > Sin: A User's Guide. I've used that answer for a different questionnaire, though, so I'll give my runner-up: Lipstick and Ashes.
Who would play you in the movie about your life? > Janis, the Muppet.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > On the shores of Sans-Souci.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > SPARE TIME IS FOR THE WEAK.
What is your most treasured possession? > Can I pick two stuffed animals? The much-chewed teddy bear I've had since before I was born, and the big stuffed squid my best friend gave me. Pretend that these represent unchosen and chosen loves and obligations.
If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to? > I've done this already - Eve is my middle name, Laura my first - but if I had to do it again, Latona (the mother of Apollo and Diana). That would preserve the Jewish tradition of giving a child a name with the same initial as the name of a deceased relative, in this case my grandfather Leonard.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Professional holy fool. Or poison-taster.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Stephen Fry's The Liar is the funniest thing I've ever read, no question.
What animal would you most like to be? > A giant squid. Basically it eats and it lurks; I can do both of those things!
[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.]