David R. Adler writes about music, politics and culture at his blog Lerterland. He covers jazz for Time Out New York, Jazz Times, Philadelphia Weekly and other publications. His work has also appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Times, The New Republic Online, Slate, Democratiya, the Forward and elsewhere. A former professional guitarist, David worked in jazz and rock bands, cabaret, musical theatre and many other settings. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and six pets and has a daughter on the way.
Why do you blog? > Because I can't sit around waiting for editors to approve my pitches.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Writing about my trip to Iraqi Kurdistan in March 2006. And forming virtual ties with comrades near and far, people I never would have known otherwise.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > Getting lured into continuing battle with a comments-stalker.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Have a clear and distinctive point of view, don't post for the sake of posting, and don't get lured into battle by comments-stalkers. And do as I say, not as I do.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Orwell, John Dewey, Fred Halliday, Amitav Ghosh and Salman Rushdie come to mind.
What are you reading at the moment? > Dead Babies by Martin Amis, which I'm not loving. I recently finished The Plot Against America by Philip Roth (great) and Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin (beyond words).
Who are your cultural heroes? > The many jazz musicians I write about for a living.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler.
What is your favourite movie? > The Seventh Seal.
Who is your favourite composer? > In jazz, Pat Metheny and Joe Zawinul have given me a lot of lasting inspiration; I have many other favourites. In classical, Olivier Messiaen confounds any harmonic road map I've ever known and forces me to hear anew.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > I voted for Ralph Nader twice (1996, 2000) and now consider him a schmuck. That's the tip of the iceberg.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > Liberalism is a point of pride and must be defended against the slanders of the right and the radical left.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Authoritarianism is ok, terrorism is 'resistance', anti-Semitism is 'understandable' (thank you, Ken Loach), and so forth.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > The Closest of Strangers: Liberalism and the Politics of Race in New York by Jim Sleeper. It showed me that militant left clichés don't explain the world just outside my door, much less the world at large.
Who are your political heroes? > Aung San Suu Kyi and her supporters rank very high.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > 'Man, you should challenge your own ideas about the world every day.' Mike Watt, bassist for the Minutemen, said this in a 1985 interview.
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be president, who would you choose? > Wish already granted, next question.
What would you do with the UN? > I'd appoint Susan Rice as US ambassador - strike that, wish also granted.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > State failure in Pakistan, loose nukes.
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? > Pointed disagreements can be great for a relationship, but core principles should probably match.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Tardiness.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > I'm beginning to sour on Facebook.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Playing guitar, which I'm enjoying more than ever now that it's a leisure activity.
What is your most treasured possession? > My rent-stabilized apartment on Riverside Drive.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Far, far from the city, maybe in southern Utah within easy reach of the great US National Parks.
What talent would you most like to have? > To learn foreign languages easily.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert, depending on my mood.
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > To be paid a good deal more (and more promptly) for the hard work that I do.
[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.]