Rondi Adamson is a writer and editor in Toronto. After graduating from the University of Toronto, she studied French at the Sorbonne in Paris, where she lived for nearly five years. She went on to teach high school English in Istanbul, and business English in a car-part factory in Japan. Her articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Jerusalem Post, the Christian Science Monitor, the Globe and Mail and many other publications. Rondi has been a regular columnist at the Toronto Star and the Ottawa Citizen. She lives in Toronto with her cats (it's very Susan Boyle, without the singing talent) and blogs at Begin Each Day As If It Were on Purpose.
Why do you blog? > Peer pressure, which I never gave in to as a teen. As an adult, however, I keep caving. I'm blogging, I'm on Facebook and I've had my navel pierced.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Meeting the Egyptian Sandmonkey and being able to help him - by introducing him over email to my editor - get a comment piece published in the Christian Science Monitor. It was three years ago, when a number of Egyptian bloggers who were critical of the government were arrested. We in the West forget that some bloggers risk their lives when they publish. It was a very small thing I did, but I was pleased I could help.
What are your favourite blogs? > My brother's blog, Silly Little Country, since he was one of the peer-pressurers, Roger L. Simon and, now that Mad Men is coming back for Season 3 (yay!), Basket of Kisses. But these things are fluid. I check out a lot of blogs and I definitely go through phases with them.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Voltaire, Jeremy Bentham, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Christopher Hitchens.
What are you reading at the moment? > Dresden: Tuesday, February 13, 1945, by Frederick Taylor.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Rodgers and Hammerstein, Frank Sinatra, Woody Allen, Jacques Brel.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner.
What is your favourite movie? > I have to name three. Patton (for when I need to believe in honour), The Sound of Music (for when I need to believe in love) and Bad Day at Black Rock (for when I need to believe there's a reason to go on living).
What is your favourite song? > 'L'important c'est la rose'.
Who is your favourite composer? > Beethoven, of course! The truly, madly, deeply of it all!
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > I frequently change my mind about abortion. I sometimes hold several opinions on the matter, simultaneously. Also, Capri pants. I used to be unequivocally opposed to them. But now I think if you're tall enough and slim enough, they're okay. Or, if you're Rafael Nadal.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > That compassion and justice should extend beyond human beings to other living creatures.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism, and the belief of so many that if the United States – or more broadly, the West - is behind something it must be suspect, or that any group or country that attacks a Western country or Western interests must somehow be noble.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > Matthew Scully's Dominion. I've been a vegetarian for years. I assumed I knew a fair bit about the horrors of factory farming, whaling, hunting, et cetera. But Dominion still managed to shock me and make me realize just how much work there is to be done.
Who are your political heroes? > Humanity Dick (aka, Richard Martin), William Wilberforce, Lincoln, Ataturk, Churchill, Harry Truman, Tony Blair.
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > Not so much policy, as an attitude change, which would, in turn, alter policy. Canada needs to stop measuring everything we do by how we believe it makes us look in comparison to the United States. We need to stop having tantrums whenever we feel our neighbours have slighted us. In short, we need to grow up and make decisions from a mature place. We don't have to be penny-ante and preening.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > I'm tempted to say Islamic fascism, but I think the real problem is the reflexive anti-Americanism/anti-Western sentiment of so many. Whether the threat is Islamic fascism or Communism or anything else, if we don't value liberty and pluralism and recognize what makes those things possible, we're doomed.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > The best is yet to come. I think we are moving - however incrementally - in the direction of freedom for all and an understanding that this is possible.
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? > Sure, provided they didn't come to their views in a ridiculous way. If, for example, someone says, 'I don't support the war in Iraq because I think the focus should be on Afghanistan,' I can respect that. If someone says, 'I don't support the war in Iraq because...' and then uses any of the following words – 'oil', 'Jewish lobby', 'Halliburton', 'neo-con', 'imperialism', 'American hegemony' – well, then I would have to run for the hills.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Empathy.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Cruelty and cowardice. I have to name them together because I think they have a symbiotic relationship.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > To protect someone's feelings and to prevent violence.
What is your favourite proverb? > Proverbs 27: verses 1 and 2.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > Oh, so much! I read a wonderful book recently called, A Buffalo in the House, from which I steal this quote: 'If, if, if. Life was a few acres of experience enclosed by a fence of ifs.'
What is your most treasured possession? > Apart from my pets, my parents' wedding rings (when my dad died, my mom gave me his ring and then hers, saying they belonged together), and my uncle's World War II medals.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Noel Coward.
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > 20/20 vision. I've been wearing lenses and glasses since I was 12. I'd love to have the laser surgery, but I fear, because of my lazy eye, that I am not a candidate. Bummer!
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > William Holden, Michelangelo and Queen Elizabeth II. I think that would be a rockin' good dinner party!
What animal would you most like to be? > A kitty owned by a wealthier version of me.
[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.]