Carl Packman was born in a British military hospital in Hanover, Germany. He studied Film and Philosophy at London Metropolitan University and since graduating has worked in a school and as a researcher for a social enterprise focusing on children's policy. He is now freelancing his research services to several organizations. He has contributed written material to many publications including the Guardian, the New Statesman and academic journals such as Rethinking Marxism and the International Journal of Zizek Studies. Carl blogs mainly at Raincoat Optimism and Though Cowards Flinch.
Why do you blog? > At first it was because I had lots of unpublished written material from university or quick doodlings that I felt should go somewhere; now it's because I'm obsessed with writing.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Only a couple of months after I started blogging I published a piece on Tory bloggers and Andy Coulson. Guido Fawkes commented and we started to debate. I started to get worried that I had libelled him, but instead he ended the debate by saying 'I'm off on my holidays. Bye.' Relief and success.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > After I had written a piece about organ donation, another blogger replied by writing a piece himself saying how I was a terrible writer and dismissive of criticism. The former maybe, the latter definitely not.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Jean-Paul Sartre.
What are you reading at the moment? > Tony Judt's Postwar and Graham Turner's No Way To Run An Economy.
Who are your cultural heroes? > John Zorn, René Magritte, Jean-Luc Godard.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Dostoyevsky's Notes From Underground.
Who is your favourite composer? > Wagner.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > Palestine: as a young member of a certain far left organization I was blinded into a very naïve position on the state of Israel, which I have since reconsidered.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > The Hegelian Dialectic.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Postmodernism.
Who are your political heroes? > Wat Tyler, Clem Attlee, Evo Morales.
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > Nationalize financial services.
What would you do with the UN? > Withdraw representation from undemocratic countries or those with appalling human rights records.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > The rise and technological advancement of political fundamentalism hiding under the guise of Islam.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > I'm too much of an idealist (at my tender age) to be a so-called political realist (of the type John Gray talks about in his book Straw Dogs), and I have a hope that civilization will afford something akin to global democracy and peace in my lifetime, or at the very least corruption and evil be officially held at arms length, unlike now when in certain sections of the world it is the only thing people know.
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 I could - debate is the lifeblood of any good relationship. Of course this is all dependent upon me winning every argument; to the contrary would be an issue.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Instinctual contrarianism.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > I'm not precious about such things; if it benefits the situation tell a lie (e.g. does this look good on me? have you been drinking? that sort of thing).
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > Yes - towards members of the Socialist Workers Party.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Sports.
What would you call your autobiography? > A Life More or Less Ordinary.
Who would play you in the movie about your life? > A younger David Thewlis (circa 1993).
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > I would like to live in Salta, Argentina - it's the best place I've ever been.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Full-time journalist and writer.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Stewart Lee.
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > Appear on Have I Got News For You.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > I'd invest in a very pretentious café/second-hand bookshop in London, big enough to hold open mic sessions.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Christopher Hitchens, W.G. Sebald, Groucho Marx.
[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.]