Wednesday, October 22, 2008

An Interview With The Pakistani Spectator

Dear and respected , thanks a lot for your consent. Here are the questions for the interview. Please also send us a brief bio of yourself, and URL of your site. Please send the answers at your earliest convenience.

Here are the questions please:


Would you please tell us something about you and your site?


I had written a political column for a few newspapers in Connecticut before I began the blog, “Connecticut Commentary: Red Notes from a Blue State,” a few years ago. The blog and the columns are devoted mostly to Connecticut politics, but I also touch on national politics and social questions. At the beginning, I thought to keep a blog so that, over a period of time, I could discover a narrative within the blog itself. I was curious what this narrative would be like. It was an experiment of sorts.


Do you feel that you continue to grow in your writing the longer you write? Why is that important to you?

Every little bit helps. Writing is like maintaining a foreign language: If you don’t use it, you lose it. And then, of course, there is always this dire warning from Danish philosopher Soren Kierkaggard: “There are some thoughts that come but once in a lifetime.” Re-thinking and re-writing is very important to me.


I'm wondering what some of your memorable experiences are with blogging?

I don’t want to be too obscure in answering this one. There are two things: Knowing, and knowing that you know. The second is the deeper kind of knowledge. Blogging helps you to know that you know. Some turns of phrase, some analytical observations always come as a pleasant surprise to me. I was interviewed by the BBC on their radio program as a result of blogs on the senate race between current Sen. Joe Lieberman and Democrat primary winner Ned Lamont. That was exhilarating.


What do you do in order to keep up your communication with other bloggers?


I read what they write. In many cases, my bog appears in their blog rolls, and this gives their readers an opportunity to view my blog if they wish. There are e-mails constantly going back and forth, and the commentary section on my blog, a regular feature of most blogs, gives everyone an opportunity to comment or offer a new perspective.


What do you think is the most exciting or most innovative use of technology in politics right now?


In the United States, some partisan blogs have been used to generate funds for candidates. Sen. Barack Obama has received a good portion of his individual campaign contributions in this way. Political parties used to be the money factories in American politics, but they have been hamstrung in this regard by changes in campaign finance laws. Funds collected by blogs for specific candidates are not regulated. Some blog commentaries have affected news reports as well.


Do you think that these new technologies are effective in making people more responsive?

Not sure. People ultimately should respond to the truth, which sometimes gets buried in a mountain of white noise.


What do you think sets Your site apart from others?

Its focus. Connecticut is what we call a “blue state,” inordinately liberal. My blog cuts against that grain.


If you could choose one characteristic you have that brought you success in life, what would it be?

My marriage to a good woman; my parents who worked hard and always wanted the best for me; committed teachers and other people for whom a moral and good life was not just a pious wish. Added to all this, I have some writing talent, developed over a long period of time. God does not leave us without defenses in a sometimes indifferent world.


What was the happiest and gloomiest moment of your life?

The death of my parents, uncles and aunts, all within the same time period was very depressing. One of the happiest moments was when Jake, my wife’s guide dog, came into our lives. I had arranged with Fidelco, a service that provides guide dogs to the blind here in Connecticut, to have the dog in our home on Christmas twelve years ago. He has been a blessing ever since.


If you could pick a travel destination, anywhere in the world, with no worries about how it's paid for - what would your top 3 choices be?


Italy, there to see the ancestral village of my father; Saudi Arabia, to visit my cousin, who has been living there these past three decades; and Paris, still the city of lights.


What is your favorite book and why?

I re-read books these days. I am re-reading Albert Camus’ “The Rebel” just now. I read to AndrĂ©e, my wife, at night. We’ve just finished a biography of Dostoyevsky. I don’t really have a favorite book, but I find myself drawn to certain authors.


What's the first thing you notice about a person (whether you know them or not)?


Their faces; the face is the most expressive part of the body, a story-board in fact.


Is there anyone from your past that once told you you couldn't write?

No.


How bloggers can benefit from blogs financially?


Ah, but man does not live by finance alone, my friend. There are riches other than money one should hoard. Some blog sites generate money through ads posted on the site.


Is it true that who has a successful blog has an awful lot of time on their hands?

No. William Faulkner used to say that if you wanted to get something done, “Ask a busy woman.” The best blogs are written by people who are otherwise busy.


What role can bloggers of the world play to make this world more friendlier and less hostile?

I don’t know. The world is a very messy place. Perhaps the best we can do is to try and say the truth that, all of us hope, will make us free. But freedom is also is messy.


Who are your top five favourite bloggers?

For purely selfish reasons, I find myself reading state newspapers and local bloggers who write about questions I wish to address in my blog. Christopher Hitchens, for stylistic reasons, is one of my favorite atheist bloggers, though we part on the question of theism. These are some blog sites I return to often:

BlogNetNews Connecticut; a collection of all significant political bloggers in Connecticut -- http://www.blognetnews.com/Connecticut/

Connecticut Local Politics; contributions from Connecticut residents --http://www.ctlocalpolitics.net/

Politico; a site for national news -- http://www.politico.com/

Real Clear Politics, national news -- http://www.realclearpolitics.com/

Dean Ismay, Dean’s World; discusses everything remarkably well -- http://www.deanesmay.com/


Is there one observation or column or post that has gotten the most powerful reaction from people?

At the moment, a series of blogs on the Wall Street collapse.


What is your perception about Pakistan and its people?


The Pakistanis I know personally are intelligent, curious, modest, spiritually developed and partially Westernized. I regret I haven’t been to Pakistan. People in the US are likely to “know” it through news reports, which certainly will give them little indication of what the people in the country are like.


Have you ever become stunned by the uniqueness of any blogger?

Bill Buckley, the conservative columnist and author, was consistently stunning. Before he died, his column ran regularly on NRO (National Review on line) He was also a friend. I like Mark Steyn, but he has temporarily given up blogging.


What is the most striking difference between a developed country and a developing country?

The availability of credit, technological proficiency, efficient government, and higher education facilities are some of the marks of developed countries. All this has its downside as well. Undeveloped countries are those, the avatars of developed countries tell us, that are moving in the direction of progress and self sufficiency. Developed countries are, some people think, spiritually impoverished.


What is the future of blogging?

It tends to make monks of us or, even worse, preachers. On the bright side, the internet is a vast resource of knowledge, some of it useful.


You have also got a blogging life, how has it directly affected both your personal and professional life?

It’s a time eater. Someone once asked Oscar Wilde why he had not devoted more time to a serious study of socialism. He said something like: Because there are only so many hours in the day – meaning he wanted to devote his leisure time to more enjoyable pursuits: chats with friends, the opera, writing delightful little stories. At least he had those priorities straight.


What are your future plans?

To observe scrupulously Hillare Belloc’s advice to the rich (though I am not rich): “Get to know something about the internal combustion engine, and remember that soon you will die.”


Any Message you want to give to the readers of The Pakistani Spectator?


Improve the world from the inside out: First work on yourself, then your family, then your neighborhood, your province, your nation and lastly the world. If you have accomplished all this, your goodness will radiate outward to the world like a bright sun.
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