Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Blog bits: interview with Cath Elliott

Cath Elliott is one of those people who's always interesting and provocative. In the first of a short series of interviews with fellow bloggers I thought I'd have a quick chat with Cath about blogging, politics and space travel. You can find Cath on Comment is Free and Too Much To Say For Myself.
  • Why do you blog?
More than anything else I think I blog because I love writing, and blogging is a format that really suits the way I write. Plus of course blogging is a way of getting information out there and helping to raise awareness of issues, which is a huge advantage for anyone’s who’s involved in political activism.
  • What are the highs and lows of blogging for you?
The highs and lows are both the same really, because my favourite thing about blogging apart from the actual writing is interacting with the people who read my stuff. But the comments I sometimes get, especially on my Comment is Free pieces, also represent to me some of the lowest/worst aspects of blogging too…

The highest points for me have been the emails I’ve received from people, especially from women who don’t want to comment on some of the more robust threads, who want me to know that they appreciate me speaking out about certain issues. Sometimes when I’ve just read through a thread that just seems full of hateful comments, I won’t deny that I’ve wondered what the point is of it all. But then I’ll get an email, or meet someone who recognises me from my CiF photo, and who says something really positive, and that just makes it all worthwhile.
  • How does blogging fit into the rest of your political activity?
As I said at the start, I think blogging is one of the best and fastest ways now to get information out there, and it also gives you a much wider audience than more conventional methods of communication. Because of this I think it’s a vital component to any political activist’s arsenal, and I’m always surprised to find activists, or trade unionists, who still aren’t using any of the new media.
Blogging compliments and fits alongside my political activism, but I’m also wary of letting blogging take over that activity completely. I’d hate to become just another Internet warrior, spouting off on the net but doing nothing concrete to effect change out in the real world.
  • If you could imagine a perfect blog - what would it look like?
Charlotte Gore’s. Seriously, I love the look of her site, but unfortunately I’m not a techie so I haven’t got the first idea of how to go about creating something so sublime.
  • What's the big differences between blogging at somewhere like Comment is Free and the blogging you do elsewhere?
The blogging I do on my own site is a lot more personal than any of the stuff I write elsewhere and I think it gives people a much better picture of who the real Cath Elliott is. Having my own site also allows me to really let rip when I feel the need, without having to worry about what the editors are going to think.
Obviously Comment is Free and Liberal Conspiracy where I also write don’t want the more personal stuff, and I also tend to have to be a bit more measured about what I say or at least how I say it when I’m writing pieces for them (I realise some people might find that a bit hard to believe).
Quick fire round:
  1. History or philosophy? History

  2. Fourth Plinth - hot or not? Lukewarm

  3. Dworkin or Greer? Dworkin, obviously.

  4. Afghanistan - troops out now? Yes, the sooner the better

  5. Action movie or comedy? Action movie

  6. Coffee or beer? Coffee (or wine), I hate beer

  7. Opera or Oprah? Oprah

  8. Lenin or Keir Hardy? Lenin

  9. Obama: super smooth or mad dog imperialist? Super smooth

  10. There's a free ticket on the next space shuttle - do you go or do you send your kids! Neither. I hate flying, and it’s bad enough waving them off on a plane, I don’t think I could bear waving them off into space.

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