If you could live one day in the life of any fictional character, who would you choose? Probably Conan the Barbarian. Life is simple but it’s also very adventurous and daring. The stakes are high, and living in a very civilized society, it’s a fun fantasy to imagine what it would be like to let your irrational impulses run wild. Or a detective, specifically, Dashiell Hammett’s The Continental Op, because I also have fantasies of being a homicide detective. I just became a professor instead.What is one memory from your childhood that stands out to you?We were on vacation at the ocean, and we went swimming in late morning. I thought that a contact was stuck on my eye because I couldn’t see quite right. I tried to pick it off my eye because I thought it was suctioned or dried on and it hurt. So, I laid on the bed and every family member came around and tried to peel this contact lens off my eye. It hurt very badly so I had to go to the optometrist and it turns out what we thought was a contact lens was actually my cornea. So, everyone had taken a turn trying to pull off a piece of my eye. I got sympathy from my mom, but no sympathy from my sister or my father. They were just upset I had ruined the afternoon at the beach. Do you have any unique hobbies or talents? I used to play the drum kit.What is your funniest memory from college?The time I thought I lost my car but I just forgot I had parked it somewhere. I had to call the police and file a report. It turned out that I had gone somewhere out of my routine and forgot about it.Who is one person you’ve always looked up to? I always looked up to my maternal grandfather the most. He was such a good patriarch and he was a lawyer, a judge, and was respected by the community. He was a self-made man. Because he was the younger brother, he didn’t inherit the family business. He had to carve his own path. What’s one life-changing experience you’ve had that you’ll always remember? At age 35, I converted to Catholicism. My wife and I decided to become Catholic. It felt like a long time coming, as if there had been a real part of my spiritual and family life that had been dormant, that became alive with my entrance into the Catholic Church. There were a lot of different factors, so I would be hard-pressed to isolate one. A lot of my thinking about important things changed once I became a father. At that time, I was teaching at Penn State, and there was this Orthodox guy they called the Willard preacher. He would stand outside the humanities building every day and would basically play a Christian version of Socrates with the students. Between classes I would go and listen to him, and found him to be very persuasive. That was a very big push towards thinking theistically at all. I didn’t convert from Protestantism; I converted from atheism, and my wife did too. All the Christian people that I was friends with at that time were Catholic. If you could film a documentary, what would it be about?If I could film a documentary, it would probably be about my favorite weird fiction writers from the early 20th century, namely H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, and Robert E. Howard. What’s one thing you used to believe that you have since changed your mind about? I grew up in a pretty liberal, progressive household. Around the time my first child was born, I took a pretty dramatic right turn towards more conservative ways of thinking.If you could change one thing about modern society, what would it be? I would get rid of digital technology. I think digital technology throws life out of balance. I think that you can create and sustain a more balanced state or equilibrium between human beings, communities, and technology pre-digital. Digital has a capacity to colonize everything and to create a global planetary structure of control that re-mediates all other forms of technology and flattens life to a virtual plane.What is one movie you think everyone needs to watch? I think everyone should watch “Blue Velvet.” They should also probably prepare themselves for it because it has some shocking moments in it. Ultimately, I think it’s a very conservative and life-affirming film that’s probably not too far off the mark of what Flannery O’Connor tries to do in her fiction. Metaphysical evil is very real and it’s why we try to create societies to keep that at bay. What’s one thing most people don’t know about you? I grew an inch a couple years ago so I’m now 5 foot 8. Which 80’s or 90’s TV show do you think deserves a spin-off series? I think a spin-off series would maybe ruin it, but I wish that Seinfeld had gone for one more year. I wish that the Simpsons could get back to the golden era it was in the 90s. What is one thing you hope to impart to your students? Not to take everyday life for granted. So much of their everyday life is conditioned by various symbolic and technological environments and they should start developing the habits to be able to navigate that responsibly in a way that makes living freely an ever-renewable possibility. It’s easy to give one’s agency over to an external environment. I also want students to know that rhetoric and public address is not the public speaking department, but that we offer a lot of classes and a lot of them have to do with media and popular culture.