Peeps! BE EXCITED! I’ve got a super nice post and a super mean post lined up for you tonight, both about The New Yorker. Here we go! Guess which is which?
I’ve always had a lot of affection for Barney Frank. Remember when Bush took his cell phone out of his hands and talked to his boyfriend? Oy!
The New Yorker just had a nice Jeffrey Toobin profile on him which I read intently. I have this horrible trait of looking for reasons not to love the people I love, so I went through the article circling potential reasons not to love Barney. I do this not (only) because I am the most negative person you’ve ever met, but also because I want to be armed to instantly refute if someone points out flaws in someone I admire—people are assholes like that, have you noticed? The minute you say someone is interesting or smart or worthy of slavish hero worship they feel the need to tell you that their cousin once fucked them in a bathroom and they were “small in the game” (a phrase I just learned, courtesy of Lily Allen). I mean, I am always looking for more information on peeps, but man, people can be idiotic with that shit.
So here’s what I’ve got for Barney Frank:
Joe Corcoran, a giant developer dude, says,
Barney is a real capitalist. He understands that we have to make a profit.
Oh, sad face. (he also says: “Barney is the smartest politician I’ve ever seen. I have no problem with him being gay, or being Jewish. I like Jews. I like doing business with Jews. They know how to make a deal.” Of course!)
Michael Oxley, former chairman of the Financial Services Committee says:
Barney, to some extent, is misunderstood—with this image of him as a fierce partisan. He is an institutionalist. He believes in the House and in the process.
Of course, neither of these came straight from Frank, but this did:
And it struck me, before I conceptualized this, that the answer to that was public-private partnership, that that’s the way to do affordable housing. And then it struck me: You know what? This is the model for other things. Public-private-sector coöperation.
Really? I am not so sure at all. But I believe in you, Barney! Convince me! (& oh, I adore that TNYer does the accent over the o in cooperation!)
So…should I not love Barney Frank if he is a capitalist and an institutionalist, being as I am an anarchist antipreneur*?
When I was deciding who to honor for my upcoming line of feminist chocolates, I made a giant list of women and literally assigned point values: were they white? Minus 1 point—I had too many white women in the lineup already (bye bye Rachel Carson!). Were they born rich (I loved you once, Natalie Barney!)? Minus 2 points, I fucking hate richies. I dropped Dolores Huerta because she endorsed Hillary, and on and on.
And although I think that was the right approach for the chocolate line, as I wanted my ladies to be beyond reproach, I’m OK with looking up to people whose values and, most likely, actions I don’t always agree with. It’s like Naomi Klein says in that little text box on the right up there—politicians need rabble-rousers on the left to help move them along and to show that there is support for leftist policy.
I can work for anarchist utopia, which is never going to happen in my lifetime, while Barney Frank works to keep the system we have from being completely taken over by idiots on the right. We are on parallel but not identical trajectories, and while much of our work is the same, the end results are very different. I’m OK with all that. I’m OK with pretty much anyone doing anything to stop the madness, I guess that’s what I’m saying. And anyway, with the kumbaya president we’re going going on now, we need Barney Franks to make sure Obama listens to the left wing of the Democratic party.
Also, how could you not love someone who says stuff like this?
Not long ago, Paul Begala, the political strategist, was speaking at a fund-raiser for a gay-rights group and said, “When I told my father, back in Texas, that I was speaking to an L.G.B.T. group, he said that sounded like a sandwich.” From the audience, Frank called out, “Sometimes it is!”
*I stole the “antipreneur” title from Adbusters, do you love it?