Late Night Fun Read: Our Guy, Barney Frank

Even after the bowdlerizers got there, it’s still a fun article, for those of us who remember Rep. Frank fondly:

After retiring from Congress at the end of 2012, Barney Frank sat down to write a political memoir. As one of the first openly gay members of Congress and a lifelong fighter for LGBT rights, the former Massachusetts Democratic representative had plenty of material to work with. The only problem was his inability to use a computer.

“I usually use dictation and have someone else transcribe,” Frank, 74, said in his studio apartment in Newton, Mass. “I had to learn how to use the computer. But I was so ­club-fingered that I kept accidentally shutting the machine down.”…

“Apprasebtly, none of my Dem,crstic occllesagues fesred tghat my p;rom ince wouild cause a problem for the pastry,” he wrote of rising up the ranks in the Democratic Party. “I very much boibut that this eould have been true for an openly gay leader of a very prominent committee tnwtey years esrleir.”

It’s going to take until next spring to get this book edited and out onto shelves. Frank said he will also record the audio version, so fans can hear him narrate in his authoritative mumble.

But in the meantime, a group of about 46 bright young minds get the opportunity to hear Frank’s stories once a week firsthand. This speakeasy, a fun-yet-garbled combination of personal history, legislative battles and slightly off-color jokes, can be found Wednesday nights at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government…

“The major thing is I don’t flinch when the phone rings anymore,” Frank said in the interview from the apartment that he has been renting for the past 15 years… He spends most of his time away from this bachelor pad up in Maine with his husband. “My nerve endings were raw. When the phone rang, it was a problem I had to help resolve. I was just worn out by the end.”…

Frank may be remembered for any number of things: for being a witty, irascible debater (once he told a woman that trying to talk to her was like trying to have a debate with a dining-room table), for his work on the financial reform bill, or for his work on the gay rights movement. So what is it that he hopes he will be remembered for?

“Being smart enough to not answer a question like that,” he said.






27 replies
  1. 1
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    So what is it that he hopes he will be remembered for?

    “Being smart enough to not answer a question like that,” he said.

    Yup.

    Resisting the urge to slap the living shit out of the idiot “journalist” who asked the question is probably a close second.

  2. 2
    srv says:

    AG BARNEY 2014

  3. 3
    PsiFighter37 says:

    Barney Frank was always more friendly to the financial industry than he lets on. There’s a reason he keeps getting invited back to speak on CNBC…

    Finishing up two September 25ths (one in Japan, the other in Hawaii) by polishing off the complimentary bottle of sparkling wine the hotel left the wife and I in our hotel suite (upgraded free from a basic room). I’m thinking that I should really tell every hotel I’m staying at that it’s my honeymoon going forward…

  4. 4
    Botsplainer says:

    I was musing in a dead thread below that Morris Dees from SPLC would be an outstanding AG choice…

  5. 5
    raven says:

    Goddamn it. We agreed to take care of a friends dog while she was out of town for a few days. She dropped his food off last night and we left it where Lil Bit got to it and, when I got up at 3:30 she had eaten about 4 lbs! I think she’ll be ok but she’s looking a little puny.

  6. 6
    Schlemazel says:

    My favorite Barney story involves the foul-mouthed Dick, Rep. Army (R-TX), who used to call him “Barney Fag” occasionally. He maintained it was just a slip of the tongue But Rep. Frank had asked him several times to knock it off. Finally when he had enough Barney took to the House floor and announced that if Rep. Army had another such slip he would also slip up & out every gay Republican in the House or working as a staffer on the Hill. Its funny because the foul-mouthed Dick never made that mistake ever again.

  7. 7
    raven says:

    Frank may be remembered for any number of things: for being a witty, irascible debater (once he told a woman that trying to talk to her was like trying to have a debate with a dining-room table), for his work on the financial reform bill, or for his work on the gay rights movement. So what is it that he hopes he will be remembered for?

    “Being smart enough to not answer a question like that,” he said.

  8. 8
    Anne Laurie says:

    @raven:

    We agreed to take care of a friends dog while she was out of town for a few days. She dropped his food off last night and we left it where Lil Bit got to it and, when I got up at 3:30 she had eaten about 4 lbs! I think she’ll be ok but she’s looking a little puny.

    Never had to try this myself (praise goddess) but trustworthy friends with “problem eater” dogs would feed them a dose of hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting when the dogs had eaten too much / potentially dangerous stuff. You might try calling your vet & asking if this is a good idea for Lil Bit…

    ETA: http://veterinarymedicine.dvm3.....=canonical

  9. 9
    raven says:

    @Anne Laurie: When they got into chocolate we tried that and neither barfed! In googling around GasX seems to be one route to take. I wonder if I should call her GP, cardiologist or opthamologist !!!!

  10. 10
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    This speakeasy, a fun-yet-garbled combination of personal history, legislative battles and slightly off-color jokes, can be found Wednesday nights at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government…

    I’m not so young, or so bright now that I think about it, but can I come anyway?

  11. 11
    raven says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Not till you solve that tax exempt problem!

  12. 12
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Schlemazel: I always thought that a guy named Dick Army really shouldn’t make comments about sex, anyone’s.

  13. 13
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @raven: I had to do the peroxide treatment on a Lab that ate a 3# bag of M&Ms once. Do you know what 3#s of partially digested M&Ms, dog food, and dog bile smells like?

  14. 14
    Schlemazel says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA:
    He lacks many of the social graces that promote a good society, self awareness is one of them.

  15. 15
    Schlemazel says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    You guys are doing a heck of a job convincing me I am right in sticking with cats!

  16. 16
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    I’m thinking that I should really tell every hotel I’m staying at that it’s my honeymoon going forward…

    My wife always does that on check-in, sometimes even if it’s not true.

  17. 17
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @raven: Speaking of which, how was the game?

  18. 18
    Anne Laurie says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The friend with the “counter surfing” rescue Aussie was always surprised that an otherwise extremely intelligent dog could never make the connection between gulping down a hunk of HP-soaked bread and puking up the latest Bad Dining Choice (coffee grounds, two-pound wrapped fruitcake, bowl of rising sourdough, bakers’ dozen pumpernickel bagels, turkey carcass from the kitchen trashcan when a “helper” Thanksgiving guest failed to secure the bungee latch… ) More than a dozen years of “guzzle garbage, eat the wet bread, puke” never led Audrey to put cause & effect together…

  19. 19
  20. 20
    raven says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I went to bed the same time you did. When I took our friend to the airport shuttle I heard the score so I didn’t bother firing up the DVR, it was a blowout.

  21. 21
    raven says:

    @Anne Laurie: Ooo, soaked in bread. I tried with a syringe.

  22. 22
    KPH says:

    My favorite Barney comeback: Discussing his prostate cancer operation at a public event, [Congressman Duke] Cunningham called it “just not natural, unless maybe you’re Barney Frank.” When asked for his reaction, Frank offered that Cunningham “may have suffered a little brain damage” during the surgery.

  23. 23
    shelley says:

    So what is it that he hopes he will be remembered for?

    I remember Bloomberg being asked the same question. HIs answer: ‘handsome.’

  24. 24
    srv says:

    @raven:

    irascible debater (once he told a woman that trying to talk to her was like trying to have a debate with a dining-room table), for his work on the financial reform bill,

    She kept asking him how, as a senior member on the Banking Committee he missed the whole, you know, Bank Crises.

    “Being smart enough to not answer a question like that,” he said.

    Indeed, he never did come up with an answer for her. But he had a funny line.

  25. 25
    JustRuss says:

    When the phone rang, it was a problem I had to help resolve. I was just worn out by the end.”

    Boy does that sound familiar, and I’m not operating anywhere near his level. Kudos for hanging in there as long as he did, and congrats on getting out with his sanity in one piece. Hope he has a great retirement, he’s earned it.

  26. 26
    Humbert Dinglepencker says:

    IIRC, it was David Letterman who remarked (in re: Rep. Armey’s ‘Barney Fag’ “slip of the tongue” – ha!), “I’d be a bit careful about that if my name was “Dick Armey.”

  27. 27
    John N says:

    I’d love to see guys like this start doing more lectures at places that aren’t Harvard, to be honest. Other schools have bright young minds, too, and less advantaged ones!

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