Barney Frank Hates Everything, Tom DeLonge Believes in Aliens, and Furries: Today’s Recommended Reading

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Here at Flavorwire, we pride ourselves on not only writing some of the best content on the Internet, but keeping an eye on all of the great writing that other folks on the ‘Net are doing, too. This time we have interviews with the delightful curmudgeon Barney Frank and the delightful “believer” Tom DeLonge. Also, an enlightening examination of mainstream culture’s love affair with furry culture. Oh, and lastly, but perhaps most importantly, an interview with the founder of the EXXXOTICA Expo about the free speech war he’s currently waging.

Barney Frank might be retired from politics, but he’s not retired from being a lovable curmudgeon. One might’ve thought that his removal from public office would calm the man down, but his distance from the system seems to have only heightened his disdain for it. Specifically, he’s not enchanted by Bernie Sanders.

Bernie Sanders has been in Congress for 25 years with little to show for it in terms of his accomplishments and that’s because of the role he stakes out. It is harder to get things done in the American political system than a lot of people realize, and what happens is they blame the people in office for the system. And that’s the same with the Tea Party. It’s “I voted for these Republicans, we have a Republican Congress, we voted for them, they took over Congress, they didn’t accomplish anything.” You gotta win at least two elections in a row.

In an interview with J. Handy, owner and producer of EXXXOTICA Expo, Filthy. asks about the event’s recently being banned in Dallas, Texas. Handy also talks extensively about the importance of free speech not only in the adult entertainment world but also in the world, generally. Disturbingly, a group of people is so devoted to hindering free speech about sex that they’ve developed a reputation and a nickname: “The Hateful Eight.”

The “Hateful Eight” consist of Mayor Mike Rawlings and his seven cronies on the city commission. They vote in line with anything that the Mayor wants to have happen. One of them is the daughter of a famous football player—Roger Staubach. When they gave the testimony about our event, it was completely without basis. Everything they claimed was wrong—not only with porn but with the entire adult entertainment industry. We have never called ourselves a porn convention. Do we have adult materials? Yes. But the majority is educational and entertaining. Many of the “Hateful Eight” were advised by their own legal council that we have a First Amendment right to be in that building…and they completely ignored it.

Every few months, an interview with Tom DeLonge comes along and makes me question my nostalgic love of Blink-182. Well, another one came out today, because Tom DeLonge has a new book coming out. It’s called Sekret Machines and it’s 700 pages long. Each of those pages is about conspiracy theories. It’s also fiction, but still deals with very true conspiracy theories? Still, that’s a lot of pages for a man who can’t write an OK song that lasts longer than 3 minutes.

When you read the Sekret Machines novel, you’ll find out that our government is building machinery, and what people are seeing a lot of the time is our machinery and we’re doing it for very specific reasons. When they find that out, I think the sense of pride that we’ll have with our government’s efforts and the breakthroughs that they’ve had and what they’re doing it for is exciting. People need to know this stuff to get excited again about all these topics of engineering and science. It’s the same thing that inspired the country to go the Moon. We’ve far surpassed that effort, but in secret. It’s all in the book. There’s a pilot that gets promoted to a civilian program financed by private interests, and he’s flying machinery that really does exist.

Lastly, a nice essay about pop culture’s covert conversion to furry fandom. The latest example used in this argument is Disney’s beautiful new film, Zootopia, but the author, Farah Rishi, dives into anime and other popular (but less mainstream) properties that have, in one way or another, happily propelled furry culture into our households.

Maybe we, as humans, anthropomorphize non-human beings as a reflection of our own arrogance because, in our minds, loveable beings must have human traits. But these visual novels suggest another reason for the popularity of animals as love interests in visual novels: the desire to connect to and actively engage with creatures beyond ourselves using our own agency and decision-making process, and without judgment from either other consumers or the love interests themselves.