Thursday, June 14, 2012

Still Perfect For D.C.

Nothing here but a misdemeanor, the jury said

The always diverting former Mayor of Washington DC, Marion Barry, is shocked by the ethical lapses of his fellow DC City Council members, and he gave them a good talking-to yesterday.

This is the same former Mayor of Washington DC who, back in 1990, was filmed by the FBI smoking crack cocaine, and who was subsequently acquitted on something like 14 felony charges by a local jury.

I was in Bogota, Colombia, the day he was arrested, and I still remember the Pearl Harbor-sized headlines in the local papers over that infamous still shot of Barry hoovering up a crack pipe. They said "ALCALDE DROGADICTO de WASHINGTON D.C." The editorials asked what Washington would do if it had been the mayor of Bogota caught on camera smoking crack, and suggested we would probably invade the country. Yeah, that was just a wee bit embarrassing.   

But despite it all, I truly like the guy. I agree with Mo'Kelly, Marion Barry is the greatest superhero ever. Yes, ever.
When Barry emerged from his FBI crack sting jail stint, he ran for a spot on the D.C. City Council representing Ward 8. Not only did he win, but he won with the campaign slogan, “He May Not Be Perfect, But He’s Perfect for D.C.”

Are you serious?!

When you extrapolate out the full meaning of the slogan, it would read something like …

“He may not be ‘perfect,’ given his crack addiction/arrest while cheating on his wife and soliciting a prostitute; but a crackhead, womanizer caught cavorting with prostitutes while serving as mayor is ‘perfect’ for D.C.

And he won …

If there has ever been an example of lower standards for voters electing their civic leaders in the history of elections, someone please show Mo’Kelly. Other than prostitutes and crack dealers (neither of whom vote), who exactly benefited from Barry in public office? Please point him or her out. Marion Barry is supernatural with super human abilities.

By the way, you can view Barry's smokin' performance in that FBI video here. Fast-forward to the 50 minute point for the crack pipe scene, with the money shot occurring at 52:30, immediately after which the guys in windbreakers burst in to the hotel room.

For a short time after that performance, there were some local high school-age kids who got together to act out the parts of Barry and his ex-girlfriend Rasheeda Moore in front of wide screen projections of the video, a la midnight screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. At the point where Rasheeda Moore starts loading the crack pipe, the girls would flounce back and front saying her lines: “You do it! You do it! It makes me too hyper! It makes me too hyper!” After the FBI busts in, the boys would sit down and hang their heads and say “bitch set me up ... I shouldn’t ah come up here ... Possession? With what, intent to use? That, little, that little bit, that, that little speck?" It was really excellent theater.

We get the elected officials we deserve. I will miss him when he's gone.


Anonymous said...

Not sure if you heard this, but he is still in power, representing the 8th ward. Just recently he basically insulted Koreans in his ward by saying "We've got to do something about these Asians coming in, opening up businesses, those dirty shops. They ought to go, I'll just say that right now, you know. But we need African-American businesspeople to be able to take their places, too."

I got to say, as a person from Baltimore...I miss old Barry being in charge. He was great at deflecting the attention from us.

TSB said...


Thanks for your comment. I like Barry's way of straight-out saying what he means. The guy is honest in that sense, and you can't say as much for every politician.

Back in his (pre-cocaine) prime, he was as sharp as any political there ever was. It's sad to see his long decline.