The Inquizator: Steve Barnes talks Fulbright, how to dress well and the strangest political gossip he’s ever heard
Steve Barnes is surely the most familiar face in Arkansas political news. He’s been on television in Arkansas since 1968, with stints at KTHV, KATV, KARK and, currently, AETN. He’s also developed a career as a freelance print journalist, writing a syndicated column and contributing to the New York Times, Reuters and many other news outlets. Arkansas TV viewers today know him as the host of AETN’s “Arkansas Week,” a weekly roundtable discussion on the latest in state news and politics. (Arkansas Times staff and contributors are regulars on the show. Barnes gave Times Associate Editor David Ramsey what may’ve been his first pair of grown-up loafers.) Barnes is a past recipient of the University of Arkansas’s journalist of the year award. He gamely answered the summons of the second edition of The Inquizator via email.
What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve ever received? Sell.
Who is your favorite Arkansan — living, dead or fictional — and why? J. William Fulbright. There were areas of powerful disagreement. From him I learned not so much what to think, but how to think.
If money was no object, what would you do with the rest of your life? Anything that could inculcate in children a love of reading.
What’s the strangest piece of political gossip you’ve ever heard? That I was running for Congress. (If nominated I will flee, if elected I will steal.)
Any tips on looking good or communicating effectively on television? Don’t effect.
When and where did you eat the best meal of your life? Several years ago; a beachfront rental open to the Caribbean. My wife and I shared a lunch of fresh-baked bread, butter, jam and some sliced ham. Unforgettable.
When and where were you happiest? I’d hope I’ve not yet been my happiest. Thus far, however, I’d say the birth of my grandchildren. (“Every child arrives with the message that God has not yet despaired of man.” – Tagore. Quite the optimist, He.)
What would be your own, personal version of hell? It would be cold, and there would be nothing to read.
What was the best piece of advice you ever received? Don’t worry about them.
Assume Arkansas needs a new state motto. What should it be? Unus porro, dimidium tergum.
What sartorial advice do you have for young men today? Kiwi.
What’s your most important ritual or routine? First net scan of the day.
What’s the funniest clean joke you know? Barnes for Congress!