Joshua A. Barro ’05 came into the FM office sporting a blue button-down shirt and a slightly prideful smile. He is aware of his achievements streamlining the UC’s finance committee. He arrived looking slightly uncomfortable in FM’s territory, but as things got moving Barro opened up, revealing his favorite porn site, why he sweats Tarzan and what he’d name University President Lawrence H. Summers’ ass, if given the chance.
Fifteen Minutes: What is your favorite Steven Segal movie?
Joshua A. Barro: You know, I’ve never seen a Steven Segal movie. I love crappy movies, and I have yet never seen a Steven Segal movie. I’ve heard Executive Decision was cool because they killed him off in like 20 minutes, which was surprising. That’s an area I need to pursue that I haven’t yet, and that’s something we will definitely do in a Josh-and-Christina [L. Adams ’06] administration: more Steven Segal movies.
FM: It has been alleged that you leaked the Paris Hilton sex video. How do you respond?
JAB: [Guilty laugh] I could comment on that, but I won’t.
FM: What would you say is the last thing you were wrong about, and why were you wrong?
JAB: Oh, I’ve been wrong about lots of things... in my life. Uh, I was wrong...I had an argument with my blockmate yesterday about...what was it...I vividly remember...[long pause]. Well, the very last thing I was wrong about was that I would get up at 9:00 this morning, but that proved to be false. I changed my alarm about eight or nine times, so that’s the claim I made less than 12 hours ago that proved to be wrong.
FM: How about in an argument?
JAB: In an argument... Okay. I did win a bet with the UC secretary about whether or not Utah bordered Oregon... But, [a time] that I was wrong in an argument, I....[Very long pause, phone rings and briefly breaks the silence. Phone stops ringing, and lengthy silence continues.] I can’t remember what it was, but I’m sure it’s happened. It’s happened many, many times.
FM: What is your favorite pornographic website?
JAB: I’ve always liked whitehouse.com just for the irony, although what they market on there doesn’t appeal to me particularly.
FM: How has being the son of Robert Barro shaped the economic policy for your UC candidacy?
JAB: Not that much. I mean, it shaped my economic world view. I was like the only 14 year old using the term moral hazard and things like that. On UC, I’ve been very conscious about making sound fiscal decisions where we price the services that we give at what they’re actually costing us. I like to say that the students pay for it either way, it’s just a question of whether they pay for it through their term bill or they pay for it through the fee for the service.
FM: What is in your underwear drawer that might be surprising?
JAB: I have about 14 pairs of exactly the same Abercrombie and Fitch underwear. So, I think that’s unlikely to be shocking.
FM: Which Disney character would you most like to have sex with?
JAB: I think that probably it would have to be Tarzan. I mean, he’s sort of the archetypal desirable male, except that, I think, I’d like to have sex with him, but not to have a relationship with him. Conversation would just be a non-starter with him.
FM: Let’s try some word association.
FM: Migrant workers.
JAB: Open the border.
FM: Larry Summers.
JAB: Abrasive but sensible.
FM: Affirmative Action
JAB: I think it’s the issue that is most salient on the Harvard campus.
JAB: Serving students well; serve students better.
FM: Who would you take with you to a desert island?
JAB: You know, I think I might take Rohit Chopra with me to a desert island, because even though he might try to micromanage the island, he would be at least telling it to do the right things.
FM: What are you most afraid of?
JAB: I don’t go through life with a lot of fear. My spark.com stress test score was 3 percent, which means that I’m not spending very much time stressing about things. But, you know, French people scare me a little bit, but I work through it. I’ve been to France.
FM: If you were accused of any crime against humanity, what would it be?
JAB: Probably forcing my bad music tastes on other people. I don’t think the UN would look kindly on my making people listen to Devo and Duran Duran.
FM: I’ve heard that you are a member of a society that tries to name things after Ronald Reagan.
JAB: No, I worked for an organization this summer that has a side project where they try to get things named after Ronald Reagan; I did not work on the Ronald Reagan legacy project.
FM: What would you like to name after Ronald Reagan?
JAB: I was thinking we could name Larry Summers’ ass after Ronald Reagan. It could be the Ronald Reagan Memorial Larry Summers’ Ass.
FM: Would you try to have that implemented as UC president?
JAB: It’ll be the first thing on my platform.
FM: How about in the Jelly Belly grab bag? What is your favorite jelly bean?
JAB: My Favorite jelly bean? Are you just continuing to try to associate me with Ronald Reagan?
JB: He loved jelly beans... I like the butter popcorn jellybeans, which is a pretty unusual variety.