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Above email address currently deprecated! Use gary underscore farber at yahoodotcom, pliz! Sanely free of McCarthyite calling anyone a traitor since 2001!
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I've a long record in editorial work in book and magazine publishing, starting 1974, a variety of other work experience, but have been, since 2001, recurringly housebound with insanely painful sporadic and unpredictably variable gout and edema, and in the past, other ailments; the future? The Great Unknown: isn't it for all of us?
I'm currently house/cat-sitting, not on any government aid yet (or mostly ever), often in major chronic pain from gout and edema, which variably can leave me unable to walk, including just standing, but sometimes is better, and is freaking unpredictable at present; I also have major chronic depression and anxiety disorders; I'm currently supported mostly by your blog donations/subscriptions; you can help me. I prefer to spread out the load, and lessen it from the few who have been doing more than their fair share for too long.
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"The brain is wider than the sky, For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include With ease, and you beside"
-- Emily Dickinson
"We will pursue peace as if there is no terrorism and fight terrorism as if there is no peace."
-- Yitzhak Rabin
"I have thought it my duty to exhibit things as they are, not as they ought to be."
-- Alexander Hamilton
"The stakes are too high for government to be a spectator sport."
-- Barbara Jordan
"Under democracy, one party always devotes its chief energies to
trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule --
and both commonly succeed, and are right."
-- H. L. Mencken
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.
It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
-- William Pitt
"The only completely consistent people are the dead."
-- Aldous Huxley
"I have had my solutions for a long time; but I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them."
-- Karl F. Gauss
"Whatever evils either reason or declamation have imputed to extensive empire,
the power of Rome was attended with some beneficial consequences to mankind;
and the same freedom of intercourse which extended the vices, diffused likewise
the improvements of social life."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Augustus was sensible that mankind is governed by names; nor was he deceived in his
expectation, that the senate and people would submit to slavery, provided they were
respectfully assured that they still enjoyed their ancient freedom."
-- Edward Gibbon
"There exists in human nature a strong propensity to depreciate the advantages, and to magnify
the evils, of the present times."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Our youth now loves luxuries. They have bad manners, contempt for authority.
They show disrespect for elders and they
love to chatter instead of exercise.
Children are now tyrants, not the servants, of their households. They
no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents,
chatter before company, gobble up their food, and tyrannize
"Before impugning an opponent's motives, even when they legitimately may be impugned, answer his arguments."
-- Sidney Hook
"Idealism, alas, does not protect one from ignorance, dogmatism, and foolishness."
-- Sidney Hook
"Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"We take, and must continue to take, morally hazardous actions to preserve our civilization.
We must exercise our power. But we ought neither to believe that a nation is capable of perfect
disinterestedness in its exercise, nor become complacent about particular degrees of interest
and passion which corrupt the justice by which the exercise of power is legitimized."
-- Reinhold Niebuhr
"Faced with the choice of all the land without a Jewish state or a Jewish state without all the
land, we chose a Jewish state without all the land."
-- David Ben-Gurion
"...the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him
an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this
or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages
to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right; that it tends also
to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing,
with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments, those who will externally profess
and conform to it;[...] that the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion
and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty....
-- Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, Thomas Jefferson
"We don't live just by ideas. Ideas are part of the mixture of customs and practices,
intuitions and instincts that make human life a conscious activity susceptible to
improvement or debasement. A radical idea may be healthy as a provocation;
a temperate idea may be stultifying. It depends on the circumstances. One of the most
tiresome arguments against ideas is that their 'tendency' is to some dire condition --
to totalitarianism, or to moral relativism, or to a war of all against all."
-- Louis Menand
"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis."
-- Dante Alighieri
"He too serves a certain purpose who only stands and cheers."
-- Henry B. Adams
"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the
poor to beg in the streets, steal bread, or sleep under a bridge."
-- Anatole France
"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."
-- Edmund Burke
"Education does not mean that we have become certified experts in business or mining or botany or journalism or epistemology;
it means that through the absorption of the moral, intellectual, and esthetic inheritance of the race we have come to
understand and control ourselves as well as the external world; that we have chosen the best as our associates both in spirit
and the flesh; that we have learned to add courtesy to culture, wisdom to knowledge, and forgiveness to understanding."
-- Will Durant
"Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is
but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest
winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore?"
-- Herman Melville
"The most important political office is that of the private citizen."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"It is an error to suppose that books have no influence; it is a slow influence, like flowing water carving out a canyon,
but it tells more and more with every year; and no one can pass an hour a day in the society of sages and heroes without
being lifted up a notch or two by the company he has kept."
-- Will Durant
"When you write, you’re trying to transpose what you’re thinking into something that is less like an annoying drone and more like a piece of music."
-- Louis Menand
"Sex is a continuum."
-- Gore Vidal
"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should
make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, 1802.
"The sum of our religion is peace and unanimity, but these can scarcely stand unless we define as little as possible,
and in many things leave one free to follow his own judgment, because there is great obscurity in many matters, and
man suffers from this almost congenital disease that he will not give in when once a controversy is started, and
after he is heated he regards as absolutely true that which he began to sponsor quite casually...."
-- Desiderius Erasmus
"Are we to have a censor whose imprimatur shall say what books may be sold, and what we may buy? And who is thus to dogmatize religious opinions for our citizens? Whose foot is to be the measure to which ours are all to be cut or stretched? Is a priest to be our inquisitor, or shall a layman, simple as ourselves, set up his reason as the rule of what we are to read, and what we must disbelieve?"
-- Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to N. G. Dufief, Philadelphia bookseller, 1814
"We are told that it is only people's objective actions that matter, and their subjective feelings are of no importance. Thus pacifists, by obstructing the war effort,
are 'objectively' aiding the Nazis; and therefore the fact that they may be personally hostile to Fascism is irrelevant. I have been guilty of saying this myself more than once. The same argument is applied to Trotskyism. Trotskyists are often credited, at any rate by Communists, with being active and conscious agents of Hitler; but when you point out the many and obvious reasons why this is unlikely to be true,
the 'objectively' line of talk is brought forward again. To criticize the Soviet Union helps Hitler: therefore 'Trotskyism is Fascism'. And when this has been established, the accusation of conscious treachery is usually repeated.
This is not only dishonest; it also carries a severe penalty with it. If you disregard people's motives, it becomes much harder to foresee their actions."
-- George Orwell, "As I Please," Tribune, 8 December 1944
"Wouldn't this be a great world if insecurity and desperation made us more attractive? If 'needy' were a turn-on?"
-- "Aaron Altman," Broadcast News
"The great thing about human language is that it prevents us from sticking to the matter at hand."
-- Lewis Thomas
"To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a child. For what is man's lifetime unless the memory of past events is woven with those of earlier times?"
"Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it."
-- Samuel Johnson, Life Of Johnson
"Very well, what did my critics say in attacking my character? I must read out their affidavit, so to speak, as though they were my legal accusers: Socrates is guilty of criminal meddling, in that he inquires into things below the earth and in the sky, and makes the weaker argument defeat the stronger, and teaches others to follow his example."
-- Socrates, via Plato, The Republic
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, represents, in the final analysis, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower
"The term, then, is obviously a relative one; my pedantry is your scholarship, his reasonable accuracy, her irreducible minimum of education, & someone else's ignorance."
-- H. W. Fowler
"Rules exist for good reasons, and in any art form the beginner must learn them and understand what they are for, then follow them for quite a while. A visual artist, pianist, dancer, fiction writer, all beginning artists are in the same boat here: learn the rules, understand them, follow them. It's called an apprenticeship. A mediocre artist never stops following the rules, slavishly follows guidelines, and seldom rises above mediocrity. An accomplished artist internalizes the rules to the point where they don't have to be consciously considered. After you've put in the time it takes to learn to swim, you never stop to think: now I move my arm, kick, raise my head, breathe. You just do it. The accomplished artist knows what the rules mean, how to use them, dodge them, ignore them altogether, or break them. This may be a wholly unconscious process of assimilation, one never articulated, but it has taken place."
-- Kate Wilhelm
"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed."
-- Albert Einstein
"The decisive moment in human evolution is perpetual."
-- Franz Kafka, Aphorisms
"All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
-- Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho
"First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you."
-- Nicholas Klein, May, 1919, to the Third Biennial Convention of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (misattributed to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 1914 & variants).
"Our credulity is a part of the imperfection of our natures. It is inherent in us to desire to generalize, when we ought, on the contrary, to guard ourselves very carefully from this tendency."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The truth is, men are very hard to know, and yet, not to be deceived, we must judge them by their present actions, but for the present only."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The barbarous custom of having men beaten who are suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been recognized that this way of interrogating men, by putting them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile. The poor wretches say anything that comes into their mind and what they think the interrogator wishes to know."
-- On the subject of torture, in a letter to Louis Alexandre Berthier (11 November 1798), published in Correspondance Napoleon edited by Henri Plon (1861), Vol. V, No. 3606, p. 128
"All living souls welcome whatever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible."
-- George Santayana, Dialogues in Limbo (1926)
"If you should put even a little on a little, and should do this often, soon this too would become big."
-- Hesiod, Work And Days
"Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."
-- Eugene V. Debs
"Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself."
-- Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign
"All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written "al-Qaida," in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies."
-- Osama bin Laden
"Remember, Robin: evil is a pretty bad thing."
Gary Farber is now a licensed Quintuple Super-Sekrit Multi-dimensional Master Pundit.
He does not always refer to himself in the third person.
He is presently single.
The gefilte fish is dead. Donate via the donation button on the top left or I'll shoot this cutepanda. Don't you lovepandas?
Current Total # of Donations Since 2002: 1181
Subscribers to date at $5/month: 100 sign-ups; 91 cancellations; Total= 9
Supporter subscribers to date at $25/month: 16 sign-ups; 10 cancellation; Total= 6
Patron subscribers to date at $50/month: 20 sign-ups; 13 cancellations; Total= 7
...writer[s] I find myself checking out repeatedly when I'm in the mood to play follow-the-links. They're not all people I agree with all the time, or even most of the time, but I've found them all to be thoughtful writers, and that's the important thing, or should be.
-- Tom Tomorrow
I bow before the shrillitudinousness of Gary Farber, who has been blogging like a fiend.
-- Ted Barlow, Crooked Timber
Favorite.... [...] ...all great stuff. [...] Gary Farber should never be without readers.
I usually read you and Patrick several times a day, and I always get something from them. You've got great links, intellectually honest commentary, and a sense of humor. What's not to like?
-- Ted Barlow
One of my issues with many poli-blogs is the dickhead tone so many bloggers affect to express their sense of righteous indignation. Gary Farber's thoughtful leftie takes on the world stand in sharp contrast with the usual rhetorical bullying. Plus, he likes "Pogo," which clearly attests to his unassaultable good taste.
Jaysus. I saw him do something like this before, on a thread about Israel. It was pretty brutal. It's like watching one of those old WWF wrestlers grab an opponent's
face and grind away until the guy starts crying. I mean that in a nice & admiring way, you know.
-- Fontana Labs, Unfogged
We read you Gary Farber! We read you all the time! Its just that we are lazy with our blogroll. We are so very very lazy. We are always the last ones to the party but we always have snazzy bow ties.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber you are a genius of mad scientist proportions. I will bet there are like huge brains growin in jars all over your house.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber is the hardest working man in show blog business. He's like a young Gene Hackman blogging with his hair on fire, or something.
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Gary Farber only has two blogging modes: not at all, and 20 billion interesting posts a day [...] someone on the interweb whose opinions I can trust....
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Isn't Gary a cracking blogger, apropos of nothing in particular?
-- Alison Scott
Gary Farber takes me to task, in a way befitting the gentleman he is.
-- Stephen Green, Vodkapundit
My friend Gary Farber at Amygdala is the sort of liberal for whom I happily give three cheers. [...] Damned incisive blogging....
-- Midwest Conservative Journal
If I ever start a paper, Clueless writes the foreign affairs column, Layne handles the city beat, Welch has the roving-reporter job, Tom Tomorrow runs the comic section (which carries Treacher, of course). MediaMinded runs the slots - that's the type of editor I want as the last line of defense. InstantMan runs the edit page - and you can forget about your Ivins and Wills and Friedmans and Teepens on the edit page - it's all Blair, VodkaP, C. Johnson, Aspara, Farber, Galt, and a dozen other worthies, with Justin 'I am smoking in such a provocative fashion' Raimondo tossed in for balance and comic relief.
Who wouldn't buy that paper? Who wouldn't want to read it? Who wouldn't climb over their mother to be in it?
-- James Lileks
I do appreciate your role and the role of Amygdala as a pioneering effort in the integration of fanwriters with social conscience into the larger blogosphere of social conscience.
-- Lenny Bailes
Every single post in that part of Amygdala visible on my screen is either funny or bracing or important. Is it always like this? -- Natalie Solent
People I've known and still miss include Isaac Asimov, rich brown, Charles Burbee, F. M. "Buzz" Busby, Terry Carr, A. Vincent Clarke, Bob Doyle, George Alec Effinger, Abi Frost,
Bill & Sherry Fesselmeyer, George Flynn, John Milo "Mike" Ford. John Foyster, Mike Glicksohn, Jay Haldeman, Neith Hammond (Asenath Katrina Hammond)/DominEditrix , Chuch Harris, Mike Hinge, Lee Hoffman, Terry Hughes, Damon Knight, Ross Pavlac, Bruce Pelz, Elmer Perdue, Tom Perry,
Larry Propp, Bill Rotsler, Art Saha, Bob Shaw, Martin Smith, Harry Stubbs, Bob Tucker, Harry Warner, Jr., Jack Williamson, Walter A. Willis, Susan Wood, Kate Worley, and Roger Zelazny.
It's just a start, it only gets longer, many are unintentionally left out.
And She of whom I must write someday.
MAYBE IT'S BECAUSE YOU'RE A "PROFESSIONAL JEW." I'd love to think this nimrod is a parody, but alas, he's for real.
Joe Lieberman did not lose the Democratic primary because of his support for the war in Iraq. He lost because of his lack of support from Jews. Joe got the support of black Baptists (except of course for Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson who stood so conspicuously behind challenger Ned Lamont on election night). He got the support of Catholic Union guys. He got the support of all the Connecticut papers, and he got the support of most Jews, but not at all an overwhelming number of Jews and that is why he lost. He lost because Barbra Streisand's highly publicized contribution to Lamont and because of the number of Jews who hated Bush and the war more than they loved Joe. That's why he lost, and I don't get it.
Now, first of all, do you know anyone who votes because of anything Barbra Streisand does? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
Yeah, me neither. I have no clue what Barbra Streisand's political positions are, other than that I see occasional sputtering about her by loony right-wingers, so I gather she's a liberal. Who besides loony right-wingers cares about this, I have no idea. Do right-wingers pay attention to Marie Osmond's political views, and take their cues accordingly? Wayne Newton? Gerald McRaney? No? Then why on earth would anyone give a flying leap about Barbra Streisand? The idea is so bizarre as to be lunatic.
On the other hand, the kooky Rabbi Gellman is essentially correct when he said that a huge number of Jews in Connecticut voted for Lamont "because of the number of Jews who hated Bush and the war more than they loved Joe."
But let's hear more:
Please understand, this is not a political rant. Yes, I support the war and yes I support and admire President George W. Bush, but I understand and respect those who have come to another conclusion about how best to fight the war on terror. My disappointment is with my people. I simply do not understand why so many Jews bailed on Joe. I cannot understand why Joe's percentage of the Jewish vote was not in the high 90s instead of the 54-57 percent range (according to Lieberman’s campaign). I have opinions on way too many things I don't know nearly enough about, but I know about Jews. I am a professional Jew, and yet if you asked me to explain why Jews did not vote for Joe the way blacks voted for Barack Obama or Catholics voted for John F. Kennedy I would not know what to tell you.
Apparently he's a complete effing idiot. It's because of this subtle and obscure point, Rabbi Gellman: it's because they disagreed with Joe Lieberman's politics.
I know that's a completely strange and unheard of reason to vote against a politician, but there you have it; you already said it, too, so you know perfectly well why Jews did not mindlessly vote for Holy Joe just because he's a Jew, too. (And thank goodness: what sort of fucking idiots would Jews be to vote for someone just because he's Jewish?)
In truth I am also bewildered about why Jews do not support President Bush more than the pathetic 22-26 percent (depending on which exit poll you look at) he received in 2004.
I'm sure glad Gellman isn't giving us a "political rant"; I wonder what he'd be talking about if he were?
Bush would win a landslide in Israel, and never once invited Yasir Arafat to the White House, but that is a bewilderment best left for another day.
Indeed, I also doubt the assertion very much, and since you're clearly so politically astute, I don't know any reason I should believe you, either, absent some clear polling data. But we'll let that go, no matter that you felt compelled to bring it up while you're not, you know, engaging in a political rant (what is this, then, a recipe for chopped liver?)
What has frozen me is the lack of support for Joe by Jews. Joe voted the Democratic line 90 percent of the time. Twenty-nine other Democrats also voted for the war and none of them was targeted (yet). Joe is the most famous Jewish politician of all time (unless you count former New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia whose mother was Jewish). He is an observant Jew and obviously he was on the presidential ticket in 2000. He is modest and self effacing. He is moral and faithful. He is principled and intelligent ... and he is one of us! What more do you want of the guy?
Not to hug and kiss George W. Bush. Not to constantly defend him. Not to provide political cover for the Republican Party. Not to denounce fellow Democrats on behalf of the Republican Party. Not to be a stooge. Not to be unable to tell that you, Joe Lieberman, have consistently been rolled by the Republicans. Not to continue to assert that, really, you've questioned the execution of the war, so what more could anyone want? Not to not get that if you're still saying that invading Iraq was a jolly good idea, in 2006, you're a complete fucking moron.
Stuff like that, Rabbi Gellman.
This. Is. Not. A. Secret. Pull your head out of your ass.
[...] And for this we dumped Joe? It just makes no sense to me and it ought to be a huge embarrassment to all card-carrying Jews whether they agreed with Joe or not.
Did I mention you are a fucking idiot?
Oh, and when did they start giving out cards to Jews, anyway? How come I didn't get one? Help, help, I'm being repressed.
And, man, are you a "huge embarrassment to all [...] Jews," bozo.
There are and have always been only two kinds of Jews: tribal Jews and cosmopolitan Jews.
And I always thought it was the Jews who think there are two kinds, and those who think there are a whole lot of kinds.
Tribal Jews love anything Jewish. Cosmopolitan Jews love anything but Jewish. Tribal Jews are not trying to pass, assimilate or deny their tribal roots, their attachment to Israel and their love of other Jews no matter who they are. Cosmopolitan Jews are trying to pass and assimilate and become an undifferentiated member of the majority culture.
Oh, bite me. With follks like you speaking for us, we don't need enemies. I'm contantly being told these days -- me, a lifelong hater of Sharon and Likud, a lifelong worker for and supporter of peace between Jews and Palestinians, Israelis and Arabs, of groups like Americans For Peace Now -- that I'm some sort of wacky hardliner for not knee-jerk attacking the head of the Israeli Labor Party, and the first government to unilaterally withdraw entirely from Gaza, a government that previously withdrew entirely from Lebanon, and that plans to withdraw from most of the West Bank (and I think it should withdraw from all or just about all, as well as make a settlement that shares Jerusalem in some fashion), and here you are, you asshole, telling me that I'm "trying to pass and assimilate and become an undifferentiated member of the majority culture."
"Bite me" is the polite version.
[...] The problem with cosmopolitan Jews is that they have trouble loving other Jews. The reason for this split is you are Jewish by blood and not by belief.
Gee, tell that to many converts, do you? Maybe for some people it's an ethnicity, and for some it's belief, and for some it's both.
[...] I had been unsuccessfully trying to raise money for Israel from an assortment of cosmopolitan university Jews, each of whom had some phony but articulate reason why they would be intellectually compromised if they gave me a dollar for Israel.
You're clearly a great spiritual leader, Rebbe. You must be, to be such a mindreader, and have such a clear view into people's hearts.
[...] My best friend is a priest, so I have to explain Jews to Christians all the time. Usually it is easy and fun. Because Joe lost, it's no longer easy and it's no longer fun.
Then why on earth would anyone give a flying leap about Barbra Streisand?
I believe she made it into the cartoon enemies list of right-wingers back in the 1990s because of how effective she was at raising money for Democrats and liberal causes, via benefit concerts and fostering networks of donors.
I can believe that, and I can believe that some candidates would give her a half hour, or hour, or whatever, of their time, if she donate a million or so, and also maybe because they're star-struck about hasbeen movie-star-singers who were popular forty years ago, before walking out of the room and ignoring anything she's had to say, but why any voter would allegedly care about her political views, I can't fathom.
Who takes political advice from, and respects the political insights, of an actor, or singer, just because they're well-known?
The fact that entertainers like to mouth off doesn't mean anyone listens to them (anyone above the age of 16, anyway).
Not that you're disagreeing me; I'm just bewildered at the idea.
Take political advice from a performer? No way, but then I'm pretty politically developed.
But respect the political insights of one? Not at all inconceivable; depends entirely on the quality of the political insights. Having become rich and famous for some non-political talent doesn't rule out having intelligence and political acumen. It's less common in those circles than in, say, the cubicles of the Center for American Progress, but not entirely absent.
When I worked in L.A., there were some successful actors who worked effectively side by side with solidarity activists; they were smart, sound, and remarkably self-effacing. There were also some self-involved, airhead, prima donna "supporters" who had only the most rudimentary understanding of the issues we worked on. With them, it was often an open question whether the access to publicity and money they brought was worth the trouble of dealing with them.
Stars are people. The bigger stars they are, the more difficult it is for them to remain "regular people", and the greater the odds against them being someone whose political insights you'd respect. But it happens.
Barbara Streisand I have no idea about. But in the era of big-money campaigns, I'd sure as hell rather be beholden to her for $2 million than to Morgan, Stanley or the Telecommunications Industry Association.