Barbie review redux

I want to be kind because the movie was something Nicki was excited about…

But there are some futher items of critique I want to address and I feel like a new article is the best place because the first one is getting cluttered and it already feels dated to me.

Let me just bulletlist my notes from the past week and a half here:

  • The throwaway line about smallpox is frighteningly-perfectly emblematic of a form/system of colonial brainwashing about culpability vis a vis the genocides of the first peoples and this goes toward land rights issues at the highest level, ie the myth of them “giving the land away” or actually having been ~incidentally~ physically excised entirely from the landscape by plagues (of unremarked-upon-origin of course*). BOOOOO. Greta, WHAT? You sound like a revisionist 4th grade history textbook from conneticut or some shit brah.

*the only possible hail mary save for this “joke” is if the colonial origin of the smallpox is being deliberately hinted at as opposed to deliberately or ignorantly avoided. (Like maybe she takes it for granted that oooooof cooooourse everyone nowadays knows about smallpox blankets while also reflexively knowing that these nations were by no means wiped out (pro-natalist arguments baked in here frankly) and their reduction in numbers through germ warfare should by no means imply that they are any less entitled to their familiar national geographies and administrative primacy over them. Maybe everyone on the production was fully like “well course everyone knows THAT, it literally goes without saying.“) But ultimately, when the genocide joke has been simplified for punchiness to the point that it is devoid of necessary content to land effectively for anyone who like, would take it as some kind of grim comedy because they’re at whatever intersectional juncture necessary to click with that…you fucked it up. Like, take the L.

  • I should have said that I got the shrooms a year ago (Commercial Drive Vancouver backroom shroom popup, $30/half oz) so I fell into the classic trap of assuming too much about how strong they’d have stopped being. Actually a valuable note.
  • I could have told the story about how the last time I saw a theatrical screening high it was on K with my ex at Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis movie in Campbell River last summer and she lost her phone twice in a row and the second time we were back on Quadra Island before she noticed and we spent 24 hours stressing about whether it would have been turned in to the lost and found twice (should have made her bet on it, I’d have won betting it’d be there again).
  • Speaking of that ex she reminded me of something that I actually did worse than gloss over when I was doing my original article, I leaned into it, taking it on its own terms; the evolutionary psychology stuff about male-male competition etc.  It was all like a Robert Sapolsky lecture, wasn’t it?  A little rudimentary.


I’ve just watched this, as well:

Which got me thinking enough to leave a couple comments I’ll just reprint.  “The cons dont really know what words mean. They think ‘the patriarchy’ just like IS all men, period, and that distinguishing maleness from patriarchy is incoherent because theyre not clearly defined separate concepts for these people. Basically, they’re morons. Like I guess if you take a misinformed “bio-essentialist” worldview then patriarchal behavior is as inherent to men as any other mating behavior and none of it is a matter of choice and the movie therefore encourages the destruction of men as a group by textually rejecting patriarchy as a societal norm.”

Like I can see how, for the people whose identities rest in constantly recapitulating to and enforcing patriarchy, this movie’s success represents a massive existential threat within the culture; its my impression that they always imagined the cartoonish end game of feminism was to install a neo-patriarchy of women and like make the men dress skimpy and chase them around with whips while underpaying them and laughing about it & shit. Reversed rape culture, etc.  I think some of them have literally been “threatened” with that scenario as a thought experiment and took it so seriously its become some sort of hallowed touchstone of the deep manosphere.  It’s also the general shape of reality for some isolated individuals being abused by deranged gremlins; sometimes the “mommy issue” is that mommy was a monster, and the idea that In The Real World every power dynamic you’ve ever known or internalized is actually inverted, can seem sort of made up or unreal. Intangible.

I think for some of these guys who are existentially invested in Being Patriarchal, they remember being children and they remember that many girls around them were often very abusive and that this behavior began to subside around the time those girls became inner children, as the women they became adjusted to life in a world of dire consequences for being abusive to men indiscriminately.  This is very comfortable and even enjoyable to spectate for many of their former targets; suddenly half your peers are no longer equals (/positioned as superior, see below) and everyone knows it from how they’re paid, treated, and expected to self-display for passive heteropatriarchal consumption.  For the men who deeply appreciate this system, threats to it are problematic. They think of the aggrieved inner children they imagine to lurk fully-formed within the women around them and actually fear meeting them again face-to-face as equals without the protective insulation of patriarchal reenforcement. Some (Matt Walsh) would say adult cismen and adult ciswomen will never meet as equals again after the schoolyard because the men can simply physically overpower the women, individually and therefore collectively, one-by-one. IMO the mythologizations of relative male strength (within a very real paradigm of, everyone over a certain testosterone threshold is juicing relative to everyone under it) is so wrapped up in this whole “access to power” issue and to loss-of-power fantasies grounded in real memories of being disempowered relative to female-assigned peers or of becoming disempowered relative to male-assigned peers; ultimately who is made more capable of exerting their will differs according to who authority can be expected to side with, not who is more physically able to force another person to do things. When boys(/”boys”) aren’t stronger, they’re imagined to be and treated disproportionately harshly by authority figures, and when they actually are super-likely to be physically stronger, that strength is paradoxically coddled by shifting blame/social onus onto the minors in the other assigned sex category for being “tempting” or whatever.

It’s often the case that, in our co-ed youths (eg at public school, or church groups, or with family) the adults tended to pedestalized the girls (those above a certain threshold of not being too gnc) and acted around a notion of female fragility or even holiness that any targetted boys found transparently untrue.  Preadolescent boys are only ever stronger insomuch as they may simply spend more time doing muscle training activities because they may be more encouraged to do so out of a belief that they are tougher already than the female assigned children despite not yet being put on in-house testosterone by puberty. They may also simply be more confident in athleticism than the girls because of psychosomatic factors at play on both groups as per the socialization being constantly drilled into them about normative gender expectations for their assigned group.  Regardless, that little pedestal–tho it looms large in the emotional landscapes of many male assigned people for the rest of their lives–crumbles around the time the (low consciousness) teachers themselves find the girls too physically developed to ignore as either a sexual threat or sexual enticement, and suddenly the boys are the fragile ones, having their “manful restraint to not give in to their animal lust and rape a girl for having bare shoulders” tested or whatever ?.  And that dynamic of victim blaming never reshifts, under patriarchy.  And some people enjoy that. Others find it immaterial to their lives because they don’t have any of these hangups about loss-of-power and they ignore it when other people do because it’s simply more convenient to do so.  But the persistent theme here is disproportionate sheltering at a cultural level and the resentments harbored over it; the current adult culture war over who gets to say what & when vis a vis this figurative pedastal and who’s on it, was really fought on playgrounds long ago.  So all the oldheads like me are just regurgitating a bunch of drivel some boomers fed us a million years ago. And many of us are desperate to pass the same drivel along in a demented game of cultural telephone where the only thing retained is a collection of stale memes about “how girls are” and “how boys are”.  So those people naturally hate the Barbie movie, because Barbie is supposed to be on their side, because the Barbie they remember says shit like “math is hard” because lol, ~she’s a girl so she’s biologically predetermined to be weak in every possible way, right~?  ~It’s the great order of being: men rule women because women simply “are” inferior.~ ~Women accept less pay and deserve less because they simply “are” inferior in their work regardless of skill or outcome relative to male jobsite peers, because sacred male strength will always be more economically effective than the alternative and employers Know that~.  (“Something” makes the work of women “somehow” inherently degraded and this manifestation of inherently degraded quality is conventionally agreed upon as legible; it’s like “the emperors new clothes” in reverse, “where’s the value of this work you’ve done, we ALL can’t see it.”) These are very dear fairytales for some, this is the lullabye they sing themselves to sleep with, no less foundational to them than the refrains about white supremacy are to the whiter ones, particularly those negatively confronted in any formative way with their own whiteness such that they never emotionally reconciled it productively.

Tangentially, ime the schoolyard paradigm of having a girl bully typically has a lot to do with some children trying to mimic adult structures of male dominance, and their more aggressive or prococial female-assigned peers finding their lack of ability to defend that stance ideologically or even physically, at that stage of development, very funny.  Some girls I believe are straighforwardly told that this age is realistically their last shot at harassing and dominating “men” without major repercussion, and they go berserk.  By that same token, some boys are told this in reverse, that this is the age at which they can freely harass “women” before ~the feminazis~ or whoever (“white knights”, if the storytellers don’t happen to believe that the patriarchy was already co-opted by secular feminism in the 70s) send you to get prison raped for it, and so they also act out in the manner they infer is accordingly.

And then all of these people grow up and become pundits and other ridiculous things “adults” pantomime doing with our time.  Some people actually make it their job to be overseers in these child prisons so they can make sure this is the EXACT shit that KEEPS happening, because they’re afraid of change and covertly resentful of a plethora of things that were/are the direct results of a lack of timely change in their own formative years.

Which brings us back to, they’re scared of Barbies now…Now, they’re scared of Barbies. It’s still sinking in because it’s just so funny. Ben Shapiro lit a Barbie on fire like he was witchfinder general or some shit.  (While wearing his new softboy stonewash denim he imagines is butch….”very cowboy aesthetic, which is appropriate for my performance as a cishet patriarch except for how cowboys were classically loners with actual patriarchs as bosses” except like, wrong denim, bro.  It’s not even giving Brokeback it’s giving malltwink.) Because Barbie changed and these freakshows think she wasn’t supposed to, they don’t like how she changed.  As noted, these people are morons.  This is Barbie the brand continuing to learn not to suck, almost like they have a real investment in the legitimate wellbeing of the generations their toys are helping to bring up, just like the movie obliquely said was the case of the mattel execs.


Below find the ever-growing heap of post-release videos and clips that I’ve enjoyed:




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