Joshua Dysart’s review published on Letterboxd:
Do it yourself SUPER FILM BRO Barbie review... helping woke, spoke, bespoke, and toked men sound smart.
Instructions: Choose from one of the following contentious main discussion points, then choose a corresponding potential argument position that best sums up your feelings about Mattel’s most recent toy commercial -
1. It’s an Attack on Men...
- Yes. Men must be sheltered. Continued attacks on masculinity and the overall queerification of the Empire is exactly how Rome fell. The war with Oceania does not go well. Now is not the time to question our established values. Men must stay on a war footing with culture at all times, or else growth and self-realization might creep in and weaken the foundations of our identity... which are not fragile and are very strong and don’t need to be sheltered.
- No. Don’t be such a frangible flimsy Rogan podcast listening pussy.
- So what. Men suffer the tyranny of the majority in the Barbie Land matriarchal system. That tracks. People are people. Whatever group has power, they will use the means of power to stay in power. It’s not gendered. It’s not culturally-specific. It’s human. Isn’t it enough that by the end of the movie the Kens have managed to establish a First Wave Masculinist movement? Soon the Ken’s may even get the right to vote! You’ve come a long way, boi!
2. Corporatism Wins...
- Yes. Corporate messaging has become more effective than at any other time in history. Always-online youth movements and personal identity explorations charted through social media chatter have created heat maps of the things we care most about, these are then turned into data sets for corporations to craft into forward facing public philosophies; even as they continue to produce waste and plastics and pollution and consume more resources than they can justify with their economic return, ultimately driving us towards extinction. We have valued the earth so low and valued our toys so high. I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore. [gnashes teeth... tears at hair]
- No. Barbie, the movie, subverts corporate intention and Gerwig used the system to speak to itself. Also, it’s fun and sweet. You don’t have to be didactic dick about everything, you know. Also, everyone made a ton of money. I would like to make lots of money on the backs of the rest of humanity too. So, in conclusion, no.
- So what. God is obviously a capitalist. That’s why I’m a satanist.
3. If the Failure of the Second Wave was Blindness to Intersectionality, Will the Failure of the Fourth Wave be Blindness to the Deep Integration of Corporate Messaging?
- Yes. No liberation movement can exist alongside Capitalism. Humanism, naturalism, and liberalism are antithetical to capitalism. The concept of constant economic growth is synonymous with consumer and worker enslavement. We were lied to when we were told capitalism was the economy of democracy. It is, as has been proven again and again, the economy of authoritarianism. Activist advertising like the Barbie movie is inimical to fourth-wave feminism.
- No. People know what’s up. In fact, awareness of systemic corporatism is a huge aspect of the Fourth Wave. Also, it’s okay to have fun at a big colorful bombastic movie with amazing production design and lots of attractive people wearing amazing clothes. And expensive entertainment has always been bankrolled by problematic institutions. That’s why we have spectacle in the first place. To legitimize problematic institutions... waaaaait... that’s not right... is that right?
- So what. Politics is downstream from culture, to quote The Breitbart Doctrine... which made me throw up in my mouth a little.
4. The Movie is too Preachy. It’s Busy Being Doctrinal as it Showcases Speech After Speech. Couldn’t it Have Just Shown What it Wanted to get Across Instead of Being a Pedagogic Exercise in the Guise of Entertainment?
- Yes. I am mad at Barbie for saying too many obvious important things. I don’t like to be told obvious important things. And what is obvious to me is obvious to everyone. Only I can say obvious important things, because everyone wants to hear what I have to say. Because I'm a man. Let me play my guitar at you.
- No. This movie is for all kinds of women, and a lot of them are young girls who may not have been exposed to some of this rhetoric. In general, subtlety is the domain of the mature, let the young frolic in the fields of the "overly implied" while their prefrontal cortexes are still scorching with growth. I think it’s awesome.
- So what. The last line is funny and loaded with lots of meaning about growing up and taking ownership of your body. Besides, the culture was lost long before this. You’re an ape throwing stones at the monolith from 2001. Go home and try to be happy.