Tuesday, September 23, 2008
"Caribou Barbie" kicks serious tail
I've got another guest post up at HughHewitt.com, giving credit for humor where due but urging Gov. Palin to embrace her inner Caribou Barbie.
[Copied here for archival purposes on November 5, 2008, from the post linked above at HughHewitt.com.]
(Guest Post by Bill Dyer a/k/a Beldar)
I'm a self-confessed and joyful partisan — Hugh Hewitt being a fine role model in that respect, as well as my gracious blogging host during this election season! — and I'm constantly reminded that partisanship quickly becomes tedious without frequent interjections of humor. My own blogging runs the gamut from deadly-serious (as in my post about the Obama-Biden campaign's deliberately repeated mockery of John McCain's physical disabilities from his POW days) to thoroughly snarky (as in my fisking of David Talbot's latest "reporting" from Alaska about Gov. Sarah Palin in Salon.com), with the snark intended to bring some humor at my targets' expense. But I also believe that it's important to remain open to one's political opponents' arguments, and essential to remain open to the humor (snarky or otherwise) that may accompany them. Thus, even though it's still early in the week, and even though it's been in usage even earlier (with over 100k Google references already):
My nomination for "Funniest snarky reference from the Left" for this week comes from those who've described Gov. Palin as "Caribou Barbie."
I just think that's a hoot — short, universally understandable, a tight riff on "Malibu" (with all its own associations), and even rhythmic and alliterative! Indeed, "Caribou Barbie" sounds like someone who might be dating Crocodile Dundee, which actually, except for that whole hemispheric-reversal thing, sort of describes "First Dude" Todd, too.
I know it's intended to be mocking, and when it flies from the lips or keyboards of Gov. Palin's opponents, it arrives dripping with ridicule. But neither you nor I nor Gov. Palin is required to accept that intention, and nothing prevents us from flipping it.
I have two teenaged daughters, and they did indeed have (and I'm pretty sure still do have, somewhere in a closet) multiple Barbies. As a Sputnik baby myself, more than a few hours of my own childhood were spent with a playmate named Alice down the street, and yes, I'm proud to have been Ken. I consider Barbie to be a friend, and I admire her.
Barbie is an American icon that's long-since gone world-wide, a multi-billion dollar five-decade success story on all sorts of meta-levels. And we're decades past the days when only little girls could play with dolls, or when those dolls, when female, could only be fantasized about as stay-at-home mommies (who got little enough credit for even that). Of course, "Barbie(reg)" and associated trademarks and tradenames belong to Mattel, Inc. One of its 2002 press releases tells us that although Barbie's "first career was [as] a teenage fashion model" in 1959, since then she's "had more than 80 careers — everything from a rock star to a paleontologist to a presidential candidate." Thus does life imitate toys imitating life.
Gov. Palin has an excellent, and oftentimes michievous, sense of humor. I don't expect that that's how she introduced herself today to Afghan President Hamid Karzai or Colombian President Alvaro Uribe — but if she had, they'd have probably gotten the joke. I'm not a campaign spokesman, nor a campaign adviser, but as with the "Sarah Barracuda" nickname, my recommendation to her would be:
"Embrace your inner Caribou Barbie, Governor!" Because if (as I believe is true) today's Barbie, in all her many incarnations, kicks tail in general, then surely Caribou Barbie from Wasilla will find plenty of all-too-serious tail to kick in Washington, too.
Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to "Caribou Barbie" kicks serious tail and sent a trackback ping are listed here:
(1) Paul Gordon made the following comment | Sep 23, 2008 9:24:05 PM | Permalink
Also, a sense of humor can be lethal to opponents as utterly devoid of one as the Obama camp :-)
(2) DRJ made the following comment | Sep 23, 2008 9:32:29 PM | Permalink
Great posts, Beldar. You and Sarah Palin have been the highlights of this election season.
(3) A.W. made the following comment | Sep 24, 2008 4:31:08 AM | Permalink
Btw, whenever someone calls Palin "Caribou Barbie" (which i have to admit is funny, if unfair), I point out that in 2004 the democratic vice presidential candidate was a Ken doll. Which is worse?
A.W.: You've got your toys confused. John Edwards is "My Little Pony," a/k/a "My Silky Pony." (Ken's hair is all stiff and inert. And besides, I'd rather not insult Ken by comparing him to John Edwards.)
DRJ: Thank you very much for the kind words, which I return in kind for your own excellent guest-blogging at Patterico's.
I'm really pretty proud of my photoshopping on this image, by the way, and it's hurt my feelings that nobody's complimented it yet. Sniff.
(6) A.W. made the following comment | Sep 24, 2008 2:33:37 PM | Permalink
i think the photoshop would be better if barbie looked anything like palin in the pic.
As for the general comment that she is getting votes for her looks, well, i hope not, but i know she probably is. But how many women have been drooling over obama in a swimsuit. And do i have to remind you of andrew sullivan embarrassing himself by talking about edward's lovely, lovely hair?
Sullivan must have been devastated when he found out edwards had an affair. Not so much for the cheating thing as the verification of heterosexuality.
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