27 October, 2011

My Barbie Idea Is Better

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those only of the author and may only coincidentally reflect those of Mystic Metals, its employees, or associates. All responses should be posted as comments here, or mailed directly to the author, A. Robert Basile, at ihatebasile@gmail.com.
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My Barbie Idea Is Better
Here’s a gig story. You kids who know me well will appreciate this. We’re at a casino gig (you guys know how much I love those), and at the five minute warning before the next set was to begin, I’m sitting on my stool tuning my bass and filling my mouth with Double Bubble bubble gum. Can’t play without it, and in a three set night, I chew about forty pieces on stage. The stage was one of those behind the bar stages, and from within the bar, I hear one of my singers and friends Marquis (whom I call Q) call my name. I put my bass down and wind my way back stage to where he is standing, surrounded by attractive girls (as usual). He asks me, after gathering the attention of one of the drunk slut types, “Yo, what about these shoes?” The girl points her foot toward me. I look at the shoe, touch the shoe, look at the girl, look at Q giggling in anticipation and say, “These are fucking horrendous. What’s with the zipper? That’s awful. Five minutes, guys.” And then I walk away to a chorus of Q laughing. The girl and her companions didn’t stay for the next set. Oops.
So, I feel as if I’ve written this story before, and if I were a good journalist or writer or whatever the hell I claim to be, I’d go and look; but this is blog number 321. I’m not rereading all those blogs. But I’ve gotten some emails from you kids about this particular story, so we’re going to talk about it. Feel free to send me story ideas, by the way, and I’ll write for you. (ihatebasile@gmail.com) Put ‘blog idea’ in the subject line.
A person named Simone Lengo designed a Barbie. Ms. Lengo is an artist (who isn’t) and designer of a line of clothing called Tokidoki, which is inspired by Japanese art and style. And she designed a Barbie with these clothes. How… uninteresting. What is interesting is that the Barbie that Ms. Lengo slapped together is an alt culture, mod culture kind of thing. Pink hair, skull and crossbones clothes, leopard tights, and of course tattoos. The doll was intended for collectors with its limited production run and $50 price tag. Is that a lot for a Barbie? I’ll go check. I just checked. They’re somewhere between $20 and $40. Useless information.
Anyway, as to be expected, there are parent groups who think a Barbie with modifications is an outrage. One even came out to Mattel, maker of the Barbie, in saying that the doll is “sending out an inappropriate message.” Another great mother quote I found was, “Whatever will they bring out next? Drug-addict Barbie? Alcoholic Barbie?”
Let’s get into it. There are a couple of things here. First, there’s the idea that someone is cashing checks on our culture by knowingly utilizing a style that stirs the shit pot and garnering the attention that is to be expected. If Mattel didn’t think that a modded Barbie would get press then they are an idiotic company. That doesn’t so much grate me. There are all kinds of assholes cashing checks on the back of our beautiful culture. We should get over that because it’s not going away; isn’t that right, unmodded guy in an Ed Hardy sweatshirt?
Another idea is that the culture, through unmodded glasses, has a tendency to be tethered to elements of other cultures that in no way reflect the points of view of the modded culture at all. What do I mean by that. This modified Barbie has leopard skin tights. The knee-jerk response to clothing like that speaks to an attitude and a culture in which the modified community doesn’t necessarily participate. The skull and crossbones shirt. There’s an often clear unmodified view of those of us entrenched in the culture that we are preferential to the macabre. The skulls and darkness and evil boo creepy horror blargle bleegle. Not always true, unfortunately. We all know those very positive, very energetic, loving life individuals with beautiful sleeves and jewelry in their skins. Right, Alana? (Alana, if you don’t come to the gig on Saturday, we’re no longer friends, by the way.)
But those two examples are picking at knits, or some other sort of detail oriented behavior. The real issue is the insinuation of the characteristics that a child may acquire from playing with a doll who has tattooed sleeves. There are plenty of ways that a Barbie doll can corrupt a young girl (or boy, to be sociologically just, I suppose). Exposing the child to modification is not corruption. Exposing the child to modification at a young age normalizes the modifications as a choice that adults make. It is akin to exposing the child at an early age to other forms of culture and society that may be outside of the child’s everyday reality. Jewish culture, black culture, homosexual culture, even old world customs of people who enjoy their heritage such as Italian, Irish, Asian and Mexican customs and behaviors. Similarly to when I was very little and I’d watch the Saturday horror movie on Fox 29 after the Phillies’ game, my mother never abruptly stopped me. She never frightened me with the ‘what are you doing’ speech or the ‘you shouldn’t be doing this’ speech. She let me watch, and then later, we talked about what I saw. She never used it as a tool to scold or scare. She used it as a tool to teach that other people do different things. We in the modified community are those other people doing different things, but the lynchpin is that we are just like everyone else. Any parent or uptight individual with a ‘protect children in a steel box from all things I don’t like’ cause is neglecting the other attributes that makes diversity a beautiful thing.
Which brings us to the cunt that thinks the natural progression of a modified Barbie is drug and alcohol abuse. You left out a natural progression to a prostitution, terrorism, Republican (we Republicans are awful people, aren’t we), homeless, teen pregnant, starving actress, artist, bad dental hygiene, irritating accent, and neglector of feeding the pet goldfish Barbie. Let me give a special message to that parent who would rather put her kids in an iron mask than to expose them to alt behaviors: Firstly, you’re a cocksucker. Secondly, I have been clean and sober for over ten years. Yes, I smoke (Monster!), yes a eat like crap (Demon!), yes my caffeine intake is unreasonable (Heathen!); but I do not take street drugs, I do not drink alcohol, I do not break the law, save that $60 parking ticket I just payed to Philadelphia. I’ve never been arrested, I’ve never knocked a girl up, I’ve never participated in a fight I started. I bring my girlfriend flowers nearly every week. I hug my mother. I pick my friends up from places at four in the morning when they are in trouble. I pray. I read the Bible. I hold doors for people who are much more able than I am. I yield to pedestrians. Sometimes, very rarely though, I smile at babies. I’m a good man. My modifications do not encourage me to smoke junk, drink booze, fuck whores, punch hobos, worship Satan, or any other miscreant behavior that your little cunt mind has invented as part of our beautiful and varied culture. Your accusations that the natural progression of a modified Barbie to become a junkie or an alcoholic is unreasonable, misinformed, judgmental, and wrong. Were my thought pattern as myopic, narrow, and socially inebriated as yours, I’d jump more quickly to the impressions that the unrealistic proportioned Barbie are feeding your little girl. Anorexia is a much more difficult characteristic to deal with than body modifications. Trust me on that one.
My Barbie idea is this: Uptight Liberal Ban Everything Under The Guise Of Protecting Children Barbie. She wears high waisted Jordash jeans, a sweater with some sort of domesticated animal on it (or dolphin), Croc shoes, costume jewelry, and a giant purse in which she can fit her water bottle, cell phone she doesn’t pay for, wallet with credit cards under her husband’s name, and lip gloss. Can’t forget the lip gloss. She comes with a picket sign that is a dry erase board so that whatever conservative policy is happening, mom can instruct her kid to write a clever slogan that her kids don’t understand, and remember the days of sit-ins and jungle war and civil rights and dropping acid. She’ll also come with a Jefferson Airplane cassette tape and a ‘Hope and Change’ bumper sticker. That way, mom can put her bumper sticker on the van next to the stick figure family window cling, and pop in the Jefferson Airplane tape and remember sitting in the mud, filthy, unshaven and high on whatever her friends Meadow and Truth just passed her and remark about how it was a different time then. All the while, the child playing with the Barbie is happily watching a Disney Pixar DVD in the back seat, as ignorant as an oyster following a piping walrus to anything different than what is just beyond the tinted van window. That’s my Barbie idea. At least it’ll keep all those damned kids from exploring their bodies in a heathy and safe way. Because when mom’s little angel is in her freshman year of college at that first frat party, I’m sure she won’t drink too much shitty keg beer in a dingy basement, and I’m sure she’ll keep her pussy in her pants because of how well you’ve taught her about people who think differently than you do. Stay beautiful, kids.

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