Listen now (87 mins) | I’ve posted a two part review of Barbie on Twitter, and a review of Oppenheimer. As I explain in the Oppenheimer review, it feels wrong to pair them, given the transcendent importance of that film and the silliness of its “rival.” That being said, Rob and I have been thinking about both, and we’re here to entertain you, so we’re discussing them together. My Oppenheimer review nonetheless makes it clear that if you’re going to see one film, it should be that one. Here’s an excerpt.
Regarding the skepticism about the portrayal of Kitty Oppenheimer's testimony at the hearing, note that many (maybe most) of her lines were taken almost verbatim from the actual transcript. She wasn't just a housewife: She had a degree from the University of Pennsylvania and was doing graduate work at UCLA when she met Robert Oppenheimer.
See the beginning of this document, especially pages 18-23 here: https://www.osti.gov/includes/opennet/includes/Oppenheimer%20hearings/Vol%20XI%20Oppenheimer.pdf
From another session of the hearing, page 27-28: https://www.osti.gov/includes/opennet/includes/Oppenheimer%20hearings/Vol%20XVII%20Oppenheimer.pdf
The discussion around 40-45min made me think of old 4chan /fit/ memes about high testosterone men preferring more cushion, as you put it. Hanania confirmed high T.
The Barbie movie sounds like nothing new. In the social narrative propagated by progressives, the most valuable thing a person can do is self-identify as a victim. The second most valuable thing is to adopt an identity as an activist on behalf of some victim group (and the more creative the imagined catagory of victimhood the better). It should be noted that victims of circumstance (eg people born with disabilities, etc.) are not very noteworthy. The victims of social attitudes are the holy grail because those victims require there to be oppressors. And the unspoken agenda of the whole movement is hate, blame, division. And they’re firing on all cylinders.
Don't you think that Oppenheimer is anti-woman? The women in it are temptresses, substance abusers, distractions, mentally unstable, and one is a terrible mother. There's only one female scientist and her biggest line is talking about female reproductive organs. that's kind of messed up, right?
I think Barbie was an ok movie. It made me laugh. I enjoyed the spectacle.
I agree that the feminism felt very old, the kind of things people thought me in the 90ies. It didn't spoil much for me since it was so juvenile, which kind of fitted the movie.
I think the movie had too many threads, and too many scenes that were ok individually but didn't harmonize when put together. Biggest sinner was the executives going to Barbieland. What was the point of this plot thread again? The ending didn't connect with the rest of the movie. What was the point of the Kens fighting, but then becoming friends again through the power of friendship and something, leaving us back were we started? All of these felt like great ideas for scenes ("Mattel having a heart-shaped board!", "Deep existential ending!", "Giant Ken beach fight!") that were just woven into the movie without a foundation in the main plot. Kill your darlings would have been more appropriate.
I think the biggest strength of the movie is that it poses some interesting questions:
1. What if there was a society where women did everything important and the men were all unimportant?
2. What if a person was just a side character in someone else's story?
3. What is patriarchy? How was it introduced? How can we end it?
4. How does society function without sex? Without violence? How does a person who doesn't care for sex or relationships find meaning?
5. What is femininity? What is a powerful women?
But then the metaphors are butchered and we get the most boring, vanilla, politically correct aesops:
1. Barbieland declares that there will be equality (eventually)! (But wait: isn’t the point of Barbieland that Barbie is in charge? Isn’t the Kens inferior by design?)
2. Ken should find himself! (But wait: Isn’t the point of Ken to complement Barbie?)
3. Patriarchy just happened by magic, and it’ll stop when women realizes that men are putting conflicting demands on them (the "double bind" suppression technique, so 90ies!). (But wait, haven’t we moved beyond 90ies pop feminism? At least the horse symbolism was nice.)
4. Nah, we’ll just do the setup and then don’t mention it again.
5. A powerful women is just like a man. The only people who are feminine are Kens.
It feels like there's a good movie hiding somewhere in it, if it just had dared to explore it's metaphors a bit more. I'll go watch the Shapiro review now and see if it has some insight. EDIT: I agree with Shapiro's painpoints but I still found the movie largely enjoyable.
I am a Gen z woman whose friend group is almost entirely made up of women who have been brainwashed into this nonsensical iteration of feminism. My friends that saw Barbieland (I haven’t) said they were disappointed with it, but couldn’t articulate why. It’s interesting to witness people be let down by their own reductive worldview, yet unable to conclude that it might be because such worldview is wrong. I guess that’s the power of ideology. It would be entertaining if this belief system wasn’t so destructive.
And except for the Barbie with the suspiciously large Adam’s apple, trans ideology wasn’t part of the film. That was refreshing.
I saw it with my daughter. There were about 300 others there, mostly young females. I was the one who laughed the most and sometimes I was the only one doing so in the theatre.
I can’t imagine a potential sequence being a success because it seems like the film did not appeal to the kids.
Some of the feminist stuff must have been tongue-in-cheek or self-deprecating unless American feminists are on another planet. One of the moralizing speeches included a line something like “we should not have to pretend to be bad at sports just to please men” 😂
It seemed like only the patriarchs knew how to have fun. I wish there were 10x more montages of the bros boring it up.
Barbie could be heavy-handed at times, especially when it leaned into an outdated feminism (I couldn't help but feel that the all-male Mattel board was something of a parody of the melodramatic pretenses of contemporary feminism, but maybe I'm being generous), yet the film was robustly entertaining. It was funny throughout and sincere.
Please just give up your written opinion of the movies and or your opinion about Henderson’s opinion. Don’t make up listen to a conversation..
I seem to recall that you once wrote that some anti-abortion religious conservatives seem to hate women. I don’t know if protecting children (that’s how they see it) means they hate women, but try talking with some feminists about the stark difference in workplace fatalities between men and women. I’m sure some care but I’ll bet many are indifferent because they think women are somehow worse off overall. It’s kind of like they hate men.