Accidentally went to see Barbie on Friday. There are many great things about it:

  1. Visuals! Barbieland is a mood ehnancer. It’s beautiful and made with love. The costumes are great, the houses are great, the colors are great – I might just re-watch the first Barbieland morning in slow motion when it’s available on video. And the dolphins! And the camper van!
  2. Mattel marketing done just right – I particularly liked the CEO saying (while roller skating) that he went into this business because he cares about little girls and their dreams in the most non-sexual way possible. Having Ruth Handler describe herself as an old lady with tax evasion issues was also very clever. My favorite was the scene where the Mattel executives chased Barbie through a cubicle hellscape – seriously chef’s kiss. They managed to let Mattel (as a company) be villains BUT leave the audience feeling good about Mattel. That must have been unimaginably difficult and I can only shudder at the thought of the meetings.
  3. Main speech about how hard it is to be a woman that cares about societal expectations or just has to deal with them. It made me cry. It also made me realize that I care more about societal expectations than I thought I did, and I need to start watching for this more carefully.

What I did not like:

  1. The horrible ending given out as an almost-happy one. At the end Kens are still homeless, with neither constitutional rights nor jobs (but there may be a couple of lower-court judges at some point). The weird Barbie gets a job as a minister of Sanitation by her own choice. Of course, it may just be her being weird and not self-sabotaging, because Barbieland has no need for sanitation.
  2. Cliched idea of men as incapable and abusive by default. Sexism is still sexism when it’s about men.

These things spoiled the movie for me, lovely as it is. Bzzz, however, says that if it makes someone drop a toxic boyfriend or review their demands of themselves that’s enough. We just aren’t the target audience.


Realized that I forgot to note finishing The Hobbit with kids. It was amazing. This time no one was traumatized, and everyone had fun. To celebrate, here’s my favorite poem on the subject, by Elena Mikhalkova.

Good Things This Week

  • I have a really comfortable reading place on the veranda again
  • Victoria Goddard published yet another novella and it’s NOT about making Cliopher Mdang OR Jemis Greenwing Even More Happy And Victorious (not that I’m not eager to find out what amazing things will happen to Cliopher Mdang next)
  • Saw the Anselm Kiefer retrospective at SF MOMA again, this time without kids, with a good friend, and using their audio guide. It’s really hard to look away from his paintings, I keep coming back to them and seeing them in my mind’s eye.
  • Saw Gerhard Richter again (because it’s the same exhibition, yes) – the way he makes oils look like pastels is uncannily beautiful and absolutely mind-blowing in all of the very diverse ways he painted.
  • Had a really good conversation
  • Got started on the craft station. Turns out it’s a whole-family project, which somehow makes it less stressful and more fun. Also, there’s that warm and fuzzy feeling of being supported 🙂
  • Started watching Fall of Civilizations: Han Dynasty by Older Kid’s request. They took notes! It’s really interesting. Will probably listen to the other episodes on Spotify – the video is nice, but I’m a text person.
  • Have I mentioned SF MOMA? Really amazing exhibit on furniture (mainly chairs, a few lamps, very few peculiar objects).
  • Made a super-quick chicken soup that Older Kid actually ate, which is great, because they were sick and didn’t want to eat. Feeling Parentally Accomplished.
  • Singing teacher claims I have a wide and unexplored range. This is going to be fun. Turns out learning things is my hobby – who knew I even had one?
  • Showed kids Oscar. They laughed.