I know what you did to Barbie, Plus, meteorite hunting.

Due to the biggest movie marketing onslaught in recent memory, the Barbie movie may be setting off Oppenheimeresque explosions in your unconscious as you remember your childhood experiences with the world’s most popular doll. Perhaps these memories are also stirring up some guilt or shame because of the way you treated Barbie. One of Barbie’s catchphrases was, “Anything is possible as long as I try.” Well, you tried everything, from head removal to romance simulation to roasting her over an open flame to forcing her to watch unspeakable acts involving GI Joe’s Kung Fu grip. Consider yourself absolved of all these transgressions and for turning Barbie’s Dreamhouse into a house of horrors. Everyone did bad things to Barbie, including the cast of the movie that now bears her hame. Constance Grady in Vox with a walk (and a sock) down memory lane. The long history of kids decapitating their Barbies and making them kiss. “Barbie was for ripping apart and putting inexpertly back together. She was for removing heads and limbs. She was for microwaving. She was for chopping off her doll hair. She was for doll orgies. She was an ersatz body whose purpose was to allow her owner room for experimentation.” Kate McKinnon explains, “I witnessed my sister and her friends do some stuff with those Barbies, and I think we all did.” Issa Rae is more blunt (as in blunt force): “It was a tool of aggression, too. My sister had a My Size Barbie, and I don’t know what it was, maybe because it was close to our size, but we f-cked that Barbie up.” (This is why I always preferred Stretch Armstrong. The whole point of the product was to stretch him to the point of serious injury. He even came with repair instructions. Alas, every attempt to make a Stretch Armstrong movie was abandoned prior to production, but if the Barbie movie does as well as expected, maybe there’s still hope.)


Mad Props

“By the end of my stay, I had turned from a happy-go-lucky novelist into a squeaking gerbil of a man, psychologically compromised and barely sure of what constituted reality. Now, slightly more than eight years later, I have decided to replicate this experiment.” For the The Atlantic, Gary Shteyngart fully immersed himself in Putin’s propaganda and Watched Russian Television for Five Days Straight. Donating your body to fake news is the new donating your body to science.


Still Hazy After All These Years

Times change. But hazing doesn’t seem to. It often goes too far, and it’s often sexual in nature. “Northwestern fired longtime football coach Pat Fitzgerald after a university investigation found allegations of hazing by 11 current or former players, including ‘forced participation, nudity and sexualized acts of a degrading nature.’ Fitzgerald, who was reportedly making more than $5 million per year, was let go after he was initially given a two-week suspension.” AP: Hazing remains ingrained in team sports and experts say they see increase in sexualized attacks.


The ‘Rite Stuff

From WSJ (Gift Article): Meteorite Hunters Chase Riches Falling From the Sky. “When Roberto Vargas got an alert that a meteorite had exploded above Junction City, Ga., he knew he had to move fast. He immediately booked a flight from Connecticut and was airborne within hours. He found a piece of the meteorite within minutes of parking his rental car in the area where fragments had landed. Some of what he found sold for $100 a gram. Vargas, 38 years old, said he is one of roughly 15 people in the U.S. pursuing an unusual vocation: professional or semiprofessional meteorite hunter.” (There’s probably no worse profession to tell your parents you’re going into than Meteorite Hunting. Well, except newsletter writing…)


Extra, Extra

Do Mo Harm: “Casiano was one of three women who gave dramatic testimony about their pregnancies in a hushed and spellbound courtroom in the case brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights. The case, on behalf of 13 patients and two doctors, argues that the medical exceptions to Texas’ laws are unclear and unworkable for doctors in ways that harm patients.” Denied abortion for a doomed pregnancy, she tells Texas court: ‘There was no mercy.’ From CNN: Nearly two years after Texas’ six-week abortion ban, more infants are dying. And, Blue-state doctors launch abortion pill pipeline into states with bans.

+ Local Anesthesia Disaster: “The plant produces anesthesia and other drugs as well as nearly 25% of all sterile injectable medications used in U.S. hospitals.” Tornado damages Pfizer plant in North Carolina, will ‘likely lead to long-term shortages’ of medicine.

+ What Could Possibly Go Wrong? “Some executives who saw Google’s pitch described it as unsettling, asking not to be identified discussing a confidential matter. Two people said it seemed to take for granted the effort that went into producing accurate and artful news stories.” NYT: Google Tests A.I. Tool That Is Able to Write News Articles. Also, the NYC subway is using AI to track fare evasion. (At least bring back subway tokens as digital currency…)

+ Leonard Spots: “It was not apparent at the time, but the rush of favorable content was part of a coordinated and sophisticated public relations campaign to defend and celebrate Thomas.” WaPo: Influential activist Leonard Leo helped fund media campaign lionizing Clarence Thomas. (Has any single person had more of an influence on modern American politics than Leonard Leo?)

+ Cardinal Sin: Stanford president resigns over manipulated research, will retract at least three papers. The news was broken by the school newspaper.

+ It’s in the Cards: “The 27-year-old Japanese trading card franchise has exploded in popularity in recent years, leading to frenzied fans, collectors and Pokémon card players fighting for the best cards.” Pokémon fever once again grips fans around the world.


Bottom of the News

Norwegian Pearl Necklace? “The 11-day excursion, dubbed the 2025 Big Nude Boat on NCL’s Norwegian Pearl, will depart Miami on February 3, 2025. Stops include Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Castries, St. Lucia.” A nude cruise is coming to Miami. Better pack extra sunscreen if you plan to go. (As long as I don’t have to do the nude cruise to Alaska…)

+ This is insane in the brain: Cypress Hill: Tiny Desk Concert.

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