Tota mulier in… the Market

[Author’s Note: “To say anyone expected the kind of reaction to Camille Paglia’s The Hollywood Reporter article on Taylor Swift to be as big of a hit in the nation as it was would probably be disingenuous at best. But the now famous ‘Nazi Barbie’ article captured the country’s attention and fueled one of the hugest commercial successes ever.

Shortly after its publication, I was commissioned to do a story on the two about their thoughts and reactions. My story never ran. But it just seems like, considering all that has transpired, it’s a damn shame it never saw the light of day. So I’ve included the unfinished work below. Enjoy!”]

“Nazi Barbie: A Success Story”

    On a Tuesday evening I headed to the concert. I was given VIP access and allowed to park in the employee’s lot of the venue. It was a pretty large arena, one I never had seen any musician perform in before, only sports teams. Some fifteen thousands people were amassing outside the doors ready to see the blonde success story take stage that night. Taylor Swift was on the back-half of her tour. It was hard to state whether this was the height of this country-turned-pop star’s vertiginous career, or just another notch on her way to some other dimension of fame and fortune. Young fans clung to their favorite Taylor Swift albums, in their Taylor Swift T-shirts, at the merchandizing booths located all over the arena where they could purchase more albums (available in both CD-discs and vinyl), more T-shirts, Taylor Swift backpacks, posters, Keds, smart phone cases, custom sunglasses, candle sticks, picture frames, towels, Christmas stockings, bracelets, notepads, coffee mugs, and they could carry it all away in their very own Taylor Swift tote bags. In an atmosphere of endless conspicuous consumption of one person, it was hard to imagine anyone could possibly put a dent in this pop culture deity. Yet there I was to interview her about something some critic her fans didn’t even know existed (and probably wouldn’t until she acknowledged her) wrote about her in the entertainment industry’s (at times) third-most popular trade magazine. It seemed so silly, but that was journalism in the entertainment business.

    I was invited to watch the show from backstage. I barely paid attention, mostly checking my phone for football scores and if anyone said anything  about me on Twitter or Facebook. The crowd went exceptionally crazy at one moment when Taylor welcomed Drake and Chris Brown onto the stage during her performance of some song I had never heard before in its entirety. The production that went behind doing a single show was fucking mesmerizing. The level of labor that went into the two-hour show alone was dumbfounding. I could only imagine how much money I could have made off the VIP pass I was wearing around my neck (I mean, someone had to make this thing, too. It was customized, with gold lettering and little holograms and whatnot. Unbelievable.). I probably could have walked away with more than what I was commissioned to do for the interviews and called it a night. But something about integrity, or whatever, denied me that lucrative opportunity and I instead found myself in Taylor’s private room underneath the arena.

    Her manager took me back there before the encore, instructing me I only had a few minutes with her. “She’s very busy, and this tour is really taking a lot out of her. They always do, but she’s doing more shows than she’s ever done before.” I nodded my head, unmoved. “So just be as quick as you can. And no ‘gotcha’ bullshit please. I don’t want to have Security have to throw you out. Ya dig?” I nodded again. He opened the door to her room and let me sit on the couch near her seat in front of the large vanity mirror. “So just sit here and I’ll get her to see you soon. She’ll be there,” he said pointing to the chair. “Definitely don’t sit there when she comes in. That’d be rude. Don’t be rude.” He paused for a moment as if to reflect on his owns words. Then: “Please don’t be an asshole about any of this. Cool?” I flashed a thumbs-up. He left.

    Her table was crammed with every kind of bouquet I could imagine. A few acoustic guitars were leaning against the wall opposite me. A picture of what I could only assume were her parents and a younger Taylor was taped to the mirror. An entire case of Mountain Valley Spring Water was just underneath the table, unopened. Atop was an array of various beauty potions to keep her looks perpetually coeval. One in particular that caught my eye was an “FDA-approved” jar of pink and white hydrous substance that had some unpronounceable medical name to it. It looked like another anti-aging cream. Under the “Ingredients” section were more stupefying parlance, except one term I was able to make out properly: “manatee fetuses.” I almost dropped the jar when the door opened. I collapsed on the couch as Taylor and her manager came in. “OK. So like ten minutes tops, like I said.” I nodded.

    Taylor shook my hand and said hello, asking to be excused for her uncouth appearance due to her perspiration. I tried to set her at ease. After exchanging a few brief pleasantries, we got down to brass tacks.

Me

So by now, of course, you’ve heard about or read The Hollywood Reporter opinion piece. I’m sure you don’t really want to talk about it anymore–

Taylor Swift

And yet, here you are.

Me

Here I am. Have you given this a lot of thought? Do you care to share for the readers? Or do these types of criticisms not get to you?

TS

Well. I have given it a considerable amount of thought, actually. More so than probably justified. I mean I am trying to expand my art in different ways, too. I did just bring Drake and Chris Brown together on stage tonight. I think that was pretty powerful. The fans really seemed to respond to them coming together. I think that’s important for the music community, the fans, and society as a whole. I’m trying to use my music as a medium to bring about positive change in the world. So when I hear, and then read, about this critique of #GirlSquad, it bothers me a little. So, yeah. I’ve been thinking about it.

Me

And what have you concluded? Do you care to share that?

TS

Hmm… I’m still trying to work it out my thoughts in a cogent manner. This tour is kinda taking it out of me, intellectually–you know? It’s hard to try and wrap my head around things with this kind of schedule. But I suppose, to be short, I disagree.

Me

How so? How do you see #GirlSquad as a positive force for feminism?

TS

Well, it’s like this. I brought Drake and Chris Brown together on stage tonight so they could perform Kendrick [Lamar’s] portion on [“Bad Blood”]. And I thought that was particularly moving. When you consider the circumstances in which drove both guys to really be at each other’s throats over Rihanna (whom I adore), and then later Karrueche Tran, two guys fighting over two women. It’s just tired gender roles playing out there. Did you ever get a chance to read Gokova on gender stereotypes and the importance of breaking down those barriers?

Me

No.

TS

I was very moved by it. Especially when considering he wrote it in part to help men and women in Zimbabwe combat the horrifying HIV/AIDs epidemic that was ravaging the country. It’s a wonderful short piece. I’ll send it to you. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. So like, branching off Gokova, here this guy is talking about the importance for men to understand gender issues are simply not a battlefront for women alone. And that, on top of the oppression of women that patriarchy affords, it ultimately deprives men of their humanity, even though they are often the short-term beneficiaries of it. I mean, there was more to it, but that’s the gist. That men need to realize the negative impact they are suffering from as a result, too. I then I read this stuff between the two guys and I was like: “C’mon.” Right? So bringing them into the #GirlSquad, so to speak, was a big move. And I guess I just don’t understand what detractors have against that.

Me

OK. So do you think the crowd really got all that?

TS

How do you mean?

Me

I mean, that’s a particularly deep reading of two bros hugging it out tepidly on stage next to these fans’ idol.

TS

I don’t know if I’m their idol.

Me

OK, but you’re someone to these little girls–

TS

Boys, too.

Me

Sure. But mostly girls.

TS

Eh. I don’t know. But OK, whatever, go on.

Me

Right. Well… I suppose I’m wondering do you really think little tweens are going to understand the significance? Or… is it really as significant as you want it to be? I mean. This isn’t the “Jamaica Smiles” concert. You’re not Bob Marley standing on stage uniting the leaders of the JLP and PNP.

TS

I never claimed that. That’s on you.

Me

But you do think uniting Drake and Chris Brown on stage in front of a bunch of kids is going to stand as a larger representation of overcoming patriarchy?

TS

Yeah. Why not?

Me

Because twelve-year-olds aren’t reading Gokova.

TS

Doesn’t matter. They are seeing the moment happen before them. They see the representation of uniting over pettiness. That’s going to speak to them. I can’t, in the middle of my act, just bust out Mainardi and Goldman for them and explain the intricacies and permutations of sexism inherent in the system. They didn’t come for that. They came for “Mean” and “22” and all that. Not to be lectured about feminist theory. So, if I can drag out people and shed a positive light, however small the moment is, that acts as a contradiction to the horrid apparatus they’re subjected to on a daily basis–because they are. If young boys and girls see two grown-ass men get on stage and embrace and stand in front of them and acknowledge what they were fighting over (women) was stupid and primeval, then maybe they can return to their schools and recognize the pettiness they are either being subjected to or perpetuating in their lives. That’s what #GirlSquad is all about. That’s why I bring people out on stage. And share about my friendships on Tumblr, Instagram, and Twitter and all that. It’s about promoting a community. That’s why I brought Drake and Chris out tonight, and had them sing together on “Bad Blood.” Like, hello? The song’s called “Bad Blood” and here two guys who don’t like each other and getting together to share this moment, and embrace. They are overcoming a moment. And those fans are going to see that, and that’s going to resinate with them.

Me

But didn’t you write “Bad Blood” about Katy Perry?

TS

Oh Gawd. No. No that’s not true. I’m sick of hearing that.

Me

Sorry. Another woman then?

TS

Whatever. I wouldn’t read too much into that song, OK? It’s pop. It’s supposed to be enjoyed, consumed. Don’t read too much into it.

Me

But… that’s kinda the point. You want kids to read into the embracing and the hanging out with celebrity friends, and see those moments in a larger context of promoting equality… but then not see the picayune songs in anything other than their confectionary quality, disregarding elements of pettiness and anxiety over falling in line with a popularity culture and reductive gender roles. I think, in part, that’s what Paglia was driving at. That these moments are so facile, mockable they end up only adding to a counterproductive, or self-defeating, or confused narrative.

TS

Hmm. I guess I just don’t see it that way.

Me

How do you see it then?

TS

#GirlSquad is about equality. At least in the sense that I’m trying to show positive female relationships in a very toxic atmosphere. And it’s no different from the things Paglia was championing in her piece. I mean… “Girl Power” is a better representation of women’s rights than #GirlSquad? Fuck. Off. [The] Spice Girls were made up in some British boardroom for fuckssake. At least I came up with this. She wants to call me bourgeois for communicating my message through social media platforms, but she’s writing in The Hollywood Reporter. [Exhales in disbelief] She thinks I’m effeminizing the word “Squad”… what about Nazi Barbie then? What about claiming I’ve lost my solidarity with other women because I’m no longer pumping out kids and cleaning up around the house with all the other seraglios. That’s not an effeminate approach to viewing our society and gender roles? So, like, I’m a bad guy because I take some selfies with Blake Lively, and other gals… and that’s adding to the anxiety and isolationism of women in the country… but saying we should try and reunite to a period in time that formed the origins of our subjugation… and like that will help end our suffering? What the hell? The community of women was constructed as a direct result of our exclusion from patriarchal society, only to allow us to be used when it was deemed fitting by the male bourgeois community… I mean, have you read Gerda Lerner’s The Creation of Patriarchy? Shit, I mean even Engels was writing about this back then… if he could grasp this, how is it that Paglia is totally ignorant of it? That we should be studying male bonding techniques and learn from them… because they “…have escaped the sexual jealousy, emotionalism and spiteful turf wars…” that women have not. Are you fucking kidding me?! I just pulled two jack-offs on stage to show how dumb they’ve been for pissing all over one another because they both nutted on the same girls. Kanye disparaging Amber Rose because she wasn’t as classy as Kim K[ardashian]? Please. PLEASE. Nazi Barbie… what a fucking asshole.

Is it a cursory agitprop I’m doing? Sure. Guilty. I mean the contradictions abound, man. I don’t know how you want me to account for all of them. I mean this is the stuff that just eats me up. It’s easy to shit on hope, man. It’s really fucking easy. Maybe I am guilty of being glib. But I don’t think so. So what? I like taking photos with girls, and trying to promote a very simple message of sorority and fraternity. I’m trying to combat petty mean girl mentalities–the exact kind of bullshit Paglia is guilty of. [In a bad nasally impression] Taylor Swift is taking a cliquey approach to empowering women and helping the cause. That’s gross. I don’t like that. Let’s call her a Nazi Barbie. Are you out of your mind? I really just don’t get it. I don’t get how I’m guilty of backsliding women into cattiness and thwarting the movement, but she calls me a fucking Nazi Barbie and claims we should model ourselves off of men and harken back to the days when we were mid-wives and second-class citizens and somehow she’s the voice of reason here? Are you fucking kidding me? Why? Because she’s not “dumb” Taylor Swift? Because she has a column in The Hollywood Reporter? Because she’s been spouting this bullshit for so long?

What’s her beef? What’s her justification? Sure, they’re perfectly attractive women and have spent endless hours with scores of beauty teams to help perfect their looks so they can fit inside a mold that ultimately satisfies that tingle in every guy’s pants, and engenders further reductive labeling and expectations for little girls and what not. I get it. I really do. We’re all entrenched in this system, though. It’s like Earth to fucking Camille: you’re not living outside the system, pal! None of us are. So if I try to make the most simplest of optimistic gestures by corralling some other flawless celebrity babes to join my cause of #GirlSquad, to help women out there try to band together, then what’s the problem, right? Why am I the bad guy?

Me

I’m not sure Paglia was saying it quite like that.

TS

Did you read the damn article?

Me

Yes.

TS

Well then you know I’m not misreading it.

Me

But… I don’t know. I guess I’m at a loss. If you understand all this, if you understand the crisis you and others suffer and the contradictions that set you and others back, and how difficult all those are to break through… then… why not do a little more with the #GirlSquad? Why not have intellectuals, or regular everyday women and girls, more men, all contributing to your idea, why not do that rather than parade out celebrities on stage or in photos without any context other than the nebulous #GirlSquad label attached to it? You haven’t really defined what #GirlSquad is. It could totally be what you are saying right now and no one would be the wiser. Or most wouldn’t. Certainly not your tween fans. Wouldn’t it be better to just put it all out on the line? Say what you’re really trying to get after? I mean, what are you afraid of? Losing contracts, people’s perception of you? What’s the significance of #GirlSquad if it’s just going to be so limited?

    Taylor’s physiognomy was pensive. She thought about her next words. In seconds, though, Swift’s manager entered the room. My time was up. Taylor smiled and thanked me for coming out to the show and talking to her about the subject. I thanked her for her time.

***

    Meanwhile, in the sleepy town of El Segundo, at the headquarters of Mattel a board of directors were plotting the next new hit of their young girls’ toy line: the Nazi Barbie collection. Based off the excitement generated from the THR article, the board felt they could capitalize off the buzz. Nazi Barbie came equipped with some of the most well-tailored outfits ranging from black to red to white and had some undeniably attractive accessories: a Luger 9mm, Storm Trooper helmet, a mansion in the Bavarian Alps, a remote control Volkswagen convertible,  personal Reichsadler flag, an easy-bake oven, buttons with the Parteiadler and SS death head insignia, and much, much more! Almost as effect as all the accessories was the storyline that accompanied Nazi Barbie. Thirty-six individualized “paths” were available for any little girl who played the freemium online and app-based games Mattel provided. All the stories ended with Nazi Barbie throwing a successful (of course) Nazi Party where all the inhabitants (especially the incredibly handsome Herr Ken) congratulated Nazi Barbie.

    The Nazi Barbie became uncontrollably popular. It took hold of the imaginations of little girls across the nation. It was by far the most popular Barbie product Mattel had sold in decades. It doubled the corporation’s stock. Camille sued, claiming copyright infringement. Mattel countersued, and eventually a settlement was reached outside of the court. No store could contain the doll or its products on the shelves for more than 24 hours. Mattel trucks were attacked in the middle of the night on the side of interstates or rest stops. Congress passed an emergency bill that allowed Mattel truck drivers to carry armed weapons with them at all times and were authorized to use lethal force on anyone who threatened the safety of the property.

    American Girl tried to benefit from the craze, too, with their own special brand of American Nazi Girl dolls. No one seemed as enthused about little girl dolls based off Fritz Kuhn, George Lincoln Rockwell, Henry Ford, and Charles Lindbergh, though.

    The success and proliferation of the Nazi Barbie toys was for all intents and purposes a huge and total commercial success. However, it did not go without its unpleasantries. Just before Mattel started shipping the doll to Canada, England, Germany, India, China, South Africa, Australia for test runs before international release, reports from all over the country were coming in about little girls being admitted to treatment centers because of their addiction to playing the freemium games, some took out loans from the Barbie Bank and now were as high as thirty thousand dollars in debt, others spent away their parents’ life savings, a few attempted armed robbery. More were allegedly getting sick from what their parents claimed were noxious gases coming from the Volkswagens, but when they ran the Barbie Smog-Check accessory (priced at $60) for the car the results always came back “Super-Positive!” In Kansas, a little faction of fourth graders defected from their class and began invading schools around the district, crying out something about “living space” as they busted into rooms and raided the cupboards and lockers for more Nazi Barbie outfits and bauble, once stabbing a teacher with a weaponized protractor (she survived her wounds). In Illinois, girls with American Nazi Girl dolls found their toys strung by the neck in the bathroom. The violence to the American Nazi Girl dolls was rampant. Some were found with burnt hair and melted heads, others dismembered. At one school in Mississippi, several girls found their dolls out back behind the school buried in a shallow grave with tiny bullet holes in the dolls’ backs. Girls started bleaching their hair without adult supervision leading to chemical burns and loss of hair. One article told the story of a little girl in West Virginia who tried to soak her entire body in bleach in order to be: “as pure as Frau Barbie.” In fact girls from every state were being hospitalized for trying to perfect themselves to the standards of Nazi Barbie. Tweens were found huddled in the corner of their rooms, strung out on tiny Nazi Barbie medicine cocktails, haunted by the image of their beloved.

***

    I reached out to Camille Paglia to speak about Taylor Swift’s comments and the recent success of the Nazi Barbie. Her publicist informed me she was very busy working on the script for Nazi Barbie: The Movie and wouldn’t be able to talk for very long. We spoke over the phone. After a quick congratulations, she thanked me and began telling me about the difficulties of writing a screenplay for the film. That her work was continuously sent back because the studio and Mattel wanted her to stick to the storyboards and character bios the toy corporation’s room of writers created, and that (if she was unable to comply with their vision) they could always get Christina Hoff Sommers to finish the script for them. So she was under a very tight deadline. “If it wasn’t for these manatee embryos, I’d hate to imagine what that might look like.” I thanked her for her time and summarized what Swift had to say.

Camille Paglia

She said all that?

Me

Yes

CP

Wow. I’ll admit. I’m a little more disappointed than before.

Me

Why’s that?

CP

It’s is abundantly clear to me that Taylor is suffering from the conventional feminist view point on a lot of things. I mean Mainardi, really? I knew Patty, we used to romp back in the seventies. She’s such a goddamn whiney prude. That’s a role model for her? No wonder she’s setting a bad example for everyone else.

Me

So you don’t think Swift has any point?

CP

Of course not. You see. I’m rock ‘n’ roll. She’s pop. She’s going to follow the simplest forms and methods and get by spewing that back out to the masses in the most obnoxious and superficial fashion imaginable. I’m rock ‘n’ roll. I play by different rules. That’s why I rub her the wrong way. I’m Led Zeppelin. She’s… Barbara Streisand. Get it?

Me

Well couldn’t you say that Led Zeppelin is pretty mainstream?

CP

Well… maybe now. But if you think about them at the time, no. You’re young. You’ll learn. I’m totally on a different level playing field than Taylor. Are you kidding me? Hello? Let’s get it together here. She read some books on whatever and thinks she’s knows some shit. Oh wow! Another person in their twenties who thinks they know it all. Get out of here with that crap.

Me

OK, but I think she makes two interesting points I’d like to talk to you about: 1) that you state in the article that feminists, or more precisely women feminists?, are too quick to blame men for their own faults and that women should admire and base their relationships off of male companionships, but she feels as though that is a form of idolizing the very structures that led to women’s plight in the first place; and 2) that you are just as guilty of superficial feminism and pettiness by labeling her a Nazi Barbie. That might all be rock ‘n’ roll, but it really doesn’t address her points. Care to discuss?

CP

You’re probably a huge Taylor Swift fan, aren’t you?

Me

Actually, I’m more of a Katy Perry guy, myself.

CP

Figures.

Me

How so?

CP

Come on. Don’t play dumb with me. It’s OK. I don’t care. You’ve got a dick. It’s all right. It’s like that one Rammstein song… how does it go? I love that song: [Singing in a bad German accent] “I’ve got dick-a, you’ve got a pussay. So what’s the problem?” Isn’t that how it goes?

Me

Uh… yeah, something like that.

CP

What’s the problem, big boy? You don’t like a little rock ‘n’ roll? Don’t worry, I’m not trying to fuck you over the phone. I’m too old and too gay anyway. But I’m not like these awful prigs you’ll come across at NOW.

Me

Uh… I love rock ‘n’ roll. I just don’t think you’re answering the questions at hand.

CP

What were they again?

Me

Let’s just start with the first one: do you not see a problem with telling women they should behave more like men, or male culture?

CP

I didn’t say that. I didn’t write that. That’s not true. You need to get your facts straight.

Me

But in the article you are stating the importance of female bonding is necessary because women have abandoned the old social structures that were in play which formed their communities, and now they are at the mercy of the “paparazzi culture” and “hypersexualization” and the “piranha shoals of the industry” but don’t you agree that the system in which all three of these areas exist is the same that forced them into their communities in the first place? Just a different manifestation of patriarchal society in which women are objectified and harassed by their male peers and scrutinized by females who try to hold themselves to these same standards. That is to say: don’t you think the problem is that women are comparing themselves to the male culture, which is what leads to their anxiety, their loneliness is directly impacted by “male malice.”

CP

Oh man. Another fucking moral Crusader. No. It’s not a guy’s fault that Taylor Swift pals around with other impossibly beautiful women, taking pictures, acting like little girls, sticking their tongues out and blowing kisses, and wearing all those hot, tight clothes, with their tits mashed together, legs and midriffs flashing, asses and vag’s nearly visible, all like something you’d find in a million different porn flicks. Projecting these images all over social media and so forth, isolating and making little girls that look nothing like that feel even more excluded and vulnerable. It’s not your fault Taylor Swift is doing this and making these girls feel like shit. Why are you defending her?

Me

Well if you want to take a sample of one, then I agree. I’m not the sole problem. But Swift isn’t doing that necessarily either. Those images are being utilized by the market, a market that is gearing particularly to males and which understands women will have no choice but to follow along with, it’s just a highly complicated form of fetishism of the female body, utilized and marketed to the appetites of male culture. You’re just sitting on the opposite end of the contradiction.

CP

Yeah. The winning side. Look. If you want to be a self-hating male, go right ahead. If Taylor Swift really wants to make a difference for women, especially young girls, maybe she should stop taking meretricious selfies and making cutesy, tootsy smiley faces and goofy looks and try to change the fucking world. She’s part of the problem.

Me

But aren’t you, too?

CP

Excuse me? I don’t have time for this bullshit.

Me

But you acknowledge the problems of inequality and the objectification of women in contemporary society, and yet you are claiming that the construct (or those who benefit directly from it) has no responsibility, but the burden of change rests on the shoulders of those who suffer. You’re not blaming the victim here? How can a society which is the cause for women’s alienation, the one that creates the callous paparazzi culture and renders the female body merely a tool for further exploitation not be at least partly responsible?

CP

Well men can be thrown into the meat grinder, too.

Me

Sure.

CP

Well then there you have it. Males are just as vulnerable to the market as women. So why in the hell is it their fault? Why can’t women work together and get past the sexualized market system?

Me

Because the market is devised to benefit men, not women. Sure, sometimes men become vulnerable, too. That’s not being disputed here. What’s being disputed is whether or not it is fair to hold women to a standard that disregards factors that add up to the disparity they deal with. Couldn’t the loss of solidarity women feel today be just as likely due to advancements of technology that lead to a “socialized” autonomy in which everyone is focused on themselves through the “sharing” market? Everyone can share their pictures, opinions, even labor time, they can all become friends with anyone in the most remote sense with the click of a button. Couldn’t that mixed with a further expanding neoliberal political economy, libertine social atmosphere, and all the while a continued industry that panders to the most basic impulses of men, couldn’t all of that contribute to the isolation and fear women feel in society? Isn’t that completely out of Taylor Swift’s control?

CP

It’s not her fault! Fuck. But she and all her other gal pals need to understand that they need to push past the superficial dilettantism they are promoting with their absurd social media bourgeois bullshit! It’s all bullshit. They aren’t doing anything to help the cause in any genuine, sustainable fashion. Fuck. Can’t you get that? How is liking a photo on Instagram going to combat the paparazzi culture? It just enables the fucking people to want more, you just cut out the middlemen in that instance. That’s about it. But that’s not enough. Why can’t you get that? Why is that so hard? She is supporting a jejune point-of-view that says [in a poorly constructed Valley-Girl Taylor Swift voice]: Look at me doing this little cutesy thing with this other Amazonian goddess, aren’t we cool? Isn’t this just like the coolest? Feminism, y’all! We’re fighting the totems of oppression one selfie at a time! Are you joking? Come on. Get real. She leaves her point void by virtue of this crude, thoughtless act.

Me

Isn’t that exactly what you did with the Nazi Barbie comment, though?

CP

Oh give me a break! It was a 1000-word opinion piece and everyone picked up and ran with two goddamned words. Two! Out of a thousand.

Me

Yeah, but your larger point was lost by the fact that everyone honed in on Nazi Barbie. Any point you were making, no matter how partially valid, got lost by that incredibly facile, offhand comment. Swift might be guilty of promoting silly publicity campaigns to better improve her career and ultimately not be aiding the women’s movement. But so are you.

CP
I’m not going to sit hear and get lectured by some lame, stupid self-hating popinjay. You don’t get it. I’m rock ‘n’ roll. I’m rock ‘n’ roll, and you’re easy-listening crooner bullshit. You just don’t get it. Come out of your shell and join me in the chaos, baby.

    And then she hung up.

***

    I walked out of the theater. It was dark, and cold, snow began to fall as evident in the thin layer coating the ground. So I pulled up my collar and zipped my jacket. The marquee shined in glorious purple, pink, and yellow neon. The black text read against the florescent white: NAZI BARBIE: THE MOVIE.

It wasn’t as bad as everyone was saying. The Rotten Tomatoes score was hovering around 14%. The plot was indecipherable, something about an evil group of “Party Poopers” trying to stop Nazi Barbie and her friends from throwing the greatest Nazi Party that could have ever been had. At least there were some character motivations, but each scene really seemed to set up another shameless corporate shill. I wanted to think about it all properly, but it was late and I was tired.

All I managed was to recall what I saw in the credits: Directed by Michael Bay. Written by Camille Paglia. “Bad Blood” by Taylor Swift.