“Get out! Get out of here and never come back!” shrieked an enraged Barbie, as she hurled a tiny bedroom slipper in my direction. The dainty missile careened off an itty-bitty bust of Ken, then shattered the frame that held a photo of Barbie’s best friend, Midge. “Take your Gay Pride and shove it!”
Barbie’s entire Malibu Dreamhouse shook and threatened to cave in on itself as the diminutive lass slammed my nose in the door. This doll was mad, but I couldn’t help it; I was just doing my job.
Me? I’m a crackerjack reporter for Gay City News. My editor had just given me “one more chance” to turn in a story on Gay Pride that was “upbeat” and “gay-positive,” and not “another of your infernal, politically correct diatribes against the U.S. corporate war machine.”
My assignment: To come up with a breezy, vapid piece of queer-friendly consumerist claptrap hawking Gay Pride, in 45 minutes, or be fired. I had to work fast — no matter how many hearts I broke. I was in a dither.
Then I remembered Barbie and her Malibu Dreamhouse. I had purchased the set — $156.98 at Toys R Us — as a present for a campy, shopaholic gay male friend (if I ever found one). I took Barbie and her Dreamhouse out of my closet. Maybe, I thought, the pert little minx could provide an upbeat, gay-positive perspective.
Leering journalistically into her upstairs bedroom, I peeped Barbie at her dressing table. There she sat in a negligee, quaffing a wee can of Diet Coke.
WAIT — isn’t Diet Coke a “Platinum” sponsor of New York City’s Heritage of Pride? WOW! Whatta scoop!
“Hey, doll!” I called, inserting my nose-for-news through her window. “Since you obviously don’t need to lose weight, you must be drinking Diet Coke to support Gay Pride, right? My, your Dreamhouse is so pink — isn’t that an upbeat, gay-positive color? Here, let me fix your strap for you. . .”
In a playful response to my barrage of hard-hitting questions, Barbie tried to stab my finger with her cuticle scissors. Then she said something that was shockingly non-upbeat.
“Don’t you know the Coke Company is bankrolling Gay Pride so the LGBT community will forget last winter, when Coke sponsored the Olympic Games in Sochi?” Barbie asked, taking a large swig of the brown bubbly. “Coke said absolutely nothing about Russia‘s ‘gay propaganda’ law. Nothing about queers threatened with prison or having their children taken away –“
“Whoa there, honey,” I countered. “This story will never ‘trend’ online if you’re such a Gloomy Gus. Look on the bright side — Corporate America doesn’t hate us anymore! Things Go Better With Queers!”
Barbie stifled a belch. “Fine, have your Pride,” she said resignedly. “Just know that your so-called sexual orientation now depends for its validation on another planet-destroying multinational. The Coke Company expropriates drinking water in India and kills union leaders in Colombia. And don’t get me started on some of those other Pride sponsors. Wells Fargo: Major financial supporter of U.S. immigration detention centers. TD Bank: More than $15 billion invested in the Alberta tar sands project. HSBC: Ginormous fines for laundering drug cartel money. . .”
This reporter was beginning to get a whole new sense of why Barbie might like pink so much. But I couldn’t let her Marxist rhetoric poison my upbeat, gay-positive journalism with hideous, hideous facts.
“If the Coca-Cola Company and other major corporate entities want to recognize queer people as human,” I rebutted adroitly, “then I think we should return the favor and regard these corporations as people — maybe even queer people. In fact, I have every reason to believe that Wells Fargo is gay. I am, therefore, proud to identify with Wells Fargo, and not a bunch of heterosexual detainees. In fact, I suspect that any corporate or human entity with a net worth of at least $65 billion is probably gay. Bill Gates, $78 billion: gay. Vladimir Putin, $70 billion: gay. Betty Crocker does it with Sara Lee. Trump Tower is hot for the Chrysler Building.”
I began humming and snapping my fingers. “Come on, Barbie, sing it with me! I’d like to teach the world to sing . . .”
Barbie only stared vacantly into the bleak, aluminum opening of her Coke can.
“I’m drinking this bilge in hopes that the aspartame will kill me,” she said hollowly. “It’s useless.”
“Oh Barbie,” I started to say, “nothing’s useless in an upbeat story about Gay Pride –” But she cut me off.
“You see, I’m in love. Deeply in love with Chelsea Manning.”
This reporter tried to wrap this reporter’s mind around Barbie’s shocking confession. Chelsea Manning — really?
Chelsea Manning who, as 23-year-old Army private Bradley Manning, gave classified data to the whistleblower website Wikileaks, stunning the world with over 700,000 instances of heretofore unknown U.S. diplomatic malfeasance and war crimes? Chelsea Manning who, facing a 35-year sentence in the brutal hopelessness of prison, dares to transition from male to female? What did Chelsea Manning have to do with Gay Pride?
Obviously, nothing. So I asked the only question that I, as an upbeat, gay-positive reporter, could think of.
“Gee, Barbie — does this mean you’re a lesbian?”
That’s when the commie dyke kicked me out.
Fair enough, I thought: Plastic is as plastic does. Besides, I had only three minutes until my deadline, and no time to care. So I kicked Barbie’s Malibu Dreamhouse back into my closet, slammed the door, and ended this piece.
Susie Day is a writer.