Interesting Ideas

Bad News for Barbie

Star Trek Barbie equals Cannon fodder

Star Trek BarbieDid the marketing genius who came up with this charming bit of corporate synergy -- Barbie and Ken join Starfleet -- consider the implications?

Anyone who has seen more than a few Star Trek episodes can't help but foresee the outcome of this vignette, which puts a glamorous (if not exactly beautiful) Starfleet gal and a studly young officer -- neither regular crew members -- on the bridge with Spock and Captain Kirk. It's a scenario repeated in countless episodes: Kirk will bag the babe, the new guy will die.

If Ken is one of the lucky ones, he might attain a higher level of consciousness through some alien transmogrification. For the first time in his existence, he will lead the examined life (as my friend Al Kammen put it). Then Kirk will kill him.

That may or may not be a worse fate than adding to the galaxy's load of Kirk-sired orphans -- Barbie's future if she is fortunate. The alternatives for characters in her predicament are a stunted life encased in bitterness (for those the captain spurns) or a painful shared end with Ken at the hands of the ubermensch Kirk.

In this context, Barbie and Ken clearly are cannon fodder.

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