Today in bad ideas: West Virginia state lawmaker Jeff Eldridge has introduced a bill to ban Barbie. (Only days before her 50th birthday on March 9, no less. The nerve!) The claim is that "such toys influence girls to place too much importance on physical beauty, at the expense of their intellectual and emotional development."
Hmm, something tells me Eldridge is not enjoying the third season of "Rock of Love." Look, most of us have mixed feelings about Barbie -- or had mothers who had mixed feelings about Barbies, or enjoyed classes in which we vigorously debated all possible angles of our culture's mixed feelings on Barbies. In short: We've been down this road, and we have the college credit to show for it. But Mr. Eldridge, I respectfully remind you that our economy is in the crapper. This is what you came up with?
The truth is, half a century after her introduction, Barbie is in a heated bid for relevance. Witness today's story (linked in Salon's 5 Things) about "Totally Stylin' Tattoos" Barbie, who comes with her own tattoo stickers and tattoo gun. (Whiff of desperation sold separately. ) But lest you parents get too outraged, there was also an Angela Merkel Barbie released not long ago. We girls can do anything.