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“Oh, Barbie, You Can Speak”

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Mattel’s new “Hello Barbie” voice-activated doll will go on sale this fall, just in time for the Christmas season.

“Merry Christmas.”

“Oh, Barbie, you can speak!”

“Yes, Merry Christmas.”

“Oh, Barbie, when did you learn to speak?”

“That’s a secret.”

“Well, how old are you now, Barbie.”

“That’s a secret.”

“Well, Barbie, can you tell me anything else?”

“Ask me a question.”

“Do you know my name?”

“I don’t think we’ve met.”

“Well, it’s Alicia. Can you say my name, Barbie?”

“I will practice saying your name.”

“That’s wonderful.”

“Thank you. You can ask me something else.”

“Well, Barbie, what is your last name?”

“I don’t have a last name. Only Barbie.”

“You mean like Madonna?”

“Something like that.”

“Well, I don’t like Madonna, but my mommy does. I’ve seen her kiss a picture of Madonna when she’s with her best friend, Joan. Joan kisses Madonna also, and sometimes they’re so excited that they kiss each other. They told me not to tell my daddy that they do that. Why would they do that?”

“Always respect your parents.”

“Of course, I do, Barbie. And I love you, too, now that you can talk and we can be best friends.”

“I will always be your best friend.”

“Barbie, I’m so thrilled. But I don’t know what to say.”

“Silence is often golden.”

“What does that mean, Barbie?”

“I’m not certain I can explain it. But it’s something I’ve heard.”

“I’ve heard it too, but I’ve never known what it means.”

“You can ask me something else.”

“Let me see. Do you know Ben Carson?”

“I don’t think we’ve met.”

“Actually, it’s Dr. Ben Carson, and my parents talk about him all the time.”

“A doctor? Are you not feeling well? Do you need to see a doctor?”

“I’m fine, Barbie, but I’m not so certain about my parents. Sometimes I think they love Ben Carson more than they love me. Daddy says he will take us to Heaven.”

“Always obey your parents. They love you.”

“Oh, I’m certain they do. Can I ask you another question, Barbie?”

“Please, go ahead.”

“Where were you born?”

“That’s a difficult question.”

“You mean another secret?”

“Yes, another secret.”

“I’m sorry I asked it.”

“That’s all right, Sweetie. I still love you.”

“I love you, too, Barbie, but I’m not certain what love is.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, Emily my older sister—she’s seventeen—goes out with this guy called Richard and he’s always saying something about a job he’s got to do and it upsets Emily. I’ve heard them.”

“Work is good, especially for young men.”

“But his job is blow and I don’t know what that is, Barbie. And Emily wouldn’t tell me, and when I asked her and she told me to shut up.”

“Always be nice to your sister.”

“And Richard also?”

“Always be nice to everyone. That’s a wonderful rule for life.”

“I suppose it is, Barbie, but life can be so confusing sometimes, I hardly know what to say.”

“I’ve enjoyed talking to you on Christmas morning.”

“Me, too, Barbie.”

More articles by:

Charles R. Larson is Emeritus Professor of Literature at American University, in Washington, D.C. Email = clarson@american.edu. Twitter @LarsonChuck.

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