The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 1:21 pm Tuesday, September 5, 2023

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Out of the Box

By:  E. Bishop

In a dark recessed corner of the attic sits a little pink playhouse filled with little pink furniture and a pink Grand Cherokee with a beautiful brunette at the wheel along with many other Barbies from my youngest daughter’s childhood (she’s 33).  Why is it so hard to part with these things?  I did sell my oldest daughter’s Barbies for $20.00 at a yard sale many years ago, even the ones where her cousin had bitten off all of the earrings and cut their hair (sorry Weird Barbie).  All the money spent on buying every Barbie (and  all accessories) probably would have paid at least a year’s college tuition.  But, you know, I don’t regret it a bit.  Children need this fun, creative, independent, fantasy imagination to help in their development.  So, my Barbie loving daughters and I had to go see the new movie.

Barbie’s official birthday is March 9, 1959.  Her creator, Ruth Handler, was fascinated by the way her children, Barbara and Kenneth, imagined dolls as their older selves.  She intended Barbie to be a positive influence to let girls imagine themselves as something besides being a mother.  Ruth has stated “Barbie always represented the fact that a woman had choices.”  But, then Ken had to come into the picture also.

The movie begins with all the women being the perfect Barbies and all the Kens being perfect Kens with some exceptions (like Allan) in a candy coated pink world.  You can feel a sense of nostalgia; you can believe in magic again. That is, until the Stereotypical Barbie experiences a crisis and has to leave her perfect little pink world for reality.  She realizes being human is pretty uncomfortable.  If you’ve never been around the Barbie phenomenon, you would miss out on some of the attention to detail and nuances performed in the movie that will make you laugh, maybe cry and keep you engaged.  There are unexpected twists, heartwarming moments, satire and valuable life lessons with the running theme of self-discovery, friendships and embracing one’s true identity.

The movie provides fodder for thoughtful conversation.  With 90% of American girls aged 3 to 10 owning at least one Barbie, with critics saying Barbie has unrealistic physical proportions that will give young girls real body issues and at the same time telling them they can be anything they want to be….maybe adults should just leave it to the children to decide.  After all, by the time our children reach 12 to 13 years of age, they are beginning to see the real world soon enough.  Let them play.

Some of our favorite quotes from the movie —  “one is never, not ever, too old to play with dolls,” “Be a liberated man. I know crying’s not weak.” by Ken, “To be honest, when I found out the patriarchy wasn’t about horses, I lost interest anyways.” also by Ken.   A review by the New York Times speaks volumes -“However, politically sharp…an unpleasant reminder of all the profoundly unfunny ways in which this world, with its visible and invisible hands, tries to control women, putting them into little boxes.”  As my daughter stated, it’s definitely like an exaggerated narrative around the patriarchy.  They flipped it on its head through the way Barbie Land works to show how ridiculous it is that men hold the majority of the power in our society.   

The real world is scary and bewilders Stereotypical Barbie, but she figures it out.  She will never be put back in the box!   Never!!!    

The Scottish Crown Jewels

By Linda H. Barnette

As a lifetime lover of history, I was fascinated when King Charles and Queen Camilla were crowned in a regal ceremony in Westminster Abbey.

Yet another historic event took place on July 5 at St. Gibs Cathedral when the royals were presented with the Scottish crown jewels, known as the Honours of Scotland. King Charles was presented with the Scottish crown, the scepter, and the Sword of State. Only Prince William and Princess Katherine and the Princess Royal, the king’s sister, and members of the Scottish parliament attended.

These jewels are some of the oldest remaining crown jewels in the United Kingdom, and the world for that matter. And their history is very interesting.

After the death of Charles I in 1649, and Cromwell’s destruction of the British crown jewels, the Scottish people proclaimed Charles I’s son as king. Therefore, the Scottish Honours were taken from Edinburgh Castle to the Castle of Dunnottar, where the jewels were ordinarily kept.

Then in 1650 the jewels were taken to Scone Palace, the ancient site where Scottish kings were crowned. Charles II was provided king of Scotland, England, France, and Ireland. That was the last time the crown was ever worn, and Charles was the last king ever crowned in Scotland.

During the turbulent years when Cromwell and many others were against the monarchy and because of the fear that he might steal the jewels, the wife of the officer in charge of Dunnottar devised a plan with the wife of a local minister to hide the jewels.

The lady, Mrs. Grainger, took her maid to the shore at the bottom of the cliff where the castle stood, and a huge basket holding the regalia was lowered to her. Once the jewels were at Rev. Grainger’s church, he took up one of the flagstones in front of the pulpit and hid the crown and scepter there and hid the sword in another spot in the church.

When the monarchy was restored in England, the regalia were finally returned to Edinburg Castle. When England and Scotland were united in 1707, the Scottish Honours were locked away in the castle and forgotten about.

It took years of research by Sir Walter Scott before the regalia were discovered 111 years after they were locked away. In 1818 the Honours were presented to George IV in much the same way they were presented to his grandson last month.

Source: Only Natural Diamonds and Wikipedia