Jimmy Kimmel Live, fast becoming Leonid Brezhnev’s never-realized dream of a Soviet Tonight Show, just put out a high-effort gag called “Anti-Vax Barbie.” It’s impressively on-message:
The skit begins with jazzy VO: “There’s a new doll in town and the fun is contagious. It’s Anti-Vax Barbie! She’s STRONG. She’s INDEPENDENT. She doesn’t trust SCIENCE!”
In a shirt reading, I CALL MY OWN SHOTS, Barbie drawls, “Bill Gates is the Antichrist!” The doll even “comes with a computer so she can do her own research!” (We see Barbie typing and twanging, “Sez here Moderna turns yer teeth Jewish!”). When you take Anti-Vax Barbie shopping, she attacks the cashier who demands she wear a mask, while another Barbie in a shirt reading PFIZER TELLS LIEZERS films the besieged worker and yells, “I’m reporting you, bitch, you’re going to jail!”
You can also take Barbie “to the stables,” where she’ll chug ivermectin! Moreover, the only “man-date” this Barbie cares about is “with her proud boyfriend Ken,” who wears a “Let’s Go Brandon” tee and can’t hear his Barbie-pal — the one dressed in JOHNSON AND JOHNSON IS SATAN AND SATAN shirt — because he’s listening to Alex Jones tell him the truth about monoclonal antibodies. The kicker is a hoot:
Exclusively sold in Florida and Kentucky! Barbie dream ventilator sold separately!
Mocking the hayseeds is always fun, but what a bonus, when you can jack off some of TV’s biggest advertisers at the same time!
Kimmel’s riff came as Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik ran a piece entitled, “Mocking anti-vaxxers’ COVID deaths is ghoulish, yes — but may be necessary.” The priceless part about Hiltzik’s column: he makes a whole range of arguments about why mockery may be “necessary,” but never gets around to saying that laughing at dead anti-vaxxers is actually funny. These people have such shit instincts for humor, they can only embrace it as political necessity. They’re like Putinites who have to chant, “Remember the mammoths!” to get young people to have sex.
The spectacle of posh celebs sneering at hicks who won’t take the jab has been compelling theater for a while now, especially since the smartypants act has often come packaged in outrageous errors. Whether it’s MSNBC’s Joy Ann Reid suggesting horse paste eaters clogging emergency rooms in Oklahoma be stuck at the back of the line for leaving “gunshot victims” untreated (there were no gunshot victims, the story turned out to be bunk), or Goldman analyst-turned-CNN-anchor Erin Burnett joining imperious colleagues Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, Bakari Sellers, Jim Acosta, and industry mascot Brian Stelter in blasting Joe Rogan for taking a drug “intended for livestock” (Rogan’s human ivermectin dose was prescribed by a doctor), or even Joe Biden announcing he was mandating vaccines for health care workers so you can have “certainty” they can’t “spread it to you” (they can still spread it to you), the endless campaign of maladroit scolding almost seems designed to make fence-sitters refuse the shot out of spite, confusion, or both.
While the shame campaign has been a catastrophe as public health strategy, it has been effective as aristocratic misdirection, a way to keep the public’s eyes off the vault. Maybe that’s what it’s for.
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