MR WRONG: Ken you believe this crappy Barbie opinion?


MR WRONG: Ken you believe this crappy Barbie opinion?
Ana Cruz Kayne, Margot Robbie, Alexandra Shipp, Sharon Rooney, Hari Nef, and Emma Mackey in Barbie (2023)

MR WRONG: I Was Having a Swell Day Until I Read Pamela Paul

HOW ARE YOU doing? Are you OK? Myself, I can’t tell anymore, personally, like, I think things are bad, but I’m an Optimist, so even if it it’s not going really good at the moment, in a Micro (me) or Macro (the Planet) sense, I always think things are going to get better, so if somebody asks me “How’s it goin’” I do the math of bad-to-but-no-it’s-gonna-get-better and then go with the Net Result and usually I say “Great!” or even “Swell!” Unironically, though, I’m not kidding, things are good, I am Above Ground and Drawing Breath, and being asked a general question—even if it is perfunctory and asked without any interest in the Answer—about my Well-being almost always inspires me to Reflect, and there’s almost always some serious Gratitude in that reflection. I’m being serious as a Heart Attack, which I have not had, and so that’s another one in the “Great!” column, in terms of how my day is going or how I am going, which is also Great, as I explained last week, flying colors, going really Great! Thank you for asking, and even if you didn’t ask, I hope you are having some Greatness, no pressure.

It’s like, even if stuff is not getting better, I think there’s still a chance, so it’s that Sunken Cost Fallacy thing except it’s not Money, it’s what, like, what am I spending on my Optimism, or what am I spending my Optimism on, if it’s not spending Dollars? I can’t figure any downside to pouring Optimism into things, but that might just be on account of my Brain Chemistry, I don’t have a Method. Maybe I should make up one, eh? Then I could write a book about it, My Method for Having a Swell Day, har! I would definitely also have some Recipes in there, that’s one thing about having a Good, Great, or Swell day, having some sorta nice Food Item to look forward to. I think my Literary Agent would say to hold off on the Recipes, because that’s a whole other book, gotta think long-view about the Publishing, right?

Look, I gotta admit, I am having a good day, but I got a little bit angry this morning, and being Angry is not a good ingredient for having a Great day, I think, so I need to process my anger, and lucky for me, I have a column to file!

Generally I do not use my column-space to complain very much about other columns, but today I sunk my Optimism Costs and clicked on this lame-ass column by Pamela Paul, in the New York Times. Pamela Paul, like me, is a Columnist, and needed to write a column, so the whole recent Barbie thing became the inspiration, the fact that the director Greta Gerwig and the actor Margot Robbie didn’t get Academy Award nominations for being a director or an actor in the Barbie movie. This kinda stuff happens almost every year with the Academy Awards, there’s always some sorta rip-off, seriously, if it’s not somebody getting overlooked for a prize, it’s somebody getting overlooked for being dead, like the other year when Paul Sorvino didn’t get recognized for having a Movie Career worthy of being on the reel of People Who Died that they run every year during the Oscars show. Dude was in Goodfellas, jeez, a very big picture, he def. ranks as a Hollywood person recognized by The Academy just for being in that flick, plus, he was in The Cooler, a great movie!

Anyway, this Pamela Paul person decides to take a big shit on the Barbie movie and be edgy and write a movie review, good timing, Pamela Paul, errbody was wondering what you thought about the Barbie movie! It really made me kinda angry, when Pamela Paul said out of the 10 pictures that got nominated for an Oscar for being a Best Picture, that Barbie was not “actually good.” This is some deliberate and lame construction of a premise for a column, just like, pick up a Contrarian take and then construct a buncha writing around it as if it’s rational thought, and then it’s all built up in your belief system. Plus, lean on a professional shit-taker to say that you’re not the only one who thought a movie was bad. Pamela Paul goes on to type that the people who liked the Barbie movie and got excited about it are maniacs.

For those who hailed it, there was a manic quality to the “Barbie” enthusiasm, less an “I enjoyed” and more of an “I endorse.” How fabulous its consumer-friendly politics, its I-can’t-believe-they-let-us-do-this micro-subversions, its prepackaged combo of gentle satire and you-go-girl gumption.

So in addition to reviewing the movie, Pamela Paul is reviewing the millions of Americans who enjoyed the movie! This is a pathology, seriously, you gotta fill some space in a high-profile newspaper, so you manufacture an unpopular opinion and defend your contrarian thesis with ad hominem attacks on anybody who would disagree before they even hear your dopey argument, very fucked up. It’s like some sorta weirdo reverse sour grapes shit! Pamela Paul also said “the movie was boring,” and “no plot to follow in any real or pretend world,” and now I gotta wonder like, how much of the fucking movie did Pamela Paul actually watch, or maybe more like, how did Pamela Paul watch this movie, like, on the couch on a fucking phone while looking at other stuff, just like “Well I gotta watch this whole boring movie, or at least say I watched it so I can shit on it politically,” you know?

I saw the Barbie movie when it was new, in a movie theater, and I didn’t dress up or do anything to get psyched for it. I straight-up was blown away by how good of a movie it was. Barbie has an Awakening Moment and goes on a goddamn Hero’s Journey, and there’s all kinds of action and adventure and comedy and pathos! The stakes are high, the entire Barbieverse! It was an amazing film to to look at, excellent scenic design and art direction, and it even had music that got stuck in my head, the song Ken sings about being Ken, for fuck’s sake. Somebody who says stuff like “there’s no plot” in a picture like Barbie is not paying attention to the movie because, like my mom used to say, “My mind is made up, don’t confuse me with facts.”

The headline: “‘Barbie’ Is Bad. There, I said it.” is Pamela Paul’s whole reason for shitting out this column. The art seems weirdly violent. It’s like, Barbie is bad, so we murdered her with a blood-and-guts-looking result, and there’s just some hair and a coupla legs? Creepy!

Also! The fucking artwork for the Pamela Paul column was creepy/violent! I get it, you throw tomatoes at performers who are not good, but isn’t Pamela Paul griping about how people might throw tomatoes at Pamela Paul? Howabout don’t throw tomatoes at anybody, and don’t make a grisly crime-scene-looking bloody red image featuring a headless body mangled by a giant blood-looking tomato! Are you fucking kidding me? This is the New York Times? You managed to punch down on a Barbie doll!

Anyway, I got ticked off about this because I am a professional, award-winning Columnist, and I know a flimsy premise for a column and I know a shitty argument when I see one smeared across my monitor. Thank you.

The MR. WRONG COLUMN is a general-interest column appearing weekly wherever it can appear. No refunds. Write Wrong:


Spiff Up Your Vocabulary

In response to Indignity Vol. 4 No. 15, THE SOPHIST:

Dear The Sophist,
Zhuzz? The word, as you should know, is “zhuzh.” I only hope that you and your reader pronounce the word correctly, with voiced palato-alveolar sibilants at beginning and end, not finished with a sad little buzz, or, worse, to rhyme with buzz.

—Jordan Ellenberg

The Sophist Replies: Whoops! The Sophist's copy editor, who may or may not be The Sophist, feels like a real pʌts.


Indignity Morning Podcast No. 205: Incapable of describing basic events.

Tom Scocca • Jan 25, 2024


READERS OF INDIGNITY who have previously benefited from the Bluesky-code generosity of other readers of Indignity are now daily paying it forward and providing us with even more codes for the still-beta social network. If you haven’t already gotten a code from us, we have lots of codes. Email and we will award Bluesky codes to those who respond, one per reader, first email, first served.


WE PRESENT INSTRUCTIONS for the assembly of sandwiches from The Butterick Book of Recipes and Household Helps, published by the Butterick Publishing Company in 1927, now in the Public Domain and available at for the delectation of all.

2 egg-yolks
1 teaspoon melted butter
1 teaspoon lemon-juice
1 cup chicken
1 teaspoon stock

Cook the eggs thirty to forty-five minutes, in water just below boiling-point, take out the yolks, and mash as fine as possible. Add to these the melted butter and lemon-juice, the finely chopped chicken, salt, pepper, and stock. Mix all well together. A paste will be the result and with this very delicate sandwiches may be made.

1/2 cup chopped bacon
1/4 cup cream
1/2 cup mashed liver
Salt and pepper

Mix chopped bacon and mashed liver, season with pepper and salt, and mix with cream. Decorate the plate with a border of lemon slices and hard-boiled eggs cut into halves lengthwise, with a sprig of cress or parsley on each.

With corned beef or ham use a bit of mustard, with roast beef or tongue use Worcestershire or horseradish sauce. Chopped capers, tomato sauce, catchup, or cold mint sauce are appropriate with lamb, and celery salt with veal. Onion-juice or finely chopped parsley adds a zest to any kind of fish or meat sandwiches.

If you decide to prepare and attempt to enjoy a sandwich inspired by this offering, be sure to send a picture to


The second printing of 19 FOLK TALES is now available for belated Holiday gift-giving and personal perusal! Huddle up against the cold with a cozy collection of stories, each of which is concise enough to read within the snowy part of a wintry-mix storm.

HMM WEEKLY MINI-ZINE, Subject: GAME SHOW, Joe MacLeod’s account of his Total Experience of a Journey Into Television, expanded from the original published account found here at Hmm Daily. The special MINI ZINE features other viewpoints related to an appearance on, at, and inside the teevee game show Who Wants to Be A Millionaire, available for purchase at SHOPULA.

FLAMING HYDRA will launch in January of 2024. The FLAMING HYDRA Holiday Preview Spectacular, a rich sampling of the writing and art you’ll enjoy as a subscriber to the forthcoming daily newsletter, is available now for your inspection. FLAMING HYDRA is the work of 60 world-class talents, but that’s just one reason to subscribe. FLAMING HYDRA is a 100% cooperatively owned, ad-free publication with no owners and no investors; just a bunch of writers and artists working together and splitting the proceeds equally.

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