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BLO Nightly News, Barbie Liberation Organization, 1994

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by Carla Barger

Corporate-driven culture and consumerism run amuck are bad. Very bad. Add sexism and it’s even worse. Enter the Barbie Liberation Organization. BLO Nightly News is a mockumentary that combines BLO’s own anti-capitalist propaganda with actual clips from Leno, CNN, even The Simpsons. The film is obviously very low budget, but it’s so deviously clever that it fails to matter. BLO parodies several corporate-tainted media tools, including the popular television newsmagazine A Current Affair, NBC Nightly News (from which the title was obviously taken), ABC News, CNN, and even the Weather Channel, with Bill Clinton making a cameo appearance in the closing scene.

The Barbie Liberation Organiza-tion, formed in 1989, aimed to get its message across by buying up several hundred talking Barbies and G.I. Joeâs, switching their voice boxes, repackaging them, and slipping them back onto toy shelves throughout the nation to be resold to unsuspecting parents. And what exactly was this message? During BLO’s contribution to, what is known as, ãculturing jamming,ä tapes were distributed to the media with Barbie as spokesperson:

We are an international group of childrenâs toys that are revolting against the companies that made us. We’ve turned against our creators because they use us to brainwash kids. They build us in a way that perpetuates gender-based stereotypes. Those Stereotypes have a negative effect on children’s development ·ä

At the time this film was made, the members of BLO were anonymous. Since then, founders Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno have gone on to form The Yes Men and have taken their anti-corporate pranks to an entirely new level. You can see the former Barbie Liberators in the documentary, The Yes Men, directed by Dan Ollman and Sarah Price, released in 2003.

April 2005

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