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The geopolitics of "Barbie"

The geopolitics of "Barbie"
The Geopolitics of "Barbie" | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi everybody. Ian Bremmer here, and a special update, Quick take, I know you need to hear about this. The geopolitics of "Barbie".

"Barbie" is coming out. No, not in that way. Next week in the United States and the United Kingdom, massive launch. You've seen the dreamhouse, you've seen the buses, you've seen the excitement, and now you've seen the geopolitical backlash. It was not what you were expecting. I certainly don't remember there ever being a political science Barbie. Uh, there is a campaign manager Barbie that they made. That's, that's pretty much the opposite when you think about it. And there's also a Chief Sustainability Officer Barbie, that was of course, made of plastic naturally. But never a geopolitical analyst Barbie. Well, maybe that was a mistake, turns out there's a problem.

In the movie, there's a world map behind Barbie. Unclear why Barbie requires a scene with the world map. I'm sure we're all gonna learn this in a couple of weeks or maybe not. But there it is. World map in crayon. And you can see Greenland that's in yellow of course, and sort of a nine-dash line. Might there be a nine-dash line around Southeast Asia? Well, that's the big question. Vietnam banned the movie from its market saying that that indeed was what was being depicted. The upside is that China has not, it's the largest global movie market at the box office. And Hollywood Studios, of course, very frequently tailor movies to ensure that they get approval from the sensors. Now, the Philippines was also going to ban "Barbie." They've now decided against it as long as the map is blurred. So here's the map. Take a look again. Is Barbie supporting Chinese Neocolonialism? And would Ken approve?

Of course critical question here. Warner Brothers says that "this is a child-like crayon drawing" and it was not intended to make any type of statement that alleged nine-dash line is neither clearly located in the South China Sea region, nor does it have nine dashes. We look carefully. It's only eight. Only eight dashes. That's one fewer dash. Heck it's not even the only dashed line on the map. If you look closely, you'll also see that there's a Cambodia-sized turtle that's located nearby, right on the Asian landmass. And I'm pretty sure that that's already been eaten. But I do think the Warner Brothers folks did know what they were doing. I mean, you know, you're trying hard to get access to the Chinese market, but you don't wanna alienate anyone. So by putting these eight dashes off of Asia, it's an effort to get favor from the Chinese sensors, but also not antagonize the Southeast Asians.

Barbie, you think you're so clever. But this has happened before in 2022. Vietnam and the Philippines both banned Sony Pictures action movie "Uncharted" over their nine-dashed depiction. And that was pretty clear. It was very brief, it was very clear depiction. Also, they stopped screenings both countries of Dreamworks animated film "Abominable" in 2019 due to a scene that showed the nine-dash line. Malaysia made the studio cut the scene from "Abominable," and that's no joke. What the hell are all these people doing with nine-dash lines? Well, you know, all we can say, Fox News had a host that asked, is Barbie a communist? You be the judge. Pics on the spectrum, but it should help "Oppenheimer" at the box office.

That's it for me. Talk to you real soon.


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