This is about the sacred cows of western culture. The golden idols. Not symbols
of religous power, they are symbols of buying power, profit and revenue streams.
These are secular idols known in the corporate world simply as "cash cows".
One such cow is called "Barbie".
Idols of identity. Symbols representing the values and traditions of a consumeristic
society. Inscribed with the knowledge and the survivial skills of past generations.
Rosetta stones that silently teaches a way of living, storing accumulated beliefs
for future generations.
Humans are story tellers. By the flickering light of campfires and candles people
have told stories of history, stories of success, stories of battles, survival, and
death. This is the thread that binds generations and furthers the knowledge of
These are fictions, yet they are as real as the air we breathe. Societies live and
die by beliefs. A different way of seeing, of thinking, of believing can create
a whole new tradition and culture. Rome did not concede to the Christians based
on their weapons or the power of their army. It was the Christian beliefs that created
a new empire.
Pick any icon. Barbie is a perfect subject for an inquiry into symbols. She is nearly
ubiquitous, crosses international and religous borders. She is available to children
and so is a part of their education and growth, and she is a product of the contemporary
commercial image making industry, in some ways the same industry that produced the images
of Ronald Regan, Kate Moss, Nintendo and the Persian Gulf War.
What stories does this icon tell?