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“Barbie” is the greatest Mel Brooks movie Mel Brooks didn’t make. “Barbie” has more in common with “Blazing Saddles” than you might imagine. “Barbie” could justifiably carry an alt title of “History of the World, Part III.” Like “Young Frankenstein,” it is rooted in eternal truths about our quest to find our humanity.

Yeah, you could throw in a touch of “Little Mermaid” (when Barbie ultimately makes her irrevocable choice) and even a dash of “Rocky Horror’s” musicality and production numbers.

A farce? Well, its protagonist is a plastic doll, so…

But “Barbie” is so much more.

“It’s really hard to be human,” the Ghost of Barbie’s Creator tells her Creation. That message and theme is the historical foundation of all true art, is it not? Noir aside, art seldom comes in black and white absolutes.

Art is often gray. And in this case, it’s pink.

Let me jump immediately to this. “Barbie” is by no means a man-hating movie. Quite the contrary. More on this later.

But let me also be unequivocal. Any man who takes offense to this movie and uses it to fan the flames of a contrived culture war is an insecure, infantile coward, and really no man at all.

As males, we should be grateful for the clarity of the mirror held up to our faces.

“Barbie” took true courage to produce, particularly on the part of Mattel. That was the most brutal, self-administered proctological exam in American corporate history.

And, like anything worth pondering, it’s complicated. Yes, I do believe that the evolution of Barbie often represented a genuine effort to inspire little girls to pursue greatness in non-traditional roles. But in the process, Barbie was, like pretty much everything in our culture, annexed by The Patriarchy. Mattel pulled no punches in exposing the hypocritical dichotomy. Admirable.

Spoiler alert. Mother and daughter discovering—or rediscovering—themselves and each other will move you.

Being human is hard. It’s hard to be female. But it’s also hard to be male, and “Barbie”  goes out of its way to acknowledge that. The Patriarchy suppresses women, but it also turns men against themselves and each other, frequently with disastrous results.

“Barbie”—a movie about a plastic doll—fronts up classic dramatic and literary themes that would get a nod from Sophocles.

But it also contains some very nuanced micro sub-vibes.

I’ll steal from a meme I sometimes see posted in social media.

“One day you and your friends went out to play for the last time. And none of you knew it.”

I cry every time I see it. And I’m having a difficult time typing now.

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Paul's Bio

I clearly have the attention span of your median fruit fly.Look! Airplane!

Sorry. I’m back.

It’s both a curse and a blessing. I’ve never bought this stuff about, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” But I do think that a wide range of life experiences helps us grow as people, and helps us better relate to other people. I’ve been fortunate. And I am beyond grateful.

I show up on time. I go like hell. I’m a good listener. I hold myself accountable. I own my mistakes. And I have a natural and an insatiable curiosity. I’m never afraid to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t. But then I try to find out.

The flip side is I’m a lousy ballroom dancer and my clothes sometimes fit me funny.

Stuff matters to me. I care. But while I take that stuff seriously, I try hard to never take myself seriously. As a result, I have sometimes been told, “Paul, it’s hard to tell when you’re serious and when you’re just having some fun. Which is it? Serious or fun?”

My answer is “yes.” But I think that is a legitimate criticism. I promise I’m going to work on that.

This has been the quickest and strangest half-century I’ve ever experienced. During that period, I’ve been afforded amazing opportunities in news and sports journalism across all platforms. I have taught wonderful students at the high school and collegiate level. Always, I learned more from them than they did from me. I’ve been a high school administrator. I spent ten seasons as a high school varsity football coach. I’ve been an advertising executive. I’ve hosted nationally syndicated television entertainment shows. In maybe the biggest honor I ever received, I was selected by NASA to be “Chet The Astronaut” for the “Land The Shuttle” simulator at Space Center Houston. (All I can say there, is “Do as I say, not as I do.” I put that thing in the Everglades more often than not.) Most recently, I just wrapped up a decade as a television news director, during which time our teams distinguished themselves in holding the powerful accountable, achieving both critical and ratings success.

What does all that mean? It means I am profoundly grateful. It also means I’m ready for “next.” So here we are. Radically Rational. It’s an idea I woke up with in 2017. I scribbled “Radically Rational” on a piece of notebook paper and used a magnet to stick it on our refrigerator. I saw it every day, and it just would not leave me alone.

I am second in charge at Radically Rational, LLC. My wife, Jo (also known as BB), is the president. Clearly, I have failed in my attempt to sleep my way to the top of this organization.

I hope you will learn that I’m loyal as a Labrador. But I will admit that this doggie can bite every now and then. My promise to you? I will show up on time. I will go like hell. I will listen to you earnestly and attentively. I will hold myself accountable. I will never be the least bit hesitant to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t.

But then I’ll try to find out. Let’s do it.