Barbie is hanging out at Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), sipping a pumpkin latte, and updating her Facebook status when her sparkly pink cell phone rings, blaring “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black-Eyed Peas. She raises her eyebrows at the sight of ex-boyfriend Ken’s number on her caller ID.
Ken: Hey there. I know we haven’t spoken in a while, but I just had to call when I heard the news about your latest career switch.
Barbie (sitting up a little straighter and smiling): Oh, you heard I’m going to be a journalist now? How do you like that? Surprised?
Ken: Well, frankly, a little, Barbie.
Barbie: What do you mean? You know I can handle it.
Ken: Of course you can handle it. But my first thought was, why would you want to?
Barbie: Explain, please.
Ken: You see what passes for journalism these days, right? Objectivity has gone the way of the paper route.
Barbie: Oh, Ken, that’s so cynical.
Ken: Is it? Are you planning to cover politics? Do you think you’re going to get anywhere unless you pick a side? Have you watched cable news? The coverage is unabashedly partisan.
Barbie: I see your point. But what if I create my own blog? Then I set the ethical standards.
Ken: OK, but will you be reporting or regurgitating? Will you at least have an editor look at your stuff? Will you produce pieces that cut out all context and mislead people? I think a lady named Shirley Sherrod could tell you a thing or two about the dangers of that.
Barbie: Geez, Ken, I’m doing this because I want to inform people and bring perspective. And in some cases, shine a spotlight on justice and peace.
Ken: Clearly you’ve picked a side, then.
Barbie: What do you mean?
Ken: Peace? Come on, Barbie, that’s a liberal world view.
Barbie: See, this is why we broke up. You generalize too much.
Ken: Yeah, OK. Sure.
Barbie: Ken, you’re exasperating me.
Ken: I really don’t mean to. It’s just that the media has become so jaded and predictable. Did you see Arianna Huffington’s article about how this guy Mark Zuckerberg donated $100 million to the Newark school system and some journalists are questioning his motives? For doing an exceptionally nice thing! I mean, even if he donated it from jail after being convicted of a school shooting, isn’t it still a nice thing?
Barbie: It was much easier to get excited about my pink-and-black journalist’s suit and my new microphone and camera before you called, Ken. You’re taxing my brain.
Ken: Don’t play fashion queen airhead blonde with me, Barbie. It’s me you’re talking to. I was there for a number of these careers you’ve taken on and you’ve never turned away a challenge. I’m just trying to point out to you that this will be a major challenge.
Barbie: So what do you suggest I do? Back away from journalism? Mattel (NYSE:MAT) might have something to say about that.
Ken: No, but I have a radical idea. You’re a good writer. And snappy. You’re a self-aware girl with an edge. You should apply for a job at The Daily Show.
Barbie: As in Jon Stewart? Comedy Central?
Barbie: Be serious.
Ken: Oh, I am. Now that will test your reporting skills.
Barbie: Hmmmm. Jon was voted the most trusted news man in America.
Ken: Uh huh. Although you might veto this idea when you see the appearance you and I make in his new book. It’s called Earth.
Barbie: Why are we in a book called Earth?
Ken: Well, it’s funny, really. The team of writers over there pulled together all these humorous looks at the human race. One of the sections is about how our bodies require daily upkeep.
Barbie: OK …
Ken: I don’t know how to tell you, so I’m just going to say it, Barbie. There’s a picture of you on the toilet.
Barbie: What?????? And what are you doing in the picture?
Ken: Of course. But hey, I’ll take that over your buddy G.I. Joe’s appearance in the book. He’s in the “Beloved Characters” section, but over his picture it says, “As of press time, G.I. Joe was still engaged in his valiant struggle to openly serve in the U.S. military.”
Barbie: Oh no! He’s not gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Ken: There you go again, picking a side.
Barbie: Ken, you’re still smarting that I picked him and all the world got to see it in that Nissan commercial.
Ken: Get over yourself.
Barbie: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, you’ve given me plenty to think about. Maybe I should just report on fashion.
Ken: Woman, have you not seen The Devil Wears Prada?
Barbie: OK, I’m depressed now. Let me find the keys to the Corvette convertible. I feel the need for speed.