This week’s edition covers stories
from July 20th to July 26th, 2023.
Today’s issue is 850 words, a 6.5-minute read.
Isabella and Helene talk Barbenheimer release and the health risk our unhoused population is facing in Minnesota
Good morning Barbies, Kens, and Allans,
Isabella here. Since the last time you read us, the ‘Barbenheimer’ rage made $235.5 million in its first weekend. India in Pixels even put together a U.S. map to reflect which of the two movies is trending in each state, which was similar to the US electoral map split for a presidential election. Minnesota sitting at a 2 on the ‘Barbenheimer’ scale, see below.
For those who haven’t watched either movie yet, it was booked and sold out at most theaters in the Twin Cities throughout the weekend. I had the opportunity to do a double feature on its release date, July 20th. I opted for the Barbie first, Oppenheimer second, screening route – yes, I booked the tickets a week in advance for this great moment. For Barbie, people were dressed head to toe in pink. It was thrilling to see moviegoers dress up for a timeless film. For those unfamiliar with the pop culture craze, in 2022 people began creating memes around the high-contrast between the two films. Some even compared it to the 2008 antithesis of ‘Mamma Mia!’ and the Batman movie ‘The Dark Knight’.
While the two films were vastly different from each other, from the color schemes to the whole movie premise, I’d like to say that they both approached highly politicized topics. Oppenheimer’s writer-director Christopher Nolan described it as ‘A kind of horror movie’. The movie centered around the life of physicist Robert H. Oppenheimer and the affect, post- atomic bomb, of the Hindu scripture phrase “Now I become Death, the destroyer of worlds” from the Bhagavad Gita (“Song of God”) had on his life; the book is a 700-verse Hindu scripture of a dialogue between Prince Arjuna and Krishna, an avatar of the Hindu deity Vishnu. The film does a spectacular job at conveying the physicist’s perspective while also providing the audience with a comprehension of the political sphere of the 1940s. For those interested in the impact on Hiroshima, I recommend reading John Hersey’s New Journalism book “Hiroshima” (1946).
On the other hand, while Mattel invested over an estimated $150 million in their marketing for the pretty in pink film, the movie explores the themes of patriarchy, girlhood, existential crises, the corporate world, and the Barbie brand history. The film does an excellent job at exploring the contrast between fantasy and reality, through Greta Gerwig’s wonderful exploration of what it means to be a woman in the 21st century. If you’re unfamiliar with the feminist, writer-director-actress, you might have seen her other films “Little Women” (2019) or “Lady Bird” (2017) where she also explored similar themes of womanhood within the film genre of “mumblecore”: low-budget, indie-feel movies with a tone of realism. Usually her films have main female-lead characters that have an important monologue that expresses the female frustration in the real world. To learn more about the Barbie-Mattel universe, listen to the Vox Explained episode “Barbie Dreampodcast”.
Good morning, readers! Helene here. This week is scorching, but I don’t need to tell you all that. Everyone is feeling it. It’s uncomfortable to be out even in the morning, when things are supposed to be cool. The heat wave is affecting Minnesotans disproportionately, and poses a serious health risk to our unhoused population. Lack of access to water, electrolytes, cold showers, or consistent air conditioning all are threats to these populations.
The organization The Real Minneapolis is working hard every week to start to meet some of these immediate needs. They’ve been distributing nearly 125 meals a day, and during the very hot conditions they’ve been making sure to have at least two bottles of water for each person they encounter.
The organization was formed in 2020, shortly after George Floyd was murdered. Since then, “the group says it has provided nearly 50,000 meals and 100,000 water bottles to people in the community with most going to those who are experiencing homelessness.” They also have an RV that drives around to tent communities in Minneapolis and is equipped with an outdoor shower to help community members cool off and clean up. They’ve also helped those who are overheated get to emergency rooms in the RV.
Funding has been a consistent struggle, though, as the organization relies mainly on funding from private foundations, corporations, and community members to operate. If you’re interested in helping out, you can donate to their GoFundMe page. The funds raised will go towards many of The Real Minneapolis services, detailed in the description of the GoFundMe page.
That’s it for me this week. Stay cool and safe, readers.
-Isabella and Helene