If you can’t make fun of the iconic cultural archetype that is Barbie, what the hell can you make fun of? The Supreme Court tells Mattel to lighten up and share a spliff with Jamaican Barbie, or something like that:
- Toymaker Mattel lost a Supreme Court appeal Monday over a mocking pop song that called the iconic fashion doll Barbie a “blonde bimbo.”
The high court did not comment in turning down Mattel’s request to reopen a trademark fight over the 1997 dance hit “Barbie Girl.” Mattel claims the preteen girls who buy Barbie dolls were duped into thinking the song was an advertisement for the doll or part of Mattel’s official line of Barbie products.
The song, by a Danish group called Aqua, includes the lyrics, “I’m a blonde bimbo in a fantasy world/Dress me up, make it tight, I’m your dolly.”
Mattel Inc., which gets $1.5 billion or more annually in Barbie sales, complained that an advertisement for the song ran during Saturday morning cartoons and that MCA Records Inc. even wanted to sell the recording at toy stores.
Ad materials for the song used the same electric pink that Mattel has used to package Barbie dolls for decades, lawyers for Mattel claimed.
MCA sold an estimated 1.4 million copies of the recording. The music company calls the song a parody protected by the First Amendment.
Mattel lost in lower courts, and the five-year tussle has gotten ugly. MCA sued Mattel for defamation after the toymaker likened the record firm to a bank robber.
Whoa, no small irony in that last bit, no? Hey, record companies aren’t always wrong. I don’t believe Barbie has suffered from the parody.