The Real Meaning of ‘Barbenheimer’

The films Barbie and Oppenheimer, despite diverging wildly in apparent subject matter, theme, and aesthetic, share a fundamental spiritual unity that reveals the true meaning of both films and, by extension, our contemporary political situation.  

The similarities between the films extend beyond the shared release date. Both films, for instance, are named after the descendants of recent immigrants to America. J. Robert Oppenheimer was the son of a German businessman. Barbie was the pet name of Barbara Handler, the daughter of Ruth and Elliot Handler, the second-generation Russian migrants who created the Barbie doll.  

The year 1945 is central to both films. The Handlers started Mattel, the company that manufactures the Barbie, in January of that year. The Trinity Test and the later atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki occurred that summer. The significance of this timing is not mere coincidence. The end of WWII represented a decisive victory for the global Left against its enemies, fascist and conservative alike.  

European Christian civilization never recovered from the brutality and trauma of the war. The cruelty of the conflict (perpetuated by all sides) eviscerated the remaining shreds of humane civilization from the continent. Europe after the war never reattained its previous cultural vitality. 

The outcomes of that struggle were not only spiritual and cultural but political. Europe after the war would no longer contain independent powers with a significant role in human affairs. The continent was instead reduced to a collection of satrapies beholden either to the United States or the Soviet Union respectively.  

The communist revolution of 1917 ushered in a new and vicious era in global history. The Soviet revolutionaries embraced ideological total war. The older law of war with its distinction between combatant and civilian disappeared. The “imperialist,” wherever he was found, was the enemy of paradise on earth. To exterminate these class enemies of utopia was not only just but necessary. The Soviets therefore had no qualms overseeing the forced collectivization and starvation of millions in the 1920s and ‘30s.  

New Deal politicians in America adopted a similar spiritual framework. FDR and his lackeys, including Vice President Henry Wallace, demonized American opposition to WWII as the work of fascists, “midget Hitlers,” and “economic royalists.” They characterized the unwillingness of ordinary Americans to throw themselves into a bloody conflict between the communists and fascists as treason.  

It was thus no accident that FDR’s administration would become a close ally of the USSR during WWII, giving them $300 billion in military and industrial aid, promising them control of half of Europe in the aftermath of Europe at the Allied conferences at Tehran and Yalta, and publishing pro-Soviet propaganda for American audiences. FDR also helped cover up Soviet war crimes committed against Poles and praised mass murderer Josef Stalin in public and private. It is no accident that his administration was filled with Soviet spies. 

It is likewise no accident that the communist tactics of total war came to infect the American body politic, not only in terms of military strategy but in the spiritual orientation of the regime after the war. As a rule, American liberals from the 1930s onward have preferred psychological warfare—sexual “liberation,” censorship, and repressive regulation—to mass violence, but the animating principle is still that of the leftist revolution. The ideological targets are not only foreign enemies but domestic dissidents.  

Barbie and Oppenheimer, seen in this light, artistically represent the hammer and anvil of the global Left in the 20th century. Between the double assault of the twin forces of feminism and consumerism on the one hand (Barbie) and techno-scientific annihilation on the other (Oppenheimer), the 20th century Left smashed its competitors.  

Barbenheimer is a celebration of bolshevism, both cultural and physical. These two artistic phenomena help explain how the seeming opposites of democratic “capitalism” and communism are in fact united under liberalism. Both ideologies aim at the destruction of the higher spiritual values of Western civilization, at Christianity, and at natural hierarchy. The planetary leftist revolution manifests itself in a burning resentment against everything noble and high. That all-consuming resentment of the worst against the best results in a longing for bloodletting and violence on an utterly monumental scale.  

It is not enough to condemn racism. One must also annihilate the racists and their parents and their children—by techno-scientific hellfire if need be. Their graves must be then dug up and the corpses violated. All memory of their existence must be damned and cursed. Their statues must be ripped down, their monuments renamed, and their grandchildren drowned in a cocktail of physical and spiritual poison.  

But even this is not enough. One must not only kill the fascists but nuke the fascism in one’s own heart. The global civil war ultimately stretches not only to every corner of the globe but into the inmost depths of every human heart. After all, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.  

Psychological warfare, aimed at the demoralization and spiritual enervation of the target populace, is complementary with the techno-scientific means of total extermination. Spiritual and physical total war go together. In both cases, the target is not a part of but the entire population.  

This is the real meaning of Barbenheimer.

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About Josiah Lippincott

Josiah Lippincott is a Ph.D. student and a former U.S. Marine Corps officer. You can find him on Telegram at https://t.me/josiah_lippincott or subscribe to his Substack here.

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