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UNI NEWS BRIEFS - Barbie, the Papacy

March 6, 2005
Contact: 

Karen Mitchell, UNI associate professor of communication, (319) 273-2640
Vicki Grimes, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-6728
Robert Dise, UNI associate professor of history, (319) 273-5906

More than 800 million Barbies sold as popular doll marks another anniversary

Wednesday marks another anniversary for 'Barbie,' the popular doll that first debuted in stores March 9, 1959. Since that time, more than 800 million Barbies have been sold and several generations have grown up with her as a favorite companion.

Karen Mitchell, UNI associate professor of communication, has studied the icon for years and says she's had an 'on-again, off-again' relationship with Barbie that led her to write last year's play, 'Barbie Undone.' Says Mitchell, 'Our relationship is complicated.

'On some levels, she and I are much alike. We're single, childless, career women with great accessories for all our fashion ensembles. We like to travel (although we rarely travel 'light'), enjoy the performing arts and have busy social calendars. She is, of course, more popular than I. She's also thinner. And she makes scads more money. I hate her as much as I love her. I long to ban her from our feminist queendom, and, at the same time, I long to bring her into the fold.'

Contacts:

Karen Mitchell, UNI associate professor of communication, (319) 273-2640

Vicki Grimes, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-6728

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Little likelihood Pope John Paul II would ever step down

'The Roman Catholic church is the oldest continuously surviving institution on the planet,' says Robert Dise, UNI associate professor of history. But in its 2,000 years, it has never witnessed the voluntary retirement of a legitimately elected pope.

There is no mechanism for replacing a pope who is incapacitated by age or illness, says Dise, a Roman historian who has a long-standing interest in the history of the early and medieval church.

Dise notes that election to be pope is regarded as an act of consecration by the Holy Spirit. A pope cannot surrender that consecration, since the divine power is greater than any human act of will, nor can the Church take it away if the election was valid, since there is no authority in the Church higher than the pope, because Jesus bestowed supreme power in the Church on the first pope, Saint Peter, by giving Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 16: 18-19).

'Thus, John Paul could not walk away from the papacy,' Dise said. 'And, if an election were held for a new pope before John Paul's death, then there would be two incumbents and the question would arise whether this election was valid, since his predecessor was still alive. The newly elected pope might be seen as what the Church calls an 'anti-pope.' The last time there was an anti-pope was in 1449.'

Contact:

Robert Dise, UNI associate professor of history, (319) 273-5906

Vicki Grimes, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319 273-6728

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