Debbie Nathan writes:
Found this today at the neighborhood 99-cent store, in the Bronx just across the Harlem River from Upper Manhattan. Have no idea what it means. It was mixed with a pile of other pink backpacks decorated with the identical Barbie face, but without the headscarf. The secular Barbies had the same plucked eyebrows, lipsticky lips and hyperMaybelline eyes. But no verbiage surrounded them—not a word. Meanwhile, Muslim Barbie, as you see here, is trapped in a sea of "Are you happy?"…
But what really got me was, this backpack was Made in China. To me, there's something about 99-cent Asian shlock that seems mystically insightful when it comes to 21st-century American culture.
This is actually a contest. "If you have any ideas about its meaning," Nathan writes, "do tell. In fact, I'd be glad to pass my purchase on to you (postage paid!) in exchange for some inspired words."