Thursday, April 23, 2009
You know how you happen to glance at something and suddenly, without any rumination whatsoever, an idea will pop into your head fully-formed? Well, J's iChat avatar this week (for part of it, anyway) was the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz. His quote was "With the thoughts I'd be thinkin', I could be another Lincoln..." Now, some might disupute that J could be another Lincoln, but as he is my only reader, I will not.
Well, for whatever reason, seeing the Scarecrow suddenly and without transition brought a question/concern/conundrum into my head. Dorothy flies to Oz, lands her house on the Wicked Witch of the East, and kills her. Glenda asks if she’s a good witch or a bad witch, but of course she’s neither—she’s an outsider from another world. So Dorothy then goes on a journey through this mystical land, and ends up killing the other Bad Witch, which nobody in Oz had apparently thought to do for themselves. Then she flies away again, this time in a balloon piloted by another outsider who has until recently been dictator-for-life. So here's my issue:
Dorothy isn't even from there. She's not a citizen, she doesn't pay taxes, she comes in without so much as a by-your-leave, completely disrupts the status quo and balance of power, and then disappears. What about the people left behind who suddenly have to deal with the power vacuum? How long would the two good witches actually remain good with all that BadWitch real estate opening up? The whole system of checks and balances would crumble and fall apart and you'd end up with a pair of tyrants floating around in bubbles forcing people to starch their skirts and wear glitter.
So what seems like a fairy tale about being transported to a magical land and becoming a hero by killing the baddies, is, from the Ozian’s perspective, nothing more than the machinations of a foreign power to impose its own moral imperative and system of governance. And of course the Ozians are all dancing with exuberance at the end, because the book was written by a white male Westerner and of course those poor downtrodden yoiks are thrilled to be liberated from tyranny and intellectual and moral stagnation.
Of course what really happened is that as soon as the balloon was out of sight, anarchy set in and the Emerald City became an unpoliced criminal paradise since with his new brains the Scarecrow realized that the Emerald Guard needed something to do now that the Witch was dead, and why not turn them into a mercenary army and make a little money off it; the GoodWitches put all of the Munchkins into indentured servitude in the poppy fields to make heroin; the Tin Woodsman chopped down the talking trees to burn them for charcoal so that he could sell it to buy food for the law-abiding but now homeless noncriminal refugees from the City; the lion went on a fearless heroin-driven rampage and had to be put down; and the flying monkeys ruled the air, throwing poop bombs at everyone with impunity.