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December 05, 2018

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nbc

but why am I reading these messages into this film, at this moment?

I hope, for her sake, that this is rhetorical.

Joan

We can... empathise with the mangy Lion, rusty Tin Man and under-stuffed Scarecrow’s search for organ donors and reliable medical support in an Oz without a solid welfare state.

Peak Guardian?

ComputerLabRat

I hope, for her sake, that this is rhetorical.

Sadly, it very well may not be.

Apocalyptic outrage is quite trendy at the moment. Hers seem a bit contrived - it appears she had to work a bit to wedge all that in - but I don't doubt she thinks she feels it.

Wasn't there a religious sect or something that used to work themselves into a frenzy as part of the worship? Or do I read too much sf/fantasy novels and am getting mixed up...

Diver Down

“but why am I reading these messages into this film, at this moment?”

I would venture that it is the result of mixing expensive medications with cheap whiskey.

The Sage

I immediately thought of Hillary as the Wicked Witch of the West .

I denounce myself.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

We can read the catastrophic effects of climate change into the tornado that sets the narrative off...

Yes, "we" could, OTOH, given the book was written in 1900, we could also realize that maybe tornadoes in Kansas are not exactly a new phenomenon.

...but why am I reading these messages into this film, at this moment?

My best clinical estimate would be either you are a hopelessly self absorbed idiot desperately seeking relevance, having a psychotic break, or both.

R. Sherman

I'd call her essay "sophomoric," except that would insult high school sophomores.

Adam

I’m not saying that chemtrails are real, but why does there seems to be so much insane torture of analogies parading around as journalism?

Rafi

I'm not saying it's aliens...

David

Peak Guardian?

I’m not sure there is a state of Peak Guardian. There don’t appear to be any limiting factors. Maybe it just falls inwards, forever.

WTP

I believe Damian posted this same article here...
https://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2018/12/im-only-thinking-of-you.html?cid=6a00d83451675669e2022ad3a4cf57200d#comment-6a00d83451675669e2022ad3a4cf57200d

David

I believe Damian posted this same article here...

Ah. Missed that one. Though I do read most of the comments here, time and stamina permitting.

[+]

The values of Oz are not much different from those of Kansas in... 2018... the film revels in the violent deaths of “ugly” women

Wut?

David

Wut?

Even by the standards of the Guardian’s comment pages, where analogies are routinely strained to breaking point and beyond, Bidisha’s argument is hard to fathom. Perhaps she’s equating the relief of many voters that Hillary Clinton lost an election with a delight in women being crushed under tons of falling masonry.

I… really don’t know.

sH2

First they came for Charlie Brown, then 'Baby It's Cold Outside'...

Fanrsworth M Muldoon

Wut?

Bearing in mind that the closest Miss Mamata ever came to Kansas was 35,000 feet as she flew over it, consider the source.

David

First they came for Charlie Brown, then ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’...

I think it’s fair to say, she’s not by default a cheery lass:

Ho ho ho.

And regarding the annual tin-eared misconstrual of Baby, It’s Cold Outside, which is itself now a tradition, I’ll just leave this here.

Monty James

People are too quick to judge Bedlam hospital the way it was in the old days. It had its good points.

David

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

As noted before, the annual denunciation of the song is pretty much symbolic of woke posturing more generally. In that, the people doing the denouncing are typically relying on a simplistic, tin-eared construal, bleached of subtlety or historical context, and which actually inverts the intended sentiment and, in the name of feminism, robs the woman of agency. And so, you get dogmatic scolds, who, despite all the lyrical and musical clues, assume that the woman must be being drugged and sexually assaulted.

And they imagine they’re the clever ones.

R. Sherman

And regarding the annual tin-eared misconstrual of Baby, It’s Cold Outside, which is itself now a tradition . . .

When I listen to that song, I'm struck by the fact that woman is actually in complete control of the situation. She knows what she wants and she knows how to get it. This isn't an ode to Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer or any of the progressive, "woke," male allies and their secret switches to lock doors or "go bags" of viagra.

Sort-Of-Mad Max

"sickly US of today."

So, all of the quintessential wonderfulness of the Obama reign just popped and vanished, like, well, like some ephemeral delusion? In a mere two years?

Say it ain't so, Bids!

Farnsworth M Muldoon

I think it’s fair to say, she’s not by default a cheery lass:

From the same twit stream...

At least the preoccupied, on the brink of world war three, increasingly fascist tendency, racist, xenophobic, macho, philistine aggressively insular and bigoted horror show of Christmas 2018 can be dressed up with a lovely gold pagan wreath.

Now, now Miss Mamata, show us on the doll where Christmas 2018 touched you...

Triumphant Ape

I've noticed if a persons thinking is rotten, then the World seems rotten to them.
You are what you eat, and the World for you is as you see it.

David

When I listen to that song, I’m struck by the fact that woman is actually in complete control of the situation.

Well, quite. She’s certainly not a passive, put-upon victim. As Darleen said a while ago, it’s the lyrical equivalent of a tango.

aelfheld

The ability to see what isn't combined with the inability to see what is has become the defining characteristic of the progressive.

aelfheld
I’m not saying we’re on the brink of a third world war, but why am I reading these messages into this film, at this moment?

Hormonal imbalance?

David

This is your weekly reminder that the Typepad spam filter can be a little twitchy. If you have trouble with comments not appearing, email me and I’ll tug at wires and generally flail about.

jabrwok

Wasn't there a religious sect or something that used to work themselves into a frenzy as part of the worship?

The Shakers maybe. Or the Maenads.

pst314

Bearing in mind that the closest Miss Mamata ever came to Kansas was 35,000 feet as she flew over it, consider the source.

I've noticed that sort of obnoxious cluelessness from visiting credentialed Brits, but that makes them little different from the East Coast and West Coast snobs. Perhaps the chief difference is in who is more likely to quote the Graudiad as an implicitly authoritative source.

Steve E

I can see why she's so sensitive about the film. It wouldn't take much makeup to go from this:

Bidisha

to this:

Margaret Hamilton

Lock up your little dogs my pretty!

Pogonip

Steve E, is that first picture a man?

Pogonip

The Wizard of Oz has always attracted loons—I remember reading in The Straight Dope that at the time it was published someone decided it was an allegory about going off the gold standard.

Frank Baum was a big-name occultist and the Oz books do contain various occultisms, if you know what to look for, which I don’t.

David

By the way, I’ve had to remove the Amazon Canada shopping link. Without going into the tedious and baffling details, being an affiliate of Amazon Canada seems to entail more complication and restriction than the UK and US companies, to the extent that the thing became much more trouble than it was worth. Canadian readers who wish to support this blog can, of course, make use of the PayPal button, which is actually preferred and much more helpful to me.

Steve E

Pogonip, it's a Bidisha. Which I believe may be Hindi for this:

Bidet

Daniel Ream

being an affiliate of Amazon Canada seems to entail more complication and restriction

The same goes for being a customer of Amazon Canada.

David

The same goes for being a customer of Amazon Canada.

Heh. And yet I use Amazon Prime here in the UK all the time and have no complaints at all. I’d happily recommend it.

Sporkatus

Bidisha(!) {Jazz Hands} ought to have been warned about the brown acid. I mean, there's attempting a Dark Side of the Moon/ Wizard of Oz sync-up while stoned, and then there's taking it too far.

I'm only half-joking: the hallucination, moroseness of a Pink Floyd-enhanced dream state, the miserable personality - a bad result from an attempt at one of the Standard Trips would explain it all. Pity she didn't have her own Person from Porlock to shake the images out before she wrote it all down, though.

David

Bidisha(!) {Jazz Hands}

Heh. I’d forgotten about that one. Though I believe the correct form is

Bidisha! [ Jazz Hands! ]™

With Bidisha stressed rhythmically, like a drum-roll.

Duke Magoo

The one thing I always enjoy when I read someone like this hag. They are totally unhappy and miserable. They want their own perfect world (sans (conservatives) and that is impossible so they get miserable and destroy their own chances at happiness and I LOVE THAT ABOUT THEM. They entertain us with their misery. Fools.

Sam

Having a toddler I've now watched Wizard of Oz more times in the past 2 years than in all my previous combined, and I often find myself pondering dark thoughts and inventing subversive parody during repeat viewings, just for fun. So it's interesting and sad that a someone does this for a (ostensible) living.

Also, Oz is a particularly strained metaphor for the oppressive patriarchy considering:
(1) It has a female lead. In 1939.
(2) While Dorothy needs help, she's more confident and brave than her male compatriots. Again, in 1939.
(3) The villain is the witch, but the Wise Male Protagonist is a charlatan whose place in the story is to teach Dorothy that she always had the strength/courage/heart she seeks. Bidisha reads this nuanced lesson as "emptiness at it's core".
(4) In the pre-tornado first act - the one everyone forgets exists - the central conflict originates from a large benosed childless harpie who's priggishness is so excessive that she cannot tolerate simple childhood joys. Hmmm...perhaps there are real life parallels...
(4) Seriously though, the conflict over Toto biting the prude is settled by said prude sitting down with Auntie Em - not the barely mentioned Uncle Henry - and negotiating over the dog's life. In fact, Auntie Em exercises her matriarchal position and gives up the dog against the wishes of her husband. Again, IN 1939, PORTRAYING LIFE IN 1900. Did we ever even have this fucking patriarchy thing that modern witches go on about?

Daniel Ream

perhaps there are real life parallels...

Sailer's Law of Female Journalism.

R. Sherman

In the pre-tornado first act - the one everyone forgets exists...

Seriously, though. The tornado scene scared the crap out of me as a kid. I'd have nightmares about not being able to get to the basement. In fact, thanks to this post, I looked it up on YouTube. [Here]. It still gives me the willies.

I suppose that happens when you grow up in Tornado Alley.

Hopp Singg

Since their writers appear to orbit around stupidity itself, it's always peak Guardian!

David

The tornado scene scared the crap out of me as a kid.

The tornado looming in the background is pretty impressive for 1939.

WTP

The villain is the witch, but the Wise Male Protagonist is a charlatan whose place in the story is to teach Dorothy that she always had the strength/courage/heart she seeks.

Heh. So the Wiz is of course a good guy. Perhaps I related this here a while back but on a certain Never Trumper's blog frequented by many, many lawyer types, I got into a bit of a heated discussion with several of the lawyers there who insisted that The Wizard was a bad guy. Because charlatan. Therefore bad. And Trumpian. A couple people there, these are very smart people mind you, they'll tell you so themselves because they been to big law schools and know all sorts of smart people stuff that only smart people really know, insisted that it was an allegory for the gold standard. They knew this because they learned it in school. College even. Advanced degrees they had. To their credit, the did relent on this latter point when I provided evidence (because of course my own logical argumentation was insufficient) from appropriate authorities that said allegory was a made-up myth. But they stuck with the Wizard is a Trump allegory. And oddly...or not...I decided I was good with that part anyway.

David

Also, Oz is a particularly strained metaphor for the oppressive patriarchy considering…

[ Slides sambuca-and-Night-Nurse cocktail along bar. ]

Ed Bo

When our high school English teacher encouraged us to find underlying meanings in our texts, we would go overboard like this (outside of class). But we knew how ridiculous we were being.

WTP

When our high school English teacher encouraged us to find underlying meanings in our texts, we would go overboard like this

Our high school's advanced (AP) English teacher was notorious for pointing out "Christ-like figures". I wasn't (prolly obvious from my posts) an AP English student but had all the AP English students in my other classes. It was the running joke outside of his class. Any character in a novel who had the initials "JC" was a Christ-like figure. Even though I wasn't in his class and just 'cause I think it's stupid, whether the author intended it or not, to this day I get a Pavlovian reaction to even non-fiction people such as Julius Caesar, Joan Crawford, John Cusack, John Cheever, Joseph Conrad, etc.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

When our high school English teacher encouraged us to find underlying meanings in our texts, we would go overboard like this...

I had a ass. prof. in college who was going overboard about the hidden meaning of the words "King's Highway" in a story until I pointed out that it was the name of a road in St. Louis, which happened to be the location in which the story was set.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but I guess that doesn't get one tenure, or a gig at the Guardian.

Hopp Singg

Oh my. I'm sitting in the Atlanta airport just now, between flights, and what, pray tell, do you think they're playing?

Baby, it's cold outside.

Hah!

R. Sherman

Speaking of Baby, It's Cold Outside . . .

Damian

Ah. Missed that one. Though I do read most of the comments here, time and stamina permitting.

My linked experience has been erased! My intellectual labor has been appropriated!

[faints]

Where's my Guardian column?

Alice

if you’re watching The Wizard of Oz and you instantly think of Donald Trump, and indeed find it “impossible” not to think of Donald Trump, a man you contrive to associate with women melting in acid, then… well, perhaps you should take a holiday somewhere quiet. Or at least lower the dose.

What is it the scarecrow says? "Some people without brains do an awful lot of talking".

David

My linked experience has been erased!

[ Slides Campari spritzer along bar, followed by small bag of nuts. ]

ACTOldFart

Isn't there another Wizard of Oz character, a good witch or fairy called Glinda? She seems to be everything that Ms Bidisha is not - pretty, pure, optimistic, wise, far-sighted, sure that Dorothy can find her own way - and white.

Maybe we are seeing the real reason that Bidisha is in a huff about WoO.

Pogonip

WTP: Jackie Chan!

Everyone who matters knows Christ was a Person Of Color...

Daniel Ream

who insisted that The Wizard was a bad guy. Because charlatan

He is a bad guy. He's a bad guy who is redeemed by the virtue of the hero.

Literary analysis isn't hard, but it does require not getting lost in the weeds of post-modernism on the way to the bloody obvious answer.

Tony Tea

Jesus. H. Derrida. Bidisha could do us all a favour and loiter under a flying house.

Mr. Saturn

Well at least it isn't Harry Potter this time.

Baceseras

I reject her premises, reject her reasons, and reject her conclusions.

I reject them in toto.

Adele

in toto
*sigh* that's beautiful

Watchman

“To think of Donald Trump, a man you contrive to associate with women melting in acid, then… well, perhaps you should take a holiday somewhere quiet.”

If you are going to take a holiday away from women melting in acid, I would suggest staying away from London. Apparently there has been a six fold rise in acid attacks in the last six years to 2017: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/01/26/europe/london-acid-attacks-2017-intl/index.html

As far as I remember from the movie, plain water is adequate to melt witches, but mere women probably do require acid to melt them. Neither should be melted though.

ACTOldFart

"Somewhere, deep in the Guardian
O Angst, O Strife
Hey there, creeps in the Guardian
Why don't you get a life?"

David

Elsewhere in the same Guardian comment section, Zoe Williams airs her belief that five-year-olds who aren’t yet potty-trained and who are still in nappies are not a sign of developmental problems or negligent parenting, but instead are due to the “austerity agenda” of our wicked conservative government.

Jen

her belief that five-year-olds who aren’t yet potty-trained... are due to the “austerity agenda” of our wicked conservative government.

We have a conservative government?

R. Sherman

...her belief that five-year-olds who aren’t yet potty-trained... are due to the “austerity agenda” of our wicked conservative government.

One wonders who our ancestors manage to train children not to poop in their pants before the welfare state? Quite the mystery.

David

Quite the mystery.

Ms Williams gets reliably annoyed by any suggestion that people might actually take responsibility for their own behaviour, and for the wellbeing of their own children. She seems to find it offensive and exasperating. As if it were like asking people to walk on water or inflate to the size of a moon. Like so many of her Guardian colleagues, Zoe likes to side with the latest, most contrived victim group, in this case negligent parents, albeit from a safe distance.

WTP

He is a bad guy. He's a bad guy who is redeemed by the virtue of the hero.

OK...deep breaths...in...out...in...out...

Sorry, not getting it that way. How is the Wiz redemed? I never saw WoO as a story of redemption (perhaps my distaste for Christ-like figures in literature blinds me here). There are many ways to slice any story but the main thing I got out of it was that the Wicked Witch had all kinds of magic powers and whatever those E-O-E-O guys were and flying monkeys and such on her side. Dorothy, having no such magic, is afraid of her, running away from that fear seaking the help of the Wiz. At any time, the Wiz could have taken advantage of her if he was evil. But the Wiz doesn’t even directly help her. What he does do is through some slight deception show her that she has the power, the brains, the courage, the heart to solve her problems, to face the world herself. Though I do suppose the whole thing could be about the Franco-Prussian war as well. What do I know?

R. Sherman

The Wiz isn't a "bad guy." Recall his Kansas counterpart uses his "magic" to convince Dorothy to return home to her aunt and uncle immediately before the (shudder) tornado. He's simply a MacGuffin to push the story along. The Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion are aspects of Dorothy's personality which she discovers as the story progresses.

The "bad" character is Glinda, the "good witch." She puts the powerful ruby slippers on Dorothy's feet then waits until Dorothy has vanquished the Wicked Witch to say, "Oh, yeah. You had the power to leave all along; I just forgot to tell you that." Even when I was a little kid, I said at the end of the movie, "Hey, wait a minute . . ."

Farnsworth M Muldoon

The Wiz isn't a "bad guy."

Nope, you know who are the bad guys ? Munchkins.

Bad haircuts, small hands, "Munch" rhymes with "Drumpf", that is certainly no coincidence.

They are literal nazis.

Clam

Zoe likes to side with the latest, most contrived victim group, in this case negligent parents, albeit from a safe distance.

They always do.

R. Sherman

@Farnsworth

Yeah. With their "wee beedy eyes" and German clog dancing. Part of The Pentaverate, for sure.

David

They always do.

Like so many of her Guardian colleagues, she’s eager to wave aside the kinds of behaviour that she will never have to endure, and to excuse the kinds of people she will never have to live next door to. The kinds of people who, as linked above, delight in making life hellish for anyone nearby and who, for amusement, torture and kill their pets. Her feigned compassion for such people, and her endless excuses, are revolting and degenerate.

But this is leftist piety.

Burnsie

Nope, you know who are the bad guys ? Munchkins.

Oh absolutely. Any feminist could tell you the "Lollipop Guild" is *clearly* a violent rape gang with "lollipop" a thinly veiled phallic reference.

They're white, male and predatory--isn't it obvious from that photo, people?

R. Sherman

But this is leftist piety.

Many, many years ago when I was a young attorney, I had to pay my dues by being appointed to represent parents and children in family court in a variety of cases in which the state was alleging abuse or neglect. In doing this, I had to deal with an endless parade of 20-something, freshly minted social work graduates of a uniform progressive outlook on life.

I saw this time and time again. On one hand, personal responsibility and accountability were excused because of "systemic inequality." On the other hand, parents whose fortunes had turned for the worse but who nevertheless were trying to regain a semblance of middle class life & independence were denounced for being insufficiently enamored with State interference and "help" in their lives.

Stated differently, if one embraced the State as "Father" and "Provider," one was praised. If one worked two or three jobs to get out of poverty and dependence and refused state monetary beneifts, one was made anathema for not caring for one's children.

I've seen it happen. I fought it on behalf of parents and children, to the point where I was no longer appointed in such cases. I made too big a stink. It was easier to appoint lawyers who were compliant than ones who cared about the law.

< / rant >

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Part of The Pentaverate, for sure.

No doubt, again there is no coincidence the secret country mansion in Colorado is spelled The Meadoz.

Damian

They are literal nazis.

Speaking of Nazi wee folk...

If there’s ever a holocaust of Jewish snails, gypsy earthworms, leftist aphids, and socially degenerate toads, we can’t say we weren’t warned. On the bright side, they don’t require nearly as much lebensraum, so maybe the Russian butterflies have nothing to worry about.

Damian

In other news: Vermont Man Builds A $4,000 Middle Finger Sculpture Pointed Directly At The Town Government.

David

Vermont Man Builds A $4,000 Middle Finger Sculpture Pointed Directly At The Town Government.

Support the arts!

Theo

The writer must be a look-forward-to for her shrinks. Egging her on would be a blast: "And what did you make of the shoes?" ... Times up. See you next week? Please.

Joe Ego

but why am I reading these messages into this film, at this moment?

Because Trump lives rent-free in your head, just like all the personalities using HW Bush's passing as an opportunity to jab at Trump?

So, I'll readily admit to not reading the article, but is anyone else bothered by the Wicked Witch using as one of her tools to take control of Oz a horde of flying... MONKEYS? Did this just slip past Bidisha's notice? Are we so far past the BLM heyday that its now fully eclipsed by Trump?

Spiny Norman

Are we so far past the BLM heyday that its now fully eclipsed by Trump?

Most assuredly.

Bad News Quillan

Here's even more Baby it's cold outside plus gang rape, gang!

-Bad News

Adam

Sam makes some excellent observations, but I have always had a feeling that Oz was a warning about toxic masculinity and the emptiness of American culture. I am pleased to see my intuitions validated.

Adam

Five year olds not potty trained?

I suggest applying for a Dept of Education grant to write curriculum for potty training to be incorporated as a comprehensive K-12 program to ensure that our High School graduates are fully prepared for the demands of bodily elimination in a diverse, inclusive, global multicultural society of the 21st Century. Special issues facing women, differently abled peoples, POC and LGBTQ communities in patriarchal and racist sanitation systems are explored.

Daniel Ream

I never saw WoO as a story of redemption

It's not. The story isn't about the Wizard. When I say that the Wizard is a bad guy, I don't mean that he's the antagonist of the story. But he is a charlatan and a deceiver, and it's Dorothy pulling back the curtain (literally) on his deception that convinces him of the futility of trying to maintain it. Redemption was perhaps a poor choice of words; it would be more accurate to say that Dorothy uncovers the truth behind the wizard's deception.

I really don't want to go down this particular rabbit hole, but yes, L. Frank Baum was an occultist, and Dorothy is the Fool of the Tarot on the Fool's Journey of self-discovery. Hence the dog.

Hal

I reject her premises, reject her reasons, and reject her conclusions.

I reject them in toto.

One of my favorites is the story of the pair of test pilots who wind up having a definitely complicated day. The current test plane Has Issues, where they're able to get it back to a runway, but during the landing one wing scrapes, and then tires blow, the other wing cartwheels as the fuselage pirouettes, the tail section breaks off, what's left of a wing heads for a different runway, and finally the front fifth of the plane rotates to face back up the runway as it scrapes to a halt.

The pilots stare out at the field of debris for awhile, and then finally the lead pilot comments to his Midwestern co-pilot that Kansas? I really don't think we're in toto anymore.

Hal

They are literal nazis.

Speaking of Nazi wee folk...

Under the Rainbow, Warner Brothers, 1981

Baceseras

So let me get this straight, the Wizard was an oculist, and Dorothy pulled back the curtain and made a spectacle of him -- and her wearing the Ruby Slippers, they were a pair of spectacles.

Thank you, I see it all clearly now,.

WTP

Thank you, I see it all clearly now

You know, after going through this a few times now I thought I might seek a woman's opinion, given that the hero is more accurately a heroine. I asked my wife what SHE thought the story was about. She said it was about a girl who gets hit on the head during a tornado and dreams some wild fantastic story about a witch and a wizard a bunch of little people called munchkins and her attempts to just go home, who eventually wakes up and discovers that it was all just a dream. It's not much but it is a pretty novel perspective.

Joseph W.

I thought the Merry Old Land of Oz's working hours sounded more European than American --

We get up at twelve, and start to work at one,
Take an hour for lunch, and then at two we're done...

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