What's the Matter with Munchkinland?

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In The Independent Review, Quentin Taylor tries to rehabilitate the thesis that The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is an allegory about Populism. Left unaddressed: the amazing synchronicities that unfold if you read the "cross of gold" speech while listening to Dark Side of the Moon.

[Via Karen De Coster.]

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  1. The Wizard of Oz was the “Team America” of its time.

    By the way, wasn’t “crucify mankind on a cross of gold” a little hyperbolic?
    “Mankind” was only some silver miners after all.

  2. I was assigned Littlefield’s essay in my American History class in tenth grade – it was an interesting exercise, but unfortunately ruined the fairytale essence of the story for me.

    When later, friends and I sat around with a head full of acid and sat down for the Pink Floyd / Wiz experiment, I kept trying to bring up the populism aspect (and Floyd’s later album, “Animals” connection to Orwell’s “Animal Farm”) while everyone else was trying to get down, mannn.

  3. Are you guys implying that Waters ever made any sense? I mean, sorry about your dad, Roger, but give me a fuckin’ break.

    And I already had my say on the revisionist readings in the Seuss thread, so I’ll leave this alone before someone starts yelling “propaganda!”

    😉

  4. America, FUCK YEAH!

  5. Isaac:

    To be honest, I’m ignorant of Orwell’s true politics. But isn’t Animal Farm a scathing indictment on the Soviet Union, hence the failure of communism?

  6. joe:

    My point is that I don’t think the left has any legit claim on “Animal Farm” or “1984” except for honest self-reflection.

    Fascism and Totalitarianism, though both horrific enemies to individual freedom, exist on completely opposit ends of the political spectrum. I think it’s important to differentiate between the two.

  7. Waters was obsessed with the insanity of Syd Barrett and if you hear his lyrics in that context they sometimes make more sense.

    Wizard of Oz was a terrible movie. It scared the crap out of me as a little kid and to this day I find no redeeming social value in it. I won’t even let my kids watch it. Bleah!

  8. Oh sorry, Syd Barret was the original lead guitarist who David Gilmore replaced. He had been spiraling downward for quite some time and finally went ’round the bend one night. He simply walked off the stage and into mental illness and to my knowledge is still in the looney bin. Some say drugs, others say acid, others say pressure coupled with inherent instability.

  9. The scenes with the witch and flying monkies scared the fuck out of me when I was a kid, too.

    But WOZ, to me, is the most significant accidental masterpiece outside of Casablanca.

    Plus, the Darkside experiment is really fun. Just be sure to hit “play” at the third roar 🙂

  10. How does one establish and maintain a totalitarian order without a good dose of fascicm?

  11. I always thought the WOZ/Darkside experiment blew. Of course, I have no affinity for either.

  12. wellfellow:

    For the experiment to really work, it’s not so much a matter of “blow”, but “inhale”, if you know what I mean 🙂

  13. How on earth did anyone stumble on the Dark Side of the Rainbow in the first place?

  14. I like Floyd but I’m STILL not watching that dam movie, Dark Side soundtrack or not.

  15. The Wizard of Oz was the “Team America” of its time.

    By the way, wasn’t “crucify mankind on a cross of gold” a little hyperbolic?
    “Mankind” was only some silver miners after all.

    Comment by: Ruthless at August 5, 2005 10:57 AM

    Farmers too. The populists thought inflating the currenct would ease the farming depression.

  16. RC:

    This is the stuff of folklore, but I’m thinking back in the 70s, the mix of headphones, grass, and WOZ regularly broadcasted (every Halloween?), it was inevitable.

    It’s been suggested that Roger Waters screened the WOZ (with the sound off) while the album was edited. From what I understand, he never confirmed or denied that rumor. Smart guy.

  17. My favorite experiment moment:

    Right when Dorothy opens the door and you first see the land of Oz, “Money” comes on right on cue..

    and then when Gilmore sings “Don’t give me that do goody goody BULLSHIT” the witch Glenda appears.

  18. Does it make anyone else sad that in the late 1800s, the major populist issue was monetary policy? And now it’s… um… gay people and the 10 commandments?

  19. I read several years ago that indeed L. Frank Baum was a populist back when. He apparently wrote several essays calling for world peace and such. He also wrote several editorials for a South Dakota paper which basically called for the extermination of the Indians. Like many of his type at the time Baum’s vision of Utopia was reserved for the white race. For other expressions of this attitude see also Jack London.

  20. Fascism and Totalitarianism, though both horrific enemies to individual freedom, exist on completely opposit ends of the political spectrum.

    Actually, Totalitarianism is just a descriptive term. It’s just an authoritarian state where the government is capable of monitoring everything that goes on and acting against anyone who is not in compliance with the laws of said state. The Nazis weren’t totalitarian, but it wasn’t for lack of trying, and they still managed to come pretty damn close. The Soviets had better tech and the same will to control, so they were successful where the Nazis failed, and they, along with the East Germans and arguably the Chinese, are still the only nations to ever be really totalitarian. Most of the rest of the Communist states, along with the fascist franchises we started in Central America and elsewhere, have had varying degrees of success, owing to their lack of ability to exercise extended control over the populace. It’s not a good place for a government to be, because it involves treating every single one of your citizens as a potential enemy. That makes it unfeasible for most smaller countries, as well as any nation with more than one ethnic or social group.

  21. “Waters was obsessed with the insanity of Syd Barrett and if you hear his lyrics in that context they sometimes make more sense.”

    WRT, Waters’ obsession with Barrett’s supposed insanity, Waters might have been the one who dropped too much acid.

    Syd Barrett has been spending his days taking long walks. He does not seem to be insane, at least not in the way the requires confinement, but he is bald.

    Sorry ’bout this hellishly long URL ( easier to go to goolge->images and type “Syd Barrett” )

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