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Why The Wizard of Oz Should be Rated NC-17

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So if no one loves the Tin Man, his heart is no good? What does this say to children of unloving and/or undemonstrative parents? You’re “less than” because the people around you don’t love you? Well, what else would you expect from a sociopathic con man/politician? He thrives on other people’s love but has none to give himself.

Psychologically damaging maxims aside, by this point Oz does seem, at last, ready to make good on his promise to take Dorothy home. Right.

When the balloon ascends sans Dorothy and Toto, and she screams “Come back!”, Oz’s words are “I can’t come back. I don’t know how it works.” So had Dorothy actually gone with this murderous fraud, would they have wandered through the skies forever? In all likelihood, he would have thrown her out of the basket at his earliest opportunity. This “good” man is an unrepentant liar, a coward, and an attempted murderer.

By the way, keep your eyes open during this sequence and you’ll see Tin Man loosening the ropes anchoring the balloon to the podium. In his heart, he knows that Oz (the man) is bad, and that Oz (the country) is better off without him.

Dream On

Some people have complained that the movie doesn’t buy into the “reality” of the Oz books – namely, that Oz is an actual place. They object that unimaginative Hollywood demanded that Dorothy’s fantastical adventures be explained within a logical framework, the lazy writer’s “it was just a dream” gimmick. I used to agree, but after many many viewings am coming around to a different view. The disjunctions and fallacies I’ve outlined have the logic of a dream, where a journey can seem both endless and quick, and where people speak in riddles and nonsense that is accepted as good common sense.

But dreams are also where we find truths that are hidden in plain sight, just as Dorothy does. The biggest truth is one that would be adopted by a later generation: never trust anyone in a position of authority. They are either straightforwardly evil (West); seemingly good but with their own agendas (Glinda); or dangerous liars (Oz).

Just as the adults in the film’s “real” world fail Dorothy, quailing before Miss Gulch’s canine-hating power, so do the “adults” in Oz. Dorothy is the real power in both worlds, because she questions their authority. When her questions bring only bad answers, she takes action by running away.

I take back what I said at the beginning. Keep the G rating. Children should watch The Wizard of Oz as often as they like. Hopefully they will spot what frauds and fakers grownups are, well before they become compromised adults themselves.

About Grinning Cat

  • Cary G.

    Interesting analysis, thought provoking, fun and humorous!

  • David Byrd

    Brilliant! Stunningly conceived and put forth. Kudos to you, Dear Boy

  • George VanDyke

    You probably slipped one into your mouth!