Re: [mythsoc] Oz
- At 03:50 PM 3/3/2003 , Ernest wrote:
>In some alternate universe there is an Ernest Tomlinson who was born inIf he's like the Ernest I think I'm getting to know through this list, he
>1988, fell in love with Peter Jackson's movies and watched them again and
>again, and didn't read _The Lord of the Rings_ until 2005. There he is, but
>I haven't the slightest idea what to make of him.
reads the book in 2005 and says, "Wow, this is even better than the
movies!" Then he re-reads it and says, "You know, it's MUCH better than
The alternate David Bratman who hadn't read LOTR would probably not have
gone to see the Jackson films at all. He wouldn't think they would
interest him.* If someone dragged him anyway, he'd enjoy himself and then
either forget about it entirely, until one day he picked up the book out of
curiosity and be even more amazed than the alternate Ernest. He'd think,
"Why didn't someone tell me about Tolkien years ago?"
*The number of bad-to-mediocre sf and fantasy films that the real David
Bratman has seen only because he considers himself a science-fiction and
fantasy fan is depressingly large. Mind you, he's enjoyed many of them,
but even knowing that ahead of time would not have sent him to them if he
hadn't been going with friends. He almost didn't go to "Star Wars" at all
when it premiered, and had to be dragged there; his reaction on emerging
was "not bad". The number of sf/fantasy films he's seen that he actually
thought were good outnumbers the bad-to-mediocre ones only if you count
every episode of "The Prisoner" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" individually.
- In a message dated 3/3/2003 6:26:58 PM Central Standard Time,
> the real Davidhow sure are you that you're real?
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> Unlike almost everyone here, I'll wager, I didn't read any of Baum's booksNot so uncommon. Most kids seem to pass over them these days, and see Wizard of
> until a year or two after I saw _The Wizard of Oz_ for the first time.
Oz at a very young age. I am quite alone among all the people I know in having
read *all* of the Baum books before I saw the movie (I avoided the movie until I
was almost 12 because what I knew of it did not make me hopeful)
> I shouldn't like the "it was all a dream" gimmick. Did not Tolkien, in hisI think it worked for the audience. The movie was, I think, geared up towards
> essay on fairy-stories, call this sort of thing putting a good picture in a
> bad frame? Yet I think it works in _The Wizard of Oz_.
older people as well, and they wouldn't have accepted dorothy simply landing
outside the farm and running home. I think it was a necessary convention, but an
> There is a disquieting quality to Baum's writingWhich is why it made such a good children's book. There was that undercurrent of
> (although not nearly as depraved as Roald Dahl's.)
darkness and fear that children know so well
> I remember particularlyDorothy and the Wizard in Oz. I love those little boxes that hold... clouds?
> the scenes in the sequel where the "Wizard" reappears (can't remember the
> title of the book, I fear), and gets into trouble with a group of vegetable
rain? I don't remember.
In a scene both amusing and creepy, he fights a vegetable sorcerer
> by producing pieces of metal, joining them together to form a sword, andActually, the movie is much simpler. In the book, we see throughout the course
> with one stroke slicing the sorcerer in half.
> I was also disappointed how
> lame were the Wizard's gifts to Dorothy and her companions in his first Oz
> book, e.g. giving the Scarecrow a "bran-new [sic] brain". The movie is much
that, indeed, the scarcrow can reason quite well, the tin woodsman is quite
gentle and loving, and the cowardly lion is quite brave (to save his friends).
When they finally get to the wizard, he merely gives them objects which reflect
what they already have. He does the same in the movie, but I'm not sure why: we
don't actually know that these three have these qualities (Obviously, the
Scarcrow doesn't know math very well.)
There is, of course, the childish sense, especially with the Scarecrow's gift.
The "pins and needles" come in handy in later books when he has to think and
work out a problem.
> One former friend of mine, an older woman, appreciated the Oz film butSome people read too much into things. It's just a movie.
> thought it conveyed a bad message, especially about the role of women.
> Dorothy takes no direct action in the film; almost everything she does sheThat's the same case in the book. Baum was very much a beiever in good
> does by accident--"I was just trying to help!" she says a lot. Meanwhile
> we're encouraged into sympathy for the Wizard ("I'm a very good man, just a
> bad wizard") even though, in both Oz and Kansas, he's a liar and a phony.
I've always personally liked The Land of Oz. I boy turning into a girl? How
delightfully racy for 1907.
Jason M. Abels
"The world is coming down around our ears and you're sticking at a few
vampires!" - Ben Mears, _Salem's Lot_
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jason M. Abels" <jason@...>
Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2003 6:04 AM
Subject: RE: [mythsoc] Oz
> > I was also disappointed how
> > lame were the Wizard's gifts to Dorothy and her companions in his first
> > book, e.g. giving the Scarecrow a "bran-new [sic] brain". The movie is
> > cleverer.
> Actually, the movie is much simpler. In the book, we see throughout the
> that, indeed, the scarcrow can reason quite well, the tin woodsman is
> gentle and loving, and the cowardly lion is quite brave (to save his
> When they finally get to the wizard, he merely gives them objects which
> what they already have. He does the same in the movie, but I'm not sure
> don't actually know that these three have these qualities (Obviously, the
> Scarcrow doesn't know math very well.)
Well, isosceles triangles aside (an inexcusable lapse that "The Simpsons"
brilliantly lampooned once...ah, I remember when "The Simpsons" were funny,
but that was before your time, young whippersnapper), I disagree that the
movie fails to show us the Scarecrow's intelligence, the Tin Woodsman's
heart, and the Lion's courage. One of the first things that the Scarecrow
does is trick the talking trees into giving up some of their apples, and
later, he devises the plan that gets the three amigos into the Witch's
castle. The Tin Woodsman is _always_ a sentimental fool, weeping at every
opportunity. And the Lion, well..."I'll go in there for Dorothy. Wicked
Witch or no Wicked Witch. Guards or no guards, I'll tear 'em apart. I may
not come out alive, but I'm goin' in there." (He does then ask his friends
to talk him out of it, but he goes in anyway.)