Around this time most Sundays I end up in a bad mood. Having succumbed to the temptation and perusing the papers, I’m left with a furrowed brow and a niggling sense of despair. Hence – notwithstanding Leinsters narrow cut to make another final – this latest brant (kind of a blog, but mostly a rant).
Frank L Baum, in his brief intro to the Wizard of Oz, claimed his tale was merely; a ‘Modern Fairy-tale’ bereft of stereotypes and morality. This was within April 1900 and was a barefaced lie. A newspaper editor and satirist, he blatantly and evidently used this vehicle to show up, condemn, question and enlighten us on some of the pressing political and economic questions of the 1890’s. Fiat currency and the gold standard being chief among his concerns. This was written after all, after a deep depression, when ordinary folk began to question their elites.
A reasonably popular book, it was much later immortalised in the 1939 Warner Brothers film, which rather fittingly; was made when America was emerging from the great depression and tooling up for WWII. Many academics and commentators have picked up on the not so hidden underlying themes of Franks little fairy-tale. I didn’t wish to plough furrowed ground but have, briefly, in a synopsis of some of the chief protagonists and features of the story. Any or all of which can be googled in far greater detail.
This parable takes an orphan – Dorothy, from Kansas, via a tornado to Oz and documents her adventurous quest to get home.
Possible symbolic representation of characters:
Dorothy – The common person, wholesome if a little naive.
Scarecrow – Farmer/ man of straw – Legal entity used for governance and control.
Tin man – Industrial worker, commuter.
Lion – Politicians – Full of bluster.
Emerald City – Green backed paper dollar/Washington.
Yellow Brick Road – Gold standard, money supply.
Ruby Slippers – Silver in the book, alternative currency.
Oz – Measurement of weight of gold.
Poppys/Snow – Opiates/Cocaine
Toto – Latin ‘all together’, exposer of scams.
Flying monkeys – Lawyers.
The Wizard – The president in alleged ‘power’.
Witch – Malign forces enslaving the masses.
Yeah and…? You might well ask. Sadly, much of the malice in today’s world can be traced directly back to the issues this book tried to highlight two centuries ago.
Thus, ruining my Sunday afternoon.
Now, it just so happens that we designed and are currently financing and building a Wizard of Oz Sanctuary show garden in Bloom, open to the guts of 100,000 people in three weeks time. Of course, it’s first and foremost a fairy-tale that, being a walk through garden, will be a delight to children and families.
The not so subtle subtext will be that, and I make no apologies for it, it’s a stage from which to exhibit and sell my services i.e. synthetic lawns. I am however compelled to not just leave it at that. In Ireland today there are far too many hurlers on the ditch. It behoves me, that as a father to two young children, a small businessman and a citizen of a country I deeply love, to use this opportunity and this garden to ask a few questions about what’s going on and to draw a few parallels with banks, high finance, governance and the good and ills of society.
Soooooooo, my next blog might be a feather ruffler , but what the hell : My Sunday was ruined.