[Marxism] Ding Dong, the Witch is dead a song for the picket lines
davecq at yahoo.com
Sat Apr 13 15:54:09 MDT 2013
While this is certainly "an" interpretation, it is not "the" interpretation. Baum wrote a children's book. While he did have some connection to the radical republicans (through his mother iirc), he wasn't writing a political allegory and smuggling it into the children's lit section of libraries. (And even with allegories, I think the only wise thing to do when one's find out what the author's intentions were is to make a note, add the author's interpretations to the list of others, and move on. Authors don't control of determine the meaning of their works.) In any case, Newsinger gets the "standard" political interpretation slightly wrong: the lion was supposed to be soldiers, and the wizard Bryan. (Or maybe I got the wrong "standard.") But why the film should care about the bygone Bryan, which was given a modern dust-bowl setting, is a mystery.
There is a whole host of very interesting things to say about Baum and his series and the tradition of popular children's fiction. Were Newsinger's deterministic interpretation correct ("the" correct one), then I think it would be a poorer and shallower work. (Indeed, if "correct" interpretations of literature/art were possible, I don't think I would see the point in art at all.)
On the subject of the song, what the whole Thatcher thing has reminded me of was how fucking great it was to celebrate the death of an oppressor who so obviously deserved it. Seriously, the munchkins dance on her grave! Offscreen, munchkins are pissing on her socks and posting pics to FB. We need to revive that kind of unapologetic moral culture and I'm glad it's happened with/to Thatcher. My only regret is that the parties we had when Reagan finally croaked were small, private "ha-ha-wink-wink-aren't-we-radical" type of affairs. Though I wonder what would have happened had the pretzel actually finished GWB back in the day, I think Obama has rehabilitated him and his policies to the point where few would openly celebrate. We can always try though. :)
On Apr 13, 2013, at 4:31 PM, En Passant with John Passant wrote:
> The Wizard of Oz is a film about politics, celebrating liberation. It is a reworking for the 1930s of L Frank Baum's novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published in 1900. In Baum's children's book, the Tin Man represents the working class, the Scarecrow the small farmer, the Cowardly Lion the populist leader, William Jennings Bryan, the Wicked Witch is big business and the Wizard himself is the US government. In the novel, Dorothy has silver shoes, the populist panacea, but in the film, her shoes are red. One of the film's anthems, "Ding Dong, the Witch Is Dead", was to be sung on picket lines.
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