So over the rainbow: a noir interview

Say, whatever happened to all those characters from Oz?

Glad you asked.

We know what happened to Dorothy: she went back home and became an overworked farm wife, bitterly comparing her tedious life to her great adventure in Oz. After her initial relief at getting back home so easily, Kansas just didn’t stack up anymore. She eventually moved to Chicago and worked in a baby buggy factory, sadly ironic, because, unbeknownst to her at the time, the Wicked Witch of the West had cast a sterilization spell on her. She died penniless and miserable.

That’s so sad!  What about the Tinman? He got his heart, didn’t he?

Well, yes. But as a result, he couldn’t help feeling the pain of all the people around him, and took to weeping almost all the time. The end came when he learned of Dorothy’s fate in Chicago. He just couldn’t stop crying. Finally, with all those wet tears rolling down his face, and into his joints, he rusted clean away, poor thing. Had he only wished for a brain, he could have seen that coming, and taken steps to avert it.

Huh. But the Scarecrow? He did get the brain, right? So, he must have turned out okay.

Yes, and things did look good at first. But, since he didn’t have a heart, he became arrogant, thinking he was better than all those idiots out there. Not a way to make friends, I’m afraid.

But still, he made it, right?

Well, no. His arrogance so infuriated his neighbors that they set him on fire, and, being made mostly of straw, he went up like a roman candle. Proving, if proof was needed, that burning out isn’t any better than rusting, after all, rock stars notwithstanding.

Well, at least the lion must have made it.

Indeed he did.

So, he didn’t die a miserable death?



Not necessarily. See, with no brains and no heart, and no longer afraid, he started bullying everyone around him, and since he was a lion, there wasn’t much they could do. Eventually, the people with brains and hearts got together and figured out a way to capture him.

What did they do with him?

Some brainy people wanted to kill him, thinking it was the only way to be rid of him for good, but others saw an opportunity to study him, so that they’d be ready if another courageous lion happened by. It was the people with hearts who made the difference, because they refused to let him be killed. As a compromise, they declawed him and pulled all his teeth. Now he lives in a cage, because the brainy people are afraid he’ll run away before they get a chance to study him.

Wow. Didn’t the people with hearts try to release him?

No. With no claws and no teeth, how could he survive?

Tradition under fire?

White Christian males in America have forever been the gold standard of uprightness. They have assumed that their beliefs, traditions and moral compasses have defined the values of the nation. They have seen themselves as the epitome of all that is right and good in America, or indeed, the world, and the measure of all that is evil has been the extent of deviation from their cherished beliefs.  They have seen themselves as righteous enforcers of these principles, guardians of beauty and goodness, arbiters of social place, gatekeepers of heaven.

Never mind that these values have changed substantially since the foundation of the country. Never mind that they once included the right to enslave any human being of a culture they deemed inferior and a set of superficial features they found lacking. Never mind that they included, in my own lifetime, the right to execute summary injustice upon those same formerly enslaved people for having the audacity to behave as if they were equal. Never mind that, even today, a whole set of dubious “rights” is invoked in the repression of those people.

Never mind that, despite a constitution which claims all are equal, these ideals include the right to exclude anyone who differs from the prestige demographic from those very rights.

Of course they’re furious. Of course they’re frightened, convinced their cultural and moral hegemony is being mortally threatened.

They’re right; it is, and good riddance.