Oz in the News 8.21.14

p0253p1dThe Wizard of Oz: Five alternative readings  While some praise The Wizard of Oz for its spiritual insight, others have criticised it for ‘moral turpitude’. From the moment Baum’s book was published in 1900, ministers attacked it for its ungodly influence: in 1986, seven fundamentalist Christian families in Tennessee filed a lawsuit against the novel’s inclusion in the public school syllabus, arguing that it promotes the belief that human attributes are “individually developed rather than God given”. The group claimed that it is “theologically impossible” for a good witch to exist, with one parent saying: “I do not want my children seduced into godless supernaturalism”. Southern Baptists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson attempted to ban the film’s broadcast on TV in 2004. Robertson claimed, “the Almighty told me that flying monkeys and witches are an affront to all good Christians.”

No Oz Fest this year in Tinley Park  There’s no chance to see the wizard this year in Tinley Park. The festival tentatively was planned for Sept. 19 to 21 on park district property south of the 80th Avenue Metra station as well as Veterans Parkway and some state land just west of the former Tinley Park Mental Health Center. Dave De John, organizer of the Midwest Wizard of Oz Festival, said plans now are to shoot for bringing the festival to the village sometime next year.

Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword Puzzle  Everyone loves “The Wizard of Oz,” so building a theme around it seems like a good idea. And probably could be. I didn’t think this idea worked very well, though. Even more than yesterday’s, today’s theme just isn’t tight, clean, crisp. Dorothy wanted to go home … right? Am I remembering that right? To say that DOROTHY went to OZ to find a brain, courage, and a heart is to abbreviate the plot of the story in an absurd way. She wants to find those things *only* because of the three characters she meets on the way to OZ. In fact, when she sets out, those items are Not on her mind at all. So without the Scarecrow and Tin Man and Bert LAHR, this theme feels hollow, incomplete, weird. Nevermind that IBM’s Watson seems like it should be “artificial” intelligence (a real phrase) instead of ARTIFICIAL BRAIN (a phrase I’ve never heard) and that all ONE’S make me a little queasy. The DOROTHY / HEROINE bit in the middle is kind of a nifty trick. I wonder if HEROINE wasn’t one of those dumb-luck discoveries that constructors sometimes stumble into—a bonus theme-related answer you realize belatedly that you can build around existing themers.

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