Wicked! Things are NOT as they seem.

Jan 31, 2012

Often things are not as they first appear. This was point of the hit Broadway play Wicked.  My wife, Kimberly, and I, went to see this show in New York City and we walked away very satisfied and at the same time, moved by this not so subtle message.

 

The show was based on the popular children’s story The Wizard of Oz. It was a prequel and a postquel of sorts, that told a story with very different implications than those popularized in the 1939 movie version. It portrayed the Wicked Witch (whose name in Wicked was Elphaba) as a wise and caring person both gifted with magical powers and cursed with a different skin color.  She also was imbued with a powerful sense of right and wrong. Elphaba struggled with life in part due her father’s rejection but also as a result of sweeping societal prejudice that valued an increasingly narrow subset of the preferred “people” of Oz.

Once she was sent off to University (primarily to care for her physically disabled sister), Elphaba showed great potential as a sorcerer.  However, she was outside the norm.  She just did not fit in – she was smart, her skin was green (as a result of her mother’s consumption of an illicit drug when she was conceived), and she questioned the morays of the day.  Essentially, because she was different, she was bullied.  She also threatened those in power because of her assertions for justice.

 

The twists and turns of Elphaba’s University experience both alienated her further and highlighted rampant and unappreciated societal injustices. Ultimately, due to these sweeping and strengthening ideological changes, as well as Elphaba’s own deeds (as righteous as they were), she was labeled the equivalent of a terrorist.  Concurrently, a closer look at the Wizard revealed his sheepish compliance with the up swell of prejudicial ideology.  It became apparent that not only was the Wizard of Oz merely a man behind the curtain pulling the strings of the idyllic Wizard, but that he was more of a naive puppet himself, both riding the tide of ideology and sustained by those with true power.

 

There is much more to Wicked that tells the back story of the characters and situations in the Wizard of Oz.  It was a clever story, entertaining in it’s own right, but much more than just a story.  It clearly serves as a social commentary about the ideological tendencies and injustices of our unique economic and social policies.

 

If one looks past the white washed American History spoon fed school children throughout our land, one will discover unpleasant, if not deeply troubling realities carried out by our government and corporations in the name “freedom.”  All you have to do is look at the facts underneath the story and you may be shocked by what we have done in foreign lands. Our popular media outlets, owned by corporate interests, also white wash these events.  It is indeed alarming to learn what the rest of the world knows of our endeavors in places like Iran, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Ecuador, Panama, Chile, Argentina, and Columbia.   Most Americans know nothing of it.

 

Democrats as well as Republicans have been active players in these atrocities.  Its about globalization, free trade, and unabated profit seeking.  It’s about the Corporatocracy that we embrace without question.  I’m not suggesting a conspiracy – it’s rather a consequence of a way of thinking and our ravenous consumption.  It takes courage and substantial effort to suspend one’s nationalistic tendencies and the presumptuous notions of American Exceptionalism.  I dare you to take a closer look (here, or here, or read this and perhaps this).  You won’t like it – really it is Wicked!

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