Once in a lullaby

I don’t see anything clever in the cynic who detects a sordid undercurrent in every innocent fable. One of these characters turned up at the safari camp a few days ago. He had a doctorate in something-or-the-other and gave me some old tosh about Little Red Riding Hood being a psychosexual drama depicting the unconscious desire of the human female to be ravished by the leader of the pack. I suppressed a yawn and wondered why the fellow had travelled thousands of miles to hobnob with wild animals at this time of year, when respectable men were at home with their families, roasting chestnuts and impaling fairies on Christmas trees. But before I could formulate a conjecture on this conundrum, he said something that jolted me like an electric shock. The Wizard of Oz, he claimed, was an allegory for the pubescent girl who dreams of sexual initiation and libertine adventures with older men. Too stunned to respond to this bombshell, I returned to the jungle in a daze.

You can pluck out my arse-hairs with tweezers before I’ll accept that Miss Dorothy Gale was any kind of Lolita. She did have a wistful way of singing, I admit, but the only yearning in those big brown eyes was for the comforts of the hearthstone. There are times when a good girl really is a good girl rather than a saucy strumpet putting on an act to fool the Good Witch of the North. And which of her travelling companions were intent on despoiling her maidenly virtue? The lion was clearly impotent and the scarecrow was too busy stuffing himself to have any thoughts of perforating young Dorothy. As for the tin man… well it must be said that there was something sinister about him. Still waters run deep, and it wouldn’t have surprised me if those bland, metallic features had concealed a raging lust for dainty female flesh. It’s just as well that the other two were there as chaperones – no creature that rigid could ever be trusted with a homesick virgin.

Yet if anything, The Wizard of Oz errs of the side of naivety. The Wicked Witch of the West was dispatched far too easily for my liking. I’m no expert on these matters, but I’m fairly certain that a witch cannot be reduced to guacamole by emptying a bucket of water over her. Anyone knows that the witching business involves making evil potions in cauldrons of boiling water, so a hydrophobic witch would quite incapable of performing her trade. And being unable to wash, the old hag would have smelt worse than Satan’s armpits, allowing her victims to scent her downwind at two hundred metres. The evildoer must always have an Achilles heel, of course, but a vulnerability to being dissolved with a bottle of Evian is taking things to an absurdity. In reality, throwing water on witches simply annoys them and provokes them to do more mischief. Pretending otherwise is deluding children about the hard facts of life.

For all its flaws, The Wizard of Oz will always be a movie that stirs my sentimental soul. Those delightful Munchkins remind me of my circus days, when I juggled midgets and tossed dwarves for the entertainment of our cheerful patrons. The little people loved every minute of it, and I remember one dwarf who kept on pestering me to throw him higher. I eventually persuaded the trapeze team to chuck him off their rig, and you should have seen the look of terror on his gnomish face when I caught him just before he hit the ground! Never believe it when you hear that gorillas don’t feel nostalgia.

You have read this article with the title Once in a lullaby. You can bookmark this page URL http://celebrityapprenticey.blogspot.com/2006/12/once-in-lullaby.html. Thanks!