Wizard At Odds

Tiny - Posted on 15 April 2014

Rommie Whittaker, PNN Correspondent

April 15, 2014

“Toto I’m beginning to get the feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore”- Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz

While strolling through Pacific Heights one afternoon I began to wonder if the manuscript for the “Wizard of Oz” was conceived during a ride through this the wealthiest neighborhood in America. I found out differently but then realized that the quickly changing pace of the city especially during the new technology boom has transformed the city into a bizzaro Wizard of Oz, a Wizard of Oz in the Twilight Zone if you will.

What makes it bizzaro is we are the ones who are lost like a slew of Dorothies while the political leadership takes on the roles of the other characters.

Let us begin by matching names to characters and the reasoning behind it, though some things aren't exact or even consistent.

We’ll start with the Scarecrow. That distinction would of course go to the mayor of our city, Ed Lee. It’s not that Mr. Lee is a complete moron but rather because, although he tries to be secretive with many of his schemes, it's not long before light is shed on them and the brains of them are figuratively knocked out.

Next in the role of the Tin Woodsman would be none other than Police Chief Greg Suhr. His cold piercing stare and desire to give his troops whatever they ask for or overlook any of their liabilities would suggest he doesn’t have a heart.

The Cowardly Lion would have to be Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. Reason being his claiming to be down with the people but afraid to speak up for them, even requesting a new jail to lock even more black and brown people in.

The Wicked Witch of the West is most definitely Kamala Harris who as local DA built her career on locking up 35 black people to every 1 white person and used her blackness as a reason to be elected State Attorney General!

Former SF Mayor and current Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom of course would be the Wizard! Why? you might ask? He is the “wizard” behind the scenes who put on the big production by placing Lee in his former spot, George Gascon in as police chief, and sitting while watching and waiting hoping to be ignored but all the while trying to get everyone to pay attention to the illusion.

But of course the lines aren’t always clearly defined and the roles and characters are often interchanged with State and Federal leaders.

In fact the original story “the Wonderful Wizard of Oz" written by L. Frank Baum and published in 1900 had its own political implications, some direct and some implied.

Baum apparently was a political activist in the 1890s .
There were in fact 3 different versions of the story: a novel in 1900, a Broadway play in 1901, and the famous Hollywood film in 1939.

Much of the political implications regarding the 3 versions of the story connect to visual images in the story line. Much of Baum's activism was in regard to silver and gold, and in the Broadway production he actually made reference to figures like then-President Theodore Roosevelt ( and yes at times Obama is the wiard!). The yellow brick road is a direct reference to the gold standard and the silver slippers (later became ruby slippers) reference the silvirite sixteen-to-one silver ratio.The cyclone that got Dorothy in Oz in the first place would suggest political upheaval much the same as the current tech boom that is causing a diaspora of sorts.

There's no place like home.... when are the ruby slippers gonna kick in?


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