Wednesday, December 20, 2006

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.

"...the unconscious desire of the human female to be ravished by the leader of the pack."

As a little girl in the woods my own desires were, if not fully formed, certainly conscious. Mostly they involved Cliff Richard leaping from behind a tree and serenading me with "Summer Holiday" while The Shadows accompanied him from the surrounding bushes, but the developing mind throws up all sorts of disturbing thoughts.

As far as ravishing goes I believe I would occasionally fantasize about Sir Cliff clasping me to him tightly with a closed mouth kiss that lasted dizzyingly long, while The Shadows strummed along with "Apache". Wolves didn't come into it, although I did have a dog.

Sometimes a little girl alone in the woods is unconsciously just a little girl alone in the woods, who may or may not have an inexplicable Cliff Richard thing. Your friend is talking out of his arse.
On the other hand, Sam, there is something about those pigtails. And don't forget the gingham. I mean to say, she's positively asking for it, dressed like that...

Fortunately, if David Niven is to be believed, she went on to get quite a lot of it in later life.
I agree with Sam. To quote Freud, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."

GB, I agree regarding the witch. But I must say, the movie did succeed in putting the fear of tornadoes into all of us children in Middle America. I still have nightmares.

But how do you explain the flying monkeys?

I believe the monkeys were flying under duress, Randall. The witch scared them into it.

I agree with you and Sam that sex has nothing to do with these stories. I blame Freud for inventing the idea of the "unconscious" desire. You can't prove you don't have them because they're unconscious, which means that Sam would have to use her rolling pin to win the argument.
I think if she'd used Highland Spring Water rather than Evian, she could have gained a valuable sponsorship deal, like the snooker players.
Maybe the water was sourced from some tailings dam?
Anyway, I think the lion was gay so he couldn't have ravished Dorothy if he'd tried, unless she was dolled up like Jake Shears maybe.
As for the monkeys, some sort Darwinian wet dream perhaps?
I find the whole damned story creepy myself, now thanks to you it's stuck in my head, haunting my subconscious for the rest of the day.
" and tossed dwarves for the entertainment of our cheerful patrons." Gosh! I have such a dirty mind -or maybe I have been reading Footeater to much.
I thought about Highland Spring, Kim, but it seemed more suitable for the witches in MacBeth.

Zuba, if you really want to forget the monkeys, just imagine the witch flying naked on a broomstick.

Gorillas aren't that way about dwarves and midgets, Shebah. Elves are another story...
I could……
While away the hours,
Sniffin’ all the flowers,
And reading all your posts,
And my head I'd be scratchin',
While my thoughts were busy hatchin',
If I only had a brain.

Somewhere over the rainbow, monkeys fly,

I first saw TWOO when I was seven or eight at the cinema. The big screen’s the place for it. Brilliant. I’ve been a confirmed Friend of Dorothy ever since, although like the word ‘gay,’ I believe that the Homosexualist Brigade have commandeered that phrase for their filthy doings as well.
The old Tin Man is giving Dorothy a bit of a look-over in the picture, isn't he? Did the picture inspire the post, GB?
Nothing escapes your eagle eye, Tarzan. I hope you're a friend of Dorothy like Dr Maroon.
Hooray - "The Wizard of Goth". Now that's true Xmas pleasure, right up there with Mary Poppings (sic).

Feliz Navidad Gorilla - and say hello to Sigourney if you happen across her in the mist
I sometimes feel a bit like Dorothy myself. Only instead of a cowardly lion, a tin man and a scarecrow I've got a reclusive gorilla, a Teutonic Twat, and an itinerant eco-warrior. "Somewheeeeere over the Channel, pigs will fly ...."

Merry Christmas GB and I wish you lots of bananas and peace in your rainforest in 2007.
Thanks Daphne. May you, in turn, have all the sausage you desire for breakfast, lunch and supper.

Spanishgoth, I'll pass on your good wishes to Sigourney if she comes over to trim my chest hairs.
Lot of friggin activity on this blog for the last Saturday before Kerstmis, why aren't you guys out scouring H.Samuel for some bling for your womenfolk??
Merry, merry Christmas to you, Sir Nanas! I love it here at the Japing Ape and reading your posts is always a treat. Every best wish for the new year coming and have a lovely time on Monday, sweetie-pie.
Merry Christmas to you dearest Sam.

Daphne, the activity is an illusion: just a small band leaving comments on a whim.

I'm writing a story for Christmas Day which has nothing to do with Christmas. I feel a little guilty about it, but I'm going to post it anyway.
Happy Christmas, GB
Pass from happy spend and are happy in this end of the year.

In a friendly way
Thanks Kim and Dip-Doc. Same to you.
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