What the Great and Powerful Oz tells us about The Donald: or How a Carnival Showman Rides an Angry Talking Head to Power

by wlancehunt in Uncategorized

Near the end of Dorothy’s long journey in the Land of Oz, she and her companions improbably return before the Great and Powerful Oz carrying the burnt remains of the Witch of the West’s broom, proof that they succeeded in the Herculean task he’d set for them. He tosses off a quip about liquidating her and then tells them to come back the next day.

Despite the flashing lights, and the thundering voice of the glowering green head that floats over billowing green smoke, Dorothy bravely asks that he keep his promises of courage, brains, and heart and, for her, a return to the way things had been before her strange adventure.

Wroth at her impudence, the great green talking head consumes the screen, blusters, outraged that anyone dares challenge him. Scornfully, Oz spews more threats, trying to bully them into leaving.

As the four heroes stand speechless in front of the spectacle, the little dog Toto investigates a curtain hanging discretely off to the side of the angry green face. All the while the “Great and Powerful Oz” thunders that they should be glad to be invited tomorrow and not in twenty years, dismissing them yet again.

But by now, Toto has dragged back the curtain, revealing nothing more than a man in a suit, busy yanking leavers, twisting knobs, and pulling at a microphone.

Desperate to keep his game afloat, he commands they “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”

So the talking head distracts, and dissembles and threatens until the man is forced to admit he’s really nothing more than a carnival act, a lost balloonist from the Miracle Wonderland Carnival Company who has stumbled upon a great, self-serving trick. He describes how to fool a whole country with little more than a microphone, a talking head, and prodigious bluster.

Sound familiar? Like the former reality TV celebrity whose angry, blustering head has been filling up screens around the country with its vitriol, insults and pompous promises, such as compelling Mexico to build a wall for him, and making the world’s largest economy great again? A man who is hiding that he’s not much more now than an entertainer, with several bankruptcies to his name, his failed school under investigation for fraud, a man who dissembles, insults and threatens whenever he is called to prove his actual worth or provide details on his plans.

Yes, folks, the failed carnival showman who finds himself in Oz and uses theatrical effects to create the illusion he’s a great and powerful wizard has leapt from the movies and landed in our lives in the form of a reality show star. Who now finds himself navigating the strange, but real world of politics—The Donald.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in a Hollywood movie. Toto can’t reveal The Donald as a fiction created by the media, and there won’t be a happy ending unless he’s exposed as the shock jock style carny he actually is.

Warren Buffet put it best when calling The Donald out on lying about why he won’t reveal his tax returns, the proof of his actual wealth: “You’re only afraid if you’ve got something to be afraid about. He’s not afraid because of the IRS. He’s afraid because of you.”

Indeed, The Donald is afraid that his followers will finally get a chance to look behind his curtain of bombast, of lies, insults, and threats.

And that’s the one thing The Donald can’t allow to happen: the truth about him to be known.

Postscript: to be clear, One Candle in the Darkness is not directly a political blog, nor is it ‘liberal’ in the sense that word has come to mean. Rather, it will explore and examine the rising tide of Medievalism. How “stupidity has become a virtue in the land of the free” (as Charles Pierce puts in his Greetings from Idiot America), and how worldwide fundamentalism and orthodoxies have succeeded in marching swaths of humanity away from the gains of the Enlightenment.

Some of the topics explored in One Candle in the Darkness are

  • science, less the breakthroughs, and new applications than the process of science;
  • stupidity and ignorance in their many faces, including that most insidious form called dogma;
  • religion and other superstitions;
  • and how games can explain the rise of ISIS, fundamentalism, militia groups and a host of other modern ills
  • the process of self-publishing
  • and the adventures of A Perfect Blindness, a self-published novel, in the real world

The choice of Mr. Trump as the subject of this first post illustrates this new Medievalism in action. The Donald feeds on the credulity of a growing population here in the US that suspects anyone who actually knows the facts, and would rather trust a TV talking head that answers questions about how he knows things with, “I Just Feel It.”

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