(in which it is driven home that word choice matters, even when discussing American cultural archetypes….)
Today with my course assistant, talk turns to our next humor-as-therapy class. Last class meeting, our group decides in a future class to watch The Wizard of Oz as an object lesson for identifying instances of destructive & constructive humor. I mention that, from a selection of 30 DVDs purchased for the program, their choice of this particular film surprises me.
“Bill, you can only see it on cable. THAT’S why they wanna see it.”
“Yeah, but it was weird. That was the first film I mentioned, and I suggested it as a joke, really. But then every hand went up.”
“They miss it.”
Talk then turns to the performance of Judy Garland. My assistant mentions that MGM originally wanted Shirley Temple for the role of Dorothy Gale. I said that, as an old man, I now respond to her character from the point-of-view of a protective father.
“FYI — I won’t be able to see this film without tearing up.”
“Bill, I tear up at almost everything now. TV, books, movies, don’t matter. I’m a big lush.”
<pause> “So, you’re a drunkard now? Since when?”
<laughs> ” Oh! I thought it meant you cry easily!”
“What you mean to say is ‘I’m a wuss.’ ”
“–who likes drinking to excess.”
<laughs> “Yeah! I’m just a big lush!”
“You probably will!”
Pruno. Hooch. Home Brew. And the score of other jailhouse nicknames for sugared fruit left out on the window sill to ferment into alcohol. I doubt anyone’ll be drunk while OZ is playing. Not even the ‘big lush,” who’ll be too busy crying.
How would you write the Authorization to Enter form?
“ITEM TO BE BROUGHT IN: Pink Floyd CD to use as soundtrack to Wizard of Oz.” They’d call a Code 99 & truck me away.
Unless they’re fans of the Trailer Park Boys.