Andrea Morisette Grazzini

CEO, WetheP, Inc.


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Who should be more feared. Lions & Tigers & Bears? Or, the Men Behind the Curtains?

The iconic movie The Wizard of Oz premiered August 15, 1939.

it's contributions to cinematic innovation, social identity and philosophical concepts are numerous, if not, uncountable.

Beyond visuals so vivid they can't be missed, the story communicates subtle, often highly sophisticated, themes of human experience and emotion. And how these, engaged with co-relational discoveries and collective action, can result in shared understandings of unseen realities. Specifically: critical truths belied by otherwise accepted facades and conspiratorial agents that undermine common experiences and understandings.

Two pivotal transformations occur in the story that show how appearances can deceive.
-- First are scenes in which Dorothy encounters the heretofore scary characters of the lion, scarecrow and tin man. All, far more flawed than fearsome, as it turns out.
-- Second is the scene in which the powerful Wizard of Oz is revealed to be not only flawed, (just as the others), but more ominously: to be highly manipulative. Playing them, as he does, by amplifying their fears in his efforts to control society.

Contexts in which the original book, the original movie and it's iteration "The Wiz," say much about why the story resonates with so many.

Each was produced during times of civic disparity. Times when gaps between poor and rich were significantly magnified, due to the amplification of fears, fomented and abetted by hidden agents pulling strings that maximized rich privilege by playing on common-fears. From behind closed doors--figuratively or literally.

Given all this and parallels to the times we're in now, it seems prudent to revisit Qs The Wizard of Oz cues up, like:

1. Who should be feared more: Those who coercively communicate, in plain site? Or those who manipulate, beyond common view?
AND --
2. What's more important: Revealing those who conspire to corrupt? Or, facing challenges with efforts that "un-suppress" individual and collective power?

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    Aug 16 2012: Stay in Kansas where there are no lions, tigers, bears, or men behind curtains. If some catclysm beyond your control hurls you into the mean, hard world then trust nobody except your dog. Fearsome things may actually be empty threats. Friendly appearing things may actually be hostile. Try to help others when you can. Always try to get back to Kansas.
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      Aug 16 2012: Edward,

      Some might argue that Kansas occasionally harbors powerful hidden people, pulling strings.

      And that empty threats, reacted to with fear can become fearsome; and hostile things, reacted to with friendliness can become friendly.

      In any case, it is good advice to help whenever possible. And, never forget that home is where we are reminded our humanness was conceived.

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        Aug 16 2012: In reverse order:
        -Home is where the heart is.- rolls off the tongue much easier than, -Home is where we are reminded our humanness was conceived.-
        As a card-carrying pessimist and a curmudgeon I do not advise the technique of trying to turn hostility into friendliness by being friendly. Henry Ward Beecher said fear is a kind of bell. . . it is the soul's signal for rallying. Life, especially outside of Kansas, is a place of warranted fear. The wicked witch is deceptive and dependably malicious. What matters is effective threat assessment.
        Dorothy's Kansas was, for her, a safe, sound, place. Auntie Em should have had a storm cellar.
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          Aug 16 2012: I understood Andrea to say that hostility can sometime be turned to friendliness rather than that hostility can always be turned to friendliness. I agree that threat assessment is a good thing, though there is evidence that humans tend not to be very good at it, over-fearing some things and under-fearing others.
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          Aug 16 2012: Edward,

          Fritzie's explanation gets at my intent.

          While I agree with you, being friendly doesn't always achieve transformations in hostile situations. There are times it does. Depends on numerous variables.

          In my view, it's worth a try. If nothing else, as others observe the effort, if positions attempting friendliness as alternative to meeting hostility with hostility or with abandonment of the situation. Neither of which are always practical or prudent. In fact, my preference, is to take a position of "staying in relationship," with due caution if called for. In time, as in Oz, things become clearer on all sides.

          Which, as Fritzie notes, jibes with your view that: effective threat assessment is of significant value, when possible.

          I've seen all these scenarios work, in various situations. Though I've yet to have visited Oz. There are days that I do wonder if some places aren't functionally Oz-ish.

          All this said, I do think it is fair to say there are seasons--sometimes quite long--when certain folks are, like the wicked witch, as you say: "dependably malicious."

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        Aug 16 2012: No disagreement here Andrea. If the threat is real but cannot be assessed (like the man behind the curtain) then assume the worst. If a peaceful solution is arranged, Hallelujah! We made a new friend! I am more wary of the unseen potential threat than of the observable. I think the courageous thing to do is to make every effort to "reveal those who conspire to corrupt." Thank you! --Edward
  • Aug 17 2012: the Wizard of Oz didn't have an Ipad and the men that should be more feared are not behind a curtain at all - instead they are more transparent than ever - right in front of our eyes via everything - tricking us - but it's no longer slight of hand it's slight of mind - and together like a terrorist group gone Broadway they now hold up that curtain they used to hide behind and play a movie - one that resonates so deeply inside us all we believe and we forget- and I think the "selfish gene" may have something to do with that.

    why try to build trust when you can control distrust?

    terror warning level,
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      Aug 17 2012: Jesse,

      What an image: "A terrorist group gone Broadway." There might be a screenplay there.

      And the "slight of mind" allusion does track. I'm unsure how intentional some of it is, but not all. Though there is certainly an unmistakable chaotic-crazymaking effect. And, indeed, there are political strategists who come to mind who play to this.

      I'm with you re: the "play" behind the movie resonating with us, perhaps yes, due to our "selfish" gene. I was struck by how low primary elections turnout were in my state. And, it occurred to me apathy, at least, has to be a factor. That and a child-like attention span, it seems.

      That said, it is also the case that the chaos is so chaotic and the multiple and ever changing storylines so disparate, that it's near impossible for anyone (including leaders and strategists) to fully track. And, only those with Dorothy-like persistence, willing to navigate both the yellow brick roads, and in-plain-sight play(s), have the stamina--not to mention sufficient curiosity, even, to hang in for the journey.

      Now that I've affirmed your gloomy take, I'm wondering what are the possibilities that you could employ your creative thinking to construe a possible "third way?"

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    Aug 16 2012: Like the characters in the story, we need to find what's missing in our own lives that keeps us from advancing. All to often, we try to find something else to blame it on, like the bureaucracy. But when we look into ourselves and deal with our own shortcomings, we find that inner strength that we didn't know we had.

    The government spends money it doesn't have. We all played follow the leader, and many are in credit card debt as a result of it. It was a choice we made. We didn't have to make that choice.

    I put my faith in a higher power and observed what was going on. As a result, I found what I needed and rejected what I didn't. I kept myself from buying just because I could. I kept myself from refinancing my home just because I could. I bought what I needed, and kept luxuries to what I could afford. When the housing market fell apart, I didn't fall apart with it.

    When the railroad tycoons crossed the land, many became a slave to it. Yet the railroads increased the value of land to the benefit of a growing nation. Was the glass half full or half empty? It depended on what role you played.

    I can't deny that there is corruption in government. And yet, I see many coming to the aid of those in need when the need is made known to the public. So poverty rests with those who look for excuses rather than solutions.

    As far as crisis goes, I let a higher power tell me what I need to be doing. I chose not to fear. It hasn't failed me yet.
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      Aug 17 2012: Ray,

      Kudos for naming an important elephant in the room -- us.

      Your post with it's themes of materialism and higher power, reminds me of a reaction I had to a colleague's analysis of MLK's Drum Major Instinct speech:

      "The vivid picture Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King provides of the 'poor white’s' false feeling of superiority — and the trajectory of destruction King predicted the worship of individual success would lead to is being realized, as Boyte points out. The impacts of our historical fathers’ and mothers’ selfish pursuits are disturbing.

      In King’s time the finger could logically point to whites, the prevailing class of power. But today our fingers can only logically point to us — the people in middle- and upper class communities. Regardless of our race, gender, faith or political idealogy we are the class of power.

      As we’ve kept up with the Joneses we’ve followed the Joneses into foreclosure. Even more troubling, we’ve cultivated a pandemic poverty of thought that justifies the brutal defense of self-interests and defensively fingers those who don’t explicitly share them for destroying our world.

      While we attack what we view as the evil or idiocy of our ideological foes, we fail to see that power lies not in perpetuating polarized positions, but in pursuing understanding of our shared desires.

      This takes self-reflection — in King’s words: 'looking honestly at our selves.' I would add it also takes seeing and listening deeply to those with whom we deeply differ with, even when it seems utterly impossible and ill-informed to."

      And -- I couldn't agree with you more, Ray, regards your observation of many people coming to the aid of those in need.

      Though I'm not sure their numbers and contributions are commensurate to the need, I too, observe many people who do so much good.

      This perhaps is the "Kansas" Edward is getting it. This place where people's good characteristics can be realized with greater clarity than insecurities and greed.

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    Aug 16 2012: As you pointed out timing is everything. The gap has again widened and movements like the attack on the 1% and the OWS movement implant the salt in the wound. The socialist manifesto is to make all men equal except those who are in charge who are more equal than all of you. Unions say that the owner is the enemy and we must bring him down. So you do now your out of a job. Great plan. Capitalism is build on supply and demand. Once my costs exceed my profits I can no longer operate.

    President Carter and Clinton decided that income should not be a barrier to owning a house and made the banks make loans to people that could never meet payments or maintain the home. This was the basis for the bubble bursting that cause the last economic crisis. Stupid decisions made at that level cannot be controlled either by individuals or collectively. Until the next election.

    On the surface plans such as these look great. Get rid of the rich and we will all be rich ... everyone gets a house ... free medical ... in the end none of these ever work out. The solution is a work ethic and the knowledge of if you cannot afford it don't buy it. We know at our house if the account has no money in it do not write a check. Some how that message cannot be understood at the higher levels.

    In answer to your question if I make a error at my level it is an oops. If those in power make a error it become a crisis effecting millions of people. Attempts to manuplate, bypass laws, and promote a political agenda are by far the greatest danger we face. The fact that we may become surpressed and not even be aware of it for a period of time is a nightmare. However, those dragons exist by passing laws that unread and have no visable means of funding past the first year. Even when corruption is exposed there are those who drink the koolade any way.

    All the best. Bob.
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      Aug 16 2012: Interesting thoughts, Bob.

      Agreed. When corruption is exposed there are those who drink the Kool-aid anyway. That said, though I think corruption has something to do with laws, it clearly doesn't have everything to do with them.

      As a tech-entrepreneur during the Clinton administration, my view is the sum of his administrations economic impact can't be boiled down only to the mortgage mess. Many policies during that time abetted our and others' ability to build jobs. A notable one: the release of GPS, a Dept of Defense asset, for private enterprise.

      As to your point that the answer is to replace administrations who's performance is less than ideal, in this example regards Clinton's influence on mortgage lending, it's reasonable in theory, but not practice. The mortgage crisis not only grew after the Clinton administration, but Bush policy supported less oversight of mortgage corruption. A non-partisan corollary is the war in Afghanistan, started during the Bush administration and long understood as a quagmire, continues.

      Another example: The Patriot Act was a Bush policy, disliked by liberals. But, retained by Obama administration. While Bush intended it to combat foreign terrorism and corruption, Obama is also using it to combat homegrown terrorism and corruption.

      All why simply voting out the guy one doesn't believe in, doesn't mean his policies -- for bad or good -- might not be sustained by the following leader.

      And, I'm not fully tracking how OWS movement is "implanting salt" in economic wounds. I'd agree it's drawing a painful light to heretofore unseen disparities, yes. But, though there are tensions, the net effect is participatory democracy. Moving the country from denial into hard conversations is, I'd say, prudent to insure that mortgage fraudsters, etc. are suppressed more than uninformed citizens are. Given the fact many 1% agree with the 99%ers, it's implied they are onto something.

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    Aug 16 2012: I agree with Pat that the sneaky manipulator is more dangerous. On your second question, I would go with both.

    In the Wizard of Oz, the wizard when confronted admitted to his weakness and explained his assuming his character as a way of managing his sense of differentness.
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      Aug 16 2012: Fritzie --

      It says something about the power of the collective that the Wizard sought difference by hiding his, don't you think?

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        Aug 16 2012: Alternatively it could be more like the phenomenon that those who have been victims of abuse or bullying often then abuse or bully others.
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    Aug 16 2012: 1 The latter

    2 The prior and I think the collective is doing just fine, the individual on the other hand...

    And my profound musical answer to the question:
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      Aug 16 2012: Pat,

      Your musical choice was interesting, provocative.

      Can you elaborate more on your views on collective power as doing fine and, 'on the other hand' individuals?

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        Aug 16 2012: Thank you

        People like to chant the equality meme when in fact it is a sure fire yellow brick road to serfdom.
        Today in the not so great state of Calif we have 10-12% of the population of the U.S. with 33% of the welfare. At the same time the highest paid public union employees with the same sustainability as Greece.

        The problem with this is very simple anyone who wants to start a business does it elsewhere as it is less onerous. No matter how many academics say otherwise jobs are created by these types.

        Jobs are something the non welfare, non public employee union individuals require. Small groups are where the individual prospers as he is crushed in the larger groups. Typically what I'm saying is dismissed as dogma, to me this indicates the amount of understanding those people have.
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    Aug 15 2012: OH MY! What am I doing here? Here is one of my musical heroes, long dead and his version of an answer:
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      Aug 16 2012: Debra,

      Perhaps you've followed a rabbit down a hole?

      In any case, glad you've arrived.

      And brought metaphorical music to match the cultural messaging technique used by Baum, Chapin, Chapman, Melua and many others in times when straight answers are hard to come by, and hidden realities make them harder to communicate.

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        Aug 16 2012: You never fail to teach me and guide me with your beauty and your insightfulness. Thank you.
        I am so far down this rabbit hole that i am coming out the other side.
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          Aug 16 2012: Debra--

          Following rabbits down holes and finding the other side can be a great Adventure.

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        Aug 16 2012: I have always thought so but it can also break your heart assunder.