Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Winkie Convention Report

I had some time (finally!) yesterday, and so I wrote up my report for The Baum Bugle* about the Winkie Convention. Wow, it's a really good thing I started this blog when I did. I actually used my blog entries on the convention to help me out. Fortunately, I've been given a reprive on the other Bugle article I was asked to write, a review of The Muppets' Wizard of Oz. That's been pushed back to the Winter issue, so I can do it later, like when I can get ahold of the DVD.

Current Oz books that I'm reading:

  • The Oz Principle: Getting Results Through Individual and Organizational Accountability by Roger Connors, Tom Smith, and Craig Hickman. This is an Oz-themed how-to-succeed book for businesses. The Oz content is actually pretty light, but overall it's an interesting read, and I can't help thinking that it wouldn't take a lot of tweaking to make the same ideas work for individuals. However, this one is on hold right now, as I'm concentrating on reading...
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in American Popular Culture: Uneasy in Eden by Neil Earle. This is one of those books written to tell you all about what Oz means, etc. I've seen it available, but at $110 (no, that's not a typo), I never could justify buying it. I think I've only ever paid more than one hundred dollars on one book in my collection, and that was a 1920s color edition of The Patchwork Girl of Oz! My local library doesn't carry it, either, but when I was poking around on the library's website and saw a button marked "Interlibrary Loan," I thought, "What the heck," hit the button, and put in the information. A couple of weeks later, I got a notice that it had arrived. Too bad the notice was early, as it didn't actually show up for another day or two, and I spent time with some confused librariand before they gave up. But now I have a copy loaned from the University of Oregon, so if any Ducks are looking for this book, hold on, I should get it back to you within a couple of weeks. Anyway, to make a long story short ("Too late!"), it's actually not bad so far. It's not one of those academic tomes with a Perspective and an Agenda. Earle actually looks at The Wizard of Oz from a number of different perspectives, and even says that none of them alone is adequate to explain the appeal of Oz. This makes a refreshing change from all those academians who come at it from only one viewpoint, and claim (or are interpreted as claiming) that that's what Oz is all about, and everyone else is wrong, or at least misinformed. To be sure, Earle makes a few howlers, such as claiming Baum is a New Englander, even after writing about his upbringing in upstate New York, or that "You've come a long way from Kansas, Toto" is one of the memorable lines from the MGM movie ( I think he was thinking of "Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore," and this would have been extremely easy for him to check). I've only read the first two chapters so far, so I'd better not make this a full-blown review, but so far so good. But could I ever justify its price tag? Nope, not at all. Libraries are very good things!

* The journal of the International Wizard of Oz Club

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