Friends of Dorothy—Why Gay Boys and Gay Men Love the Wizard of Oz by Dee Michel—Contents & Foreword by “Wicked” Author Gregory Maguire!

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Gregory Maguire Acknowledgments
Introduction
PART ONE GAY FANS OF OZ
1 Gay Men and Oz
2 Surface Explanations
3 Gay Boys
PART TWO INDIVIDUAL REASONS AND RESPONSES 4 Escaping to Oz
5 Gender Roles in Oz
6 Difference in Oz
7 Messages and Uses of Oz
PART THREE SOCIAL AND CULTURAL CONTEXTS
8 The Subcultural Phenomenon
9 Oz and Judy in Gay Folklore
10 The Oz–Gay Connection Now and in the Future
APPENDIXES
A The Questionnaire
B Methodology
C Was Baum Gay?
D Cross-Dressing in Oz Performances
E Early Allusions to Oz in Gay Contexts
F The Origin of “Friend of Dorothy”
Notes
Index


Foreword by “Wicked” Author Gregory Maguire

Anything that makes a mark in the air—a mark in time—is open to an evolution of meaning. The striking crucifix against the sky means one thing in the pages of the New Testament, another thing in the windows at Chartres, another to oppressed people hoping for transcendence, and still another to colonialists intending to use it to subdue and dominate.

What is less obvious, it seems to me, is that while irony is the clearest mode in which symbols are reinterpreted, it isn’t the only one. We can note a more subtle if imprecise capacity of symbols to reframe and encapsulate a new or revised meaning, just as genuine in nature as the original.

For the exercise of it, think of that very word “Stonewall.” For the sake of argument, I am prohibiting myself access to the web for confirmation of these apprehensions. I come up with the concept of “Stonewall” Jackson, first. A public figure with a life much open to interpretation, he always comes to my mind primarily as the first American president to arise from the common people rather than from the landed gentry of the original colonies.

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“Try to Praise the Mutilated World”—A Poem by Adam Zagajewski (trans. Clare Cavanagh)

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Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June’s long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of rosé wine.
The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutiliated world.
You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You’ve seen the refugees going nowhere,
you’ve heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.
Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
and leaves eddied over the earth’s scars.
Praise the mutilated world
and the gray feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
and returns.

– Adam Zagajewski, How Lovely the Ruins, 2017

Image: Pinterest

Maddox: My New Favorite Comedy Writer… (& 👁 💜 🐳’s)

There are no words. 🤣🤣🤣

Except. . .

“A good laugh is a mighty good thing, a rather too scarce a good thing.”

Herman Melville

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“Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.”

Lord Byron

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“Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh.”

W. H. Auden

“Laughter is God’s hand on the shoulder of a troubled world.”

Bettenell Huntznicker

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“As soap is to the body, so laughter is to the soul.”

A Jewish Proverb

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“Even the gods love jokes. “

— Plato

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“From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere.”

Dr. Seuss

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“If you wish to glimpse inside a human soul and get to know the man, don’t bother analyzing his ways of being silent, of talking, of weeping, or seeing how much he is moved by noble ideas; you’ll get better results if you just watch him laugh. If he laughs well, he’s a good man…All I claim to know is that laughter is the most reliable gauge of human nature.”

Feodor Dostoyevsky

“Monty” James & The Ghost Story—There’s Nothing More Frightening Than Reading “the Master”…

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I watched a BBC documentary today on YouTube (link below), narrated by the brilliant Mark Gatiss (Sherlock), about 19th-century ghost story writer Montague Rhodes James, aka. M. R. James—or, if you knew him well: just plain ol’ “Monty” James. I’m not sure whether “knowing him well” would have been a plus or a minus after having watched the documentary, entitled M. R. James: Ghost Writer, which focused on James’ keen ability to write terrifying ghost stories.

It was uncanny. What the heck went on in that antiquarian head of his? Do we even want to know? I mean—the man could scare the trousers off a college boy.

(A little inside joke— no offense, Monty.) 😏

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Robert Lloyd Parry as M. R. James in the 2013 BBC documentary “M. R. James: Ghost Writer” (YouTube below).


James is known the world over as the undisputed master of the “English” ghost story—although, why we need to qualify these stories as “English” is beyond me…slow your roll, Liz—your fanny may be on the throne, but that doesn’t mean you have the power to run the rest of us! 👑🤚

We are all collectively “human” in the end, aren’t we?

Monty James was, and still is, the master of the “human” ghost story.

If you haven’t read the ghost stories of M. R. James, you should.

You can own the complete stories in a book that fits in the palm of your hand (see my photo below)—or a larger, illustrated edition; or a collectible first edition—whatever suits your ghostly fancy.

Just be warned. These stories aren’t for the night time—well, I mean they are—but they aren’t—it’s all about the resolve of your nerve. (I was going to say “it’s all about the size of your balls”…but Liz is listening.🍒)

The story that caught my attention—“Lost Hearts”—is one I’ve not yet had the pleasure of reading. In the documentary today, Monty—brilliantly acted by Robert Lloyd Parry, a man who not only resembles M. R. James, but has a little snarl to his smile that sorta makes you wonder—is reading “Lost Hearts” to a group of 19th-century Oxford boys, at night, with nothing but the golden glow of a candle…quivering.

He reaches the point in the tale where the spectre of a young boy appears to Stephen Elliott—anoher young boy, this one very much alive—and Stephen notices the spectre’s clawlike fingernails—which have left scratch marks on the bedroom door, and tears in Stephen’s nightshirts—over the chest area…

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The Aftermath of “Aftermath”—How It Stays with You…🤮 (Cuidado! Explicit Content!)

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You’ve Been Warned. Aftermath is a 1994 Spanish horror short film written and directed by Nacho Cerdà. Containing no spoken dialogue, Aftermath is the second installment in a trilogy of shorts by Cerdà, preceded by 1990’s The Awakening, and followed by 1998’s Aftermath Genesis. These films contain graphic violence and scenes of necrophilia.

You remember your first time, don’t you?

The scratchy palms, the butterflies, the pools of sweat. Laying back and wondering what would come next, and then the moment when you knew you were crossing the line but you pressed on anyway, your anxiety outweighed only by the desire swelling deep within and compelling you to plunge headlong into dark, forbidden terrain.

Lots of us have moments like that. Usually they happen in the company of someone who’s just as nervous as we are. But I’m not talking about sexual virginity. We aren’t there yet. Because as any cinema lover will tell you, you don’t lose your virginity to a romantic partner. The first time you lose it, it’s to the movies.

I’ve been a die-hard horror fan for most of my life, but during my early adolescence you would have been hard pressed to find a genre junkie who was more Puritan in their tastes than I was. My first prolonged exposure to horror came at the tender age of eight in the form of the Universal Studios classics, starting with the 1943 remake of The Phantom of the Operastarring Claude Rains, and for the next few years my cinematic diet consisted primarily of these chillers and all their monochromatic brethren. We made for a good match; they indulged my fascination for spooky theatrics without challenging my sense of safety. Even in the vampire films, matters of flesh and blood were limited to drawing room dialogue. They were as warm and comforting as a hand-stitched quilt from Grandma.

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As I entered junior high, I eyed anything released after 1960 with trepidation. Even the refined Gothicism of Hammer Studios seemed suspicious to me; the colors looked oh-so-juicy and there was a more grand and immediate sense of danger to their monsters, but then there were those other elements. The flash of gaudy, fluorescent blood and the threat of a torn bodice revealing an exposed nipple sent me into a fit of Eastmancolor blushing. Why did they have to bring that into my horror movie? Why couldn’t we just get another shot of a rubber bat flapping by or one of Peter Cushing’s whizzing dynamos?

Some part of me realized that this kind of thinking was… well, perhaps “repressed” isn’t quite the right word, but at any rate I reckoned that this area of my development needed some catching up to do, and so with a hardened resolved and a fortified stomach I proceeded to embark upon a journey into the world of the 80s slasher to break bread with my demons and spur on my appetite for bloodshed and bared skin. Looking back on this knowing what I do now of the shadowed and twisting grottos of genre cinema, my efforts to submerge myself in the “dirtier” side of horror by way of Camp Crystal Lake and Freddy’s boiler room seem amusingly naïve in retrospect, like a novice attending Senior Night at the local bingo hall as an entry into the seedy world of underground gambling. Such is the way of life; we skim that which bobs on the surface first before diving down to find the treasures hiding deep below.

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