The Wizard of OZ is one of the very few shared experiences that unite Americans as a culture. Whether you've only seen the movie, or read the book as well, hardly matters. The experience and enjoyment of it is universal, and transcends pretty much any categorical barrier within our society that you choose to erect.
It is a fairy tale, but it is a distinctly American fairy tale. It stars an ordinary little girl from an unremarkable portion of the country. Like the promise of the American Dream, its a journey that could happen to anyone.
L Frank Baum, who wrote the book, took great pains to avoid any fearsome moralizing or frightful ethical consequences. But still and all, given that it is a fairy tale, there is some scary shit in there: murder, bloodshed, treachery, threatening skywriting. The movie was toned down considerably, but even so, there is still scary shit in the movie. The fantastic performance of Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West alone has made generations of children cry. Not to mention the tornadoes in Kansas, or the flying monkeys, or the more psychological terror of Dorothy waiting for the hourglass to run out.
So, despite all these attempts to make the experience "to pleasure children of today", and not provide any type of moral for the story, there is one, and it is a distinctly American, in the sense of anarcho-capitalist altar worship, which is simply this:
Caveat Emptor. Let the buyer beware.
Now, why would I say that? Consider. A con-man, an Omaha huckster, posing as a great and powerful wizard, recognizes that a rube who has already shown homicidal tendencies (albeit manslaughter, but still..) may be just the pawn to get rid of a very magically real threat, in the form of the wicked witch. He makes false promises to fool them in engaging in a suicide mission. When they comply, and are successful, it turns out he was never in a position to help them. He is a fraud, a fake, a phony.
He's a humbug, and what a cute and harmless word to use. Not bogus piece of shit. Not a motherfucking liar. Not a cocksucking cheat, not a shyster, not a quack, not a fucking weasel dick rat fuck scumbag. No, he's a humbug. He's not a very bad man. Don't wag your finger in his face! He's a very good man, just a... a bad wizard.
Yeah, well, never give a sucker an even break. Never smarten up a chump. Should have read the fine print before you signed the dotted line. It's your own damn fault that you bought into my line of shit. Etc.
Caveat emptor. Not, "there's no place like home", or "you had it in you all along", or even "can do" American spirit. Just a oopsie! Did I do dat? Ah, well, you all should have known better! You learned a valuable lesson! Bad shit happens to good people. Not everyone is a nice person.
So, the point of this? Well, watch out for hucksters. People who set your BS detector off, or in my case, pegs it right to the maximum limit.
People like Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, self-serving right wing assholes who scurry under rocks the minute the wind they sowed comes back as a whirlwind, in the form of impressionable loons with semi-automatic pistols. Am I suggesting that their hateful and divisive rhetoric, designed to scare the piss out of already insecure and timid Americans, was the prime motive behind a lunatic's spree killing? No.
But it sure didn't help.