As a classically-trained singer my first love has been musicals versus opera if only because they are the modern-day equivalents to classical music. Yet, I was fortunate to grow up at a time when Jessye Norman, Leotyne Price and other African-American contemporary opera singers had achieved prominence. I’d also love to see a revival of No Strings and Marie Christine. Of my Top Five faves (which includes Les Miserables, Oklahoma, Godspell and Rent) Wicked vies for the first one that comes to mind.
Based on the Wizard Of Oz story and adopted from the McGuire book, the plot covers the relationship between the two witches Elphaba and Galinda. I’m revisiting it because during one of my late night/early morning epiphanies I realized there was an empowerment message interlaced throughout.
Elphaba took on Oz, exposing him as a (DBR) fake leader. She also fought unsuccessfully against an increasingly totalitarian government (where animals had the ability to talk and be understood by humans taken away). She was punished for it and let the anger and disappointment turn her heart cold. She vowed to do no more good deeds because of the backlash and became the Wicked Witch Of The West. (from Wikipedia excerpted below)
Wicked explores the concept that the Wicked Witch of the West, here known as Elphaba, is a misunderstood, victimized person whose behavior was merely a reaction against a charlatan wizard’s corrupt government. It also shows her relationship with the beautiful and ambitious Galinda Upland, who ultimately becomes Glinda the Good Witch of the North.
I had already planned on writing this essay, but the recent shooting in Arizona involving Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the subsequent deaths due to a domestic terrorist has also weighed on my mind this weekend. I’m compelled to take this essay into a slightly different conclusion.
You have Sarah Palin and her supporters (willingly) being used as instruments for evil and corruption being given full reign and the media conglomerates intentionally downplaying the violence – but not as an act of terrorism – whereas IF the shooter was Muslim that would be the featured angle and story.
In case you were not aware, Palin has a Facebook page that listed Giffords amongst other so-called “liberals” being marked for death….and someone decided to take the initiative. I won’t say they are deranged because I’m certain they know right from wrong. They just don’t care.
I’m thinking about how women who take public stands for social justice are placing themselves in precarious situations where the retaliation may be discomforting…. or deadly. Women who rattle the cages are not often given accolades or second chances unless they have even more powerful allies than their opposition.
Women who allow other women to be eviscerated, who don’t want to be held accountable, who don’t want to heed sound advice, who stand by idly watching from a safe distance, who stir the pot and watch it boil over are to be identified and monitored. They do need to be called out as well but sometimes it’s better to keep a watchful eye on who they’re influencing – or being influenced by.
When I look back at 2010 I see where I’ve personally made strategic errors in my activism by putting my own neck on the chopping bock. We won’t be doing that again! I’m going to link to BlueButterfly’s essay, Jezebel Darling, Who Lied To You at her blog Sword Of Goliath again because I think it is also timely.
To wrap up – since this has become a more serious post than initiated – we have a fictional character whose vulnerabilities clashed with her idealism and she gave in to evil. We have real-life women doing evil. We have biblical reference of a woman (Jezebel) known for being evil-personified. We have still other women who may not necessarily be evil, but are weak and people-pleasers who do not set appropriate boundaries which can easily allow evil to unfold.
You do not want to be like these women….and the choice is yours.