The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, XX.— The Dainty China Country
Tonight's Soundtrack: Modest Mouse, "Tiny Cities Made Of Ashes"
Here's my favorite thing about this chapter: the Lion demolishes a church.
I could pretend that it's down to Baum's marvelous use of quotidian detail amidst the fantastic. That the Lion, for all that he's a giant talking neurotic beast, is still just a cat and will break all your nice china things with his lunatic jumping around shit. Or I could trump up some old Baumian Irony, noting that it's the exit from China Country that causes the most lasting damage and ooh, foreign policy, are we really sure Baum wasn't a time traveler, because that theory gets better every time I skip a meal to buy another dram of absinthe.
Truth is, it just tickles me rotten that this beloved classic work for children goes out of its way to specify that a house of worship gets smashed to pieces. By our heroes. And they're just like, "Well, could have been worse."
If you’re Baptized and take First Communion but never do Confirmation, are you still a Lapsed Catholic? Asking, because that's how little I paid attention in CCD. Along those lines, if you later join a Southern Baptist church and get baptized as a teenager, but then it's complicated because sex things, and you wind up majoring in Philosophy anyway, does this mean you have issues with organized religion, or do you just flirt with God like you do with everyone else, you pseudo-intellectual tart?
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The other nice thing about the visit to Dainty China Country is Baum’s myth-building here - China people will stiffen and never move or speak if they are taken to mundane places like Kansas - means that thanks to Grandma, just about every kid in America already has an Oz action figure in the house.