Bruce Dancis, in his Video Patrol column wrote, "The Wizard of Oz has
become so ingrained in the American psyche that today, 70 years after
it was first released by MGM, the movie continues to inspire
wonderment, laughter and tears."
Of the 70th Anniversary airing of the show, CBS
Anchorwoman, Katie Couric gushed, "I will probably watch it again for
the 150th time."
When the movie was released in 1939, it was indeed a
wonder. It was an exciting children's fantasy movie with vivid colors,
great songs, and it was a movie with a message. Should this great
movie be tainted by the racial sins of the man who wrote the book, L.
Baum and Adolph Hitler had one thing in common: both
called for the genocidal extermination of a race of people; Hitler the
Jews, and Baum, the Sioux people of South Dakota.
In an editorial written six days after 300 Lakota men,
women and children were massacred at Wounded Knee, Baum wrote, "Having
wronged them for centuries we had better, in order to protect our
civilization, follow it up by one more wrong and wipe these untamed
and untamable creatures from the face of the earth."
Baum followed that editorial with another. He wrote, "The
whites, by law of conquest, by justice of civilization, are masters of
the American continent, and the best safety of the frontier
settlements will be secured by the total annihilation of the few
remaining Indians. Why not annihilation? Their glory has fled, their
spirit is broken, their manhood effaced; better that they die than
live the miserable wretches that they are."
Fifty years later, another man set out to "annihilate" a
race of people. Adolph Hitler did manage to exterminate six million
Jews before the roof caved in on him. Hitler also wrote a book called
Mein Kampf. In the book he wrote, "Was there any form of filth or
profligacy, particularly in cultural life, without at least one Jew
involved in it? If you cut even cautiously into such an abscess, you
found, like a maggot in a rotting body - often dazzled by the sudden
light - a Kike."
For arguments sake, suppose an enterprising producer had
made a movie based on Mein Kampf. Would that movie carry the stigma of
the author? Perhaps, but critics would argue that Hitler actually
accomplished some of his mission in exterminating the Jews, while L.
Frank Baum only editorialized about it. But there is no difference in
their message. Both called for the genocidal extermination of a race
Then why is L. Frank Baum so loved while Hitler so
eternally hated? Suppose the book Mein Kampf was actually a children's
book about a fantasyland in the Bavarian Alps. And further suppose
that the book was then made into a movie that was highly acclaimed.
Would the fact that Hitler wrote the book and that he also called for
genocide against the Jews diminish the popularity of the movie? There
are probably a plethora of answers to these rhetorical questions.
Could it be that the lives of the Jews were more important than the
lives of the Indians? After all, the Indians stood in the path of
Manifest Destiny and therefore it was God's will that they be removed
or eliminated. That makes it alright in the minds of most Americans.
But no matter how you cut it, genocide is genocide. If
you read the words as written by L. Frank Baum, and then read them
again, his words are no different than those of Adolph Hitler when he
called for the annihilation or extermination of the Jewish race.
I would encourage Katie Couric and all of the other news
people of note who fall all over themselves in recalling the wonders
of the Wizard of Oz, to take some time to read the published
editorials of L. Frank Baum and I can guarantee that when Katie sees
the Wizard of Oz for the 150th time, she will see it in a different
No one in America can better understand the correlation
of the words of Adolph Hitler and those of L. Frank Baum, than the
American Indian. There are many powerful Jews in America who not only
fail to see the difference, but are actively promoting the film.
If the news people of America understood fair play, they
would at least investigate and report on the genocidal proclamations
of Mr. Baum. I wrote about him on the front page of USA Today in
December of 1990 and I did not see one follow-up by any other media.
Would the media protect this scoundrel simply because he wrote a book
that became a lovable movie?
Tim Giago, an Oglala Lakota, is the publisher of Native Sun News. He was the
founder and first president of the Native American Journalists Association, the
1985 recipient of the H. L. Mencken Award, and a Nieman Fellow at Harvard with
the Class of 1991. Giago was inducted into the South Dakota Newspaper Hall of
Fame in 2008. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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