Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Wonderful Wizard of Blah-Blopi-Boo

It was a very good, Good Friday today. Spent most of the day with Thuy at the movies. Between chasing the press coverage for IIMPact 2013: New Frontiers, which is taking place April 5 – 6, 2013 and the night job, I’ve not really had the time to spend with her and to do my bit to ensure that her English is up to scratch.
Anyway, we decided to treat ourselves to two-movies. Morning movie was a good old fashioned Chinese slap stick. Then we decided to see “Oz, the Great and Powerful.” I enjoyed this movie because it was the “prequel” to the well-loved story I had grown-up with – “The Wizard of Oz.” This was the story of how the “Wizard” got to “Oz” in the first place.  

It turns out that the “Wizard” is an unpleasant character. He is a small-time circus magician who is a con-artist. He cheats and abuses his ‘business-partner’ and seduces women with nothing more than a few cheap gimmicks. When it looks like he’s going to get his just deserts, he does a runner – which is precisely how he ends up in Oz. Once in Oz, he continues as he did in Kansas and has some pretty close encounters, until he decides to use his skills as a ‘con-man’ for the greater good of the people of Oz.

I think one of the reasons why this movie spoke to me was the fact that it showed that despite being a shit of the highest order, you ended up cheering for the “wizard.” The reason was simple – after a while, you realized that it ended up saying more about the people who got taken in by him than it did about him.

Upon arrival he meets the first witch (who will end up becoming the wicked witch that Dorothy had to melt), he actually convinces her that he’s got genuine magic powers. What does he do? His hot air balloon falls out of the sky and he pulls out gimmick flowers for her (she is at this stage a very hot chick – character played by Mila Kunis). Did he ever suggest to her that he was a wizard? No, she’s the one who tells him that he’s a wizard and he merely does what every con-artist does – takes advantage of the situation.

I know this is a fairy tale of sorts but the beauty here is that a charlatan with no magic powers to speak of manages to convince someone with real magic power (and she does have potent powers) that he has powers that exceed hers.

If you look at the movie closely, you’ll realize that the “Wizard” has several things going for him. They are:

His Looks

The very first thing that one should note about the “Wizard” (played by James Franco) is that he’s a good looking guy. Despite the situations that he gets involved in, he is immaculately groomed and is always with his hat. When you look at him, you can believe that young women – even ones with magical powers, would be attracted to him.

Let’s face it, we love looking at attractive people. We will give them the time of the day. I am guilty of this. I’ve lost count of the times that I’ve allowed myself to remain engaged in a conversation with women who bored me into shitting my pants or parting with money I could have used more wisely. If I look back at those moments, I realize that I only myself to do things against my better judgment was because I found the chick in question “hot.”

It works the other way too. Women are as guilty as men of being easily lead astray by good looking men. One of my best friends in the UK had the luxury of being very pretty – women would offer him their number out of the blue. He also had plenty of admirers from the homosexual community too.

I think back to what my Uncle Jeffery said to me when I went to work for him at Asher Communications – “Cosmetics Count.”

If you look at the world’s con-artist, you’ll realize that they’re all exceedingly well groomed…….

Charm and the Ability to Make Others Feel Special

One of the “wizard’s” most popular tools is a series of “musical boxes,” (movie is set in the 1900s, musical boxes were today’s iPhones) which he gives away to women he plans to seduce. His line is always the same – it was his grandmother’s musical box and she left it to him and now he wants to give it to the lady in question.

The line is corny. It is obvious. It works. The ladies fall for him because he makes them feel special. He makes them feel as if they are the only one for him.

We all like to feel special. Relationships always seem better when they are exclusive. I think of journalist who have asked me for “exclusives” and I think of how I’ve valued certain relationships over others because some just seemed more “special” than others.

When you make someone feel special and good – you are more likely to get them to do things for you.

The Willingness to be Lucky or Understanding the Situation

Say what you like about the “Wizard” but he understands situations and is able to tailor his actions according to the situation. When people at the circus claim that they see a wire in his levitation act, ‘cuts’ the wires. Then in Oz, he knows when to rescue and heal people and when to run……In short, he is a survivor.

These are simple facets to his character and if we applied them to our daily lives, we may be surprised with the results.  

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