“Pay No Attention to that Man Behind the Curtain!”
There’s a scene in the movie “Wizard of Oz” where Toto locates the wizard working the controls of his machines from behind a curtain. Having been discovered, the less-than-wonderful wizard shouts into his microphone: “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” That phrase has been taken into our language when referring to the people who work behind the scenes keeping machines running or pulling the strings and levers in the background to make something work.
The Wizard Discovered.
There are many unseen people hidden behind curtains who make the technology for genealogy work. Heeding the wizard’s plea, we usually pay no attention to them. We should. The thousands of volunteers who do transcription work, the programmers who develop genealogy software, the web masters who host genealogy sites, the support staff who keep servers and networks running, and the technical support representatives who field our calls for help deserve some consideration and courtesy. As someone who sees both sides of “the curtain”, it’s time I write about treating the wizards behind the curtain with some kindness and respect.
How might it be possible for the world to wake up from one reality, so people might imagine the world anew without this manufactured dream? In the story of The Wizard of Oz, it was when Dorothy found the man behind the curtain, whom she had thought of as a great Wizard of Oz, the spell of the Wizard was broken. The person everyone thought was the great and powerful wizard was simply an ordinary man, who was just able to perform some clever tricks. The man told Dorothy how he had come to be regarded as a powerful Wizard. He described how once he made a balloon, and took off. When he landed in Oz, his status was elevated; everyone thought that he possessed great power. In actuality, the only power that he had was an ability to project voices everywhere, seen in the powerful mainstream media and PR used as tools for propaganda. He created the Emerald City by giving everyone a pair of green glasses so that that is all they could see. The man made another balloon to bring Dorothy back home with him, yet when the balloon was about to take off, she missed the opportunity to go with him and he left without her.
The balloon symbolizes taking a path toward meaning by the development of personality. The balloon is like an inflated personality that has no solid substance, just floats in the air without roots and is destined to pop and eventually fall down. It was not this balloon, but her feet being firmly grounded that made her able to awake from her dream and get her in touch with reality.
In the end, Dorothy found a way to make her wish come true. She had sought for the supposed great power in the Wizard, only to find that the power existed inside of herself from the beginning. She has so long run after an unfolding paved road that promised to lead her to the power outside. With her right and left foot always separate, she was never fully in touch with the ground. When she finally awakened to the fake authority of Wizard of Oz, her feet for the first time got settled. Magic happened when she put her heels together and knocked them three times. Dorothy woke up from a dream, going back to her home.