December 13, 2000

We're Off to See...
a Politically Correct Oz

By Roy Rivenburg

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: If "The Wizard of Oz'' were filmed today, the script would have to be totally revamped to comply with modern safety regulations and political correctness. For example, the Scarecrow would be stuffed with flame-retardant Dupont fibers instead of straw, the Cowardly Lion would receive assertiveness training from self-help guru Tony Robbins, and the Wicked Wicca Practitioner of the East wouldn't be killed by a flying house because satellite weather photos would enable authorities to evacuate the area before the cyclone struck.

Other noteworthy changes:

  • Munchkinland becomes Vertically Challenged Land.
  • Toto is now a mediocre rock band from the 1970s known for such hits as "Rosanna'' and "Hold the Line.''
  • The Yellow Brick Road is replaced by a light rail transit system.
  • The flying monkeys must now receive clearance for takeoffs from air-traffic controllers. They also carry little black boxes that record flight data in case of a crash.
  • The Tin Man, played by Al Gore, learns environmental sensitivity and stops chopping down trees.
  • In order to achieve a coveted R rating, the movie's director dumps Dorothy's ruby slippers in favor of Victoria's Secret's new $15 million ruby-studded bra and panty set. It's the latest in a series of jewel-encrusted undergarments from the lingerie company. In the movie's finale, Dorothy would click the bejeweled bra's cups together and repeat, "There's no place like home.''
  • Quote of the Week: From artist Sarah Lovett in the London Telegraph, discussing the $14,500 price tag for a piece called "Relic,'' in which she took a dead fly from the floor of John Lennon's childhood bedroom and mounted it in a glass case: "This fly is not about money. It's about questioning beliefs and why people need to believe in something, worship something.''

    Lunatic Fringe Bureau: Santa has grounded his reindeer, according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. PETA officials claim they met with Kris Kringle and persuaded him it was cruel to make Rudolph and friends fly around the world in subzero weather. Santa's sleigh will now be powered by an engine, PETA said.

    News You Missed: We don't understand why the media devoted so much time to the Supreme Court's Florida recount ruling, especially when it meant ignoring other, more important legal opinions, such as actor Gary Coleman's stand on Razor scooters. The former star of "Diff'rent Strokes'' has officially called for scooters to be banned from city streets. We'll be talking with CNN legal analyst Greta Van Susteren and other law experts about this historic development as soon as they stop chattering about the election.

    Stocking Stuffer Bureau: It's easy to go overboard on Christmas gifts, which is why we advise people to shop for inexpensive, practical items, such as:

  • A sterling silver Pez dispenser, $605.
  • A $100,000 jewel-covered Nokia cell phone from designer Sidney Mobell. (It's the perfect accessory for that $15 million ruby bra from Victoria's Secret.)
  • A "surgeon & safari'' getaway, which combines an African safari with your choice of liposuction, tummy tuck or laser face resurfacing. Seven-day packages start at $3,800.
  • Supermarket Tabloid Headline of the Week: "Siamese Twin Shocker: My Brother Turns Into a Werewolf Every Time the Moon is Full!'' (Weekly World News)

    Unpaid Informants: www.internetwire.com, Ann Harrison, Baird Jones, Wireless Flash News Service, www.sfgate.com, Los Angeles magazine, W magazine, Allison Joyce.

    Copyright © 2000 by Roy Rivenburg
    Distributed by Creators Syndicate