19th Century, 20th Century, Americana, Books, History, Movies, Uncategorized

Judy Garland Stars in “The Wizard of Oz”

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Jun 5, 1939
Frances Ethel Gumm (Judy Garland) grew up singing and dancing with her sisters at her father’s movie house in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.
The family moved to California, and in 1939 17-year-old Judy goes “over the rainbow” as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.*

Frances, also known as Baby, began her performing career at the age of two and a half years when she joined her sisters in a song and dance routine. She performed her first public solo at her parent’s vaudevillian theatre, the Grand Theatre, singing a rendition of Jingle Bells.

Her astounding career and work ethic speaks for itself. Few American artists have connected with the public and emblazoned their names on the hearts’ of audiences as she. Please peruse the link to her museum, and see her for yourself?**

She knew the golden rules of performing: know yourself, gains skills to express yourself through your medium or instrument, and embrace the vulnerability of being authentic in front of an audience. That said, how did this iconic performer and recording artist view herself?
“Basically, I am still Judy Garland, a plain American girl from Grand Rapids, Minnesota, who’s had a lot of good breaks, a few tough breaks, and who loves you with all her heart for your kindness in understanding that I am nothing more, nothing less.” **

So we go to watch with You today, Holy Spirit, and ponder this event. We remember that You are the Ultimate Artist and portrayed Your performance across the universe! With the Psalmist we confess that “the heavens declare the glory of G-d”!

We give You thanks for relating to Minnesotans through the story of “The Wizard of Oz”. We applaud its author, L. Frank Baum, and the way it could be read on multiple levels. To the children, it’s a fantastical retelling of an old plot: kid wants adventure, kid experiences life, and kid finds that “there’s no place like home”.

To the adults of the era, another plot unfolds relating to the American economy of the late 19th and early 20th century. The scarecrow is a personification of the Midwestern farmer: the beatings he took in the Dustbowl, the poverty and hardships endured by the manipulations of the Eastern Establishment and Wall Street, and the judgments by the same that he was just an ignorant red-neck. ***

Tinwoodsman recalls the lives of factory workers, miners, and timber industry. He symbolized the unemployment of the Rust Belt, and anguish of laborers. He was said to have no heart, but was that true or was the the projections of industrialists and their dehumanization of their workers? ***

The figure of the Cowardly Lion can be construed to represent the Populist movement, or its most vocal representative; William Jennings Bryan. An outstanding orator, he was referred to as a “lion” for his causes, namely Bimetalism which advocated backing American dollars with both gold and silver. Gold values, it was thought, were more easily manipulated by Wall Street and Lombard Street a.k.a the Bank of England. ***

Further, the Wicked Witches were symbols of economic elites on the West and East coast who controlled the rest of the country through the power of the Emerald City (Washington, D.C. or New York City) and the Wizard (the President of the United States). All the great power of OZ was based on gold. One must follow the “yellow brick road”, get to the Great Wizard, and pull back the curtain on his frailties. The Wizard is just a man with smoke, mirrors, and a loud microphone!? ***

In sum, we recount the self-acceptance of Judy Garland with in her portrayal of Dorothy, and the dual plot lines of Baum calling children and adults to come home. We hear its distant warnings of the noise of our political machinery, the spirit of manipulation in the business of money, and the calls to use one’s brain, trust one’s heart, and take courage. We hear Your message of encouragement in an age of deceit, greed, lawlessness, and manipulated algorithms; “Though they intend You harm, the schemes they devise will not prevail.” Psalms 21:11

Will You forgive us, the Only Truly Wise One, of believing the putdowns of those who oppose us? We are made in the Image of Your Thought, therefore, we can think! We are made in the Image of Christ, Our self-sacrificing Messiah, therefore, we can overcome any offense through merciful, new hearts! You have been struck down, yet are risen, therefore, we will rise when struck with betrayals, tragedies, and self-hatred through choosing to live in Your courage!

“And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald.” ESV Revelations 4:3

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** http://www.judygarlandmuseum.com/judys-life
*** https://www.thevintagenews.com/2019/04/12/wizard-of-oz-symbolism/

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20th Century, authors, History, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Lewis Receives Nobel Prize

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Dec 10, 1930
Sauk Centre’s Sinclair Lewis, who satirized small-town complacency and back-slapping boosterism in such novels as Main Street, Babbitt, and Elmer Gantry, becomes the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1930.*

Sinclair Lewis may well have had great insight into small-town Midwestern life, but did he have a great outlook? Help me ponder this man and the impact of the Nobel prize on Minnesota and the outside world. What is the blessing of this event, and how could this impact future generations of those outside the immediate influence of cities and suburbs?

We give You thanks today for the life and writings of Mr. Lewis! We remember what he got right about the Midwest, and the authenticity of his observations. We commend to You the fact that his characters, even heroes, were a balanced with positive and negative characteristics; human just like us! Maybe even the boring middle of “Main Street” could have been a stylistic choice to emulate the stillness of a remote village.
We give You thanks that, though critical, he still put the spotlight on the burgs, settlements, and unincorporated townships across Minnesota and the greater Midwest.

Conversely, we observe with You the things he may have overlooked, or gotten wrong. His critics find that “Main Street” is one of the most merciless novels in American history, and posit that it was motivated by revenge. Surely, he latched onto all that he saw as negative in Midwestern life in this story: narrow-mindedness, hypocrisy, and resistance to change.

Will You forgive his bitterness, and his literal and figurative children that chafe against a simple, small-town life? Will You forgive his judgments based`on his intellectual intelligence that could not recognize the practical intelligence of farmers, housewives, and tradesmen? Truth be told, the Midwestern farmer, both then and now, cannot be a pushover in the brains department. He needs to know: agriculture, machines, weather, sales, and transportation. But further, he needs a tremendous work ethic and energy to get it all done!

Did he misconstrue the common sense libertarianism of Main Street because he spent too many hours in the salons pondering Fabian Society versions of utopia with H.G. Wells? What if these folks were resistant to change simply because they were content? Is it wrong to desire autonomy after being pushed, prodded, and starved out of Europe? What if the greater hypocrisy was on his part, and he was agitated by their inner peace? Forgive us all, Lord, where we have judged, or disrespected another’s pursuit of happiness.

Will You be the balance of 61 Petty France, K Street, Wall Street, and Main Street? Will You temper our designs for contentment and advancement? Will You help us love and understand our small-town neighbor? Will You take the judgments rooted in the false gods of education, culture, and elitism up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ? Will You remove their counter-judgments coming from outstate towards the cities of Minnesota?

We thank You for the Nobel Prize of Sinclair Lewis. We thank You for all future writers that dare to go against the grain, to speak the truth as they see it. Will You give them a sense of humility with their opportunity to be a louder voice in society? Will You bless the contentment of our citizens, wherever they live? We are all the recipients of Your eternal noblesse oblige!

Bless those who persecute you. Bless and do not curse.
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Romans 12:14-16 NIV **

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** http://biblehub.com/romans/12-16.htm

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20th Century, Agriculture, government, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Politics, Uncategorized

Christianson Becomes Governor

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Jan 6, 1925
Theodore Christianson takes office as the state’s 21st governor.*

Theodore Christianson, the twenty-first governor of Minnesota, was born in Lac Qui Parle Township, Minnesota on September 12, 1885. His education was attained at the University of Minnesota, where he earned an undergraduate degree in 1906 and a law degree in 1909. After establishing a successful legal practice in Dawson, Christianson became the owner and publisher of the Dawson Sentinel. He entered politics in 1915, serving as a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, a position he held ten years. He next secured the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote in November 1924. He was reelected to a second term in 1926, and to a third term in 1928. During his tenure, a crime commission was formed, as well as a commission of administration and finance. Also, state expenditures were reduced; taxes were controlled; and state government was restructured. After completing his term, Christianson left office on January 6, 1931. He continued to stay politically active, serving as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, a position he held from 1933 to 1937. Governor Theodore Christianson passed away on December 9, 1948, and was buried in the Sunset Memorial Cemetery in Minneapolis, Minnesota.**

Governor Christianson, a.k.a. “Tightwad Ted”, was a very fiscally conservative Republican who limited the power of government in favor of the individual. In this era, there were many fears about the insider capitalism of Wall Street, and the destabilizing reactions of sabre rattling socialists. He gave mostly agrarian Minnesotans a chance to regroup and recoup after the personal and property losses of WWI. (Those who lost sons to the war also lost heirs to their farms, as well as their most capable and loyal farm hands.)

So, here we give You thanks for “Tightwad Ted”. We thank You for his accountability and respect for the resources of Minnesotans. Theres a ‘time to scatter and a time to gather’ and we pause to remember Governor Christianson as a man who gave respite and a return to normalcy and simplicity to his constituents. Will You bless his heirs, both familial and governmental, who accept that there is season that the most reasonable course forward is to tighten the belt?

In this, we give You honor for taking us through seasons scarcity and plenty. We thank You for the eternal promise to be our Jehovah Jireh. We ask Your forgiveness where we have forgotten You; either through the sins of easy living, or sins of destitution. Have mercy on Minnesotans’ past, present, and future failure to give You and our neighbors the free gift of gratitude. Amen.

Keep deception and lies far from me, Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion, That I not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the LORD?” Or that I not be in want and steal, And profane the name of my God. Proverbs 30:8,9 NASB

PS. Will You continue to forgive the judgments between the parties and political groups of this age? Perhaps the Republicans forgot Your principles of community because it came through a Socialist or DFL messenger? Maybe the Socialists and Democrats failed Republicans and Your urgings to personal responsibility through lumping them in with Wall Street, and assumptions that they were against Main Street? Will You forgive all the judgments and counter-judgments of these parties committed then as well as their fruits poisoning the present? Will You make us a State of “tightwads” with our disparaging thoughts, words, and hearts against our neighbor?

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**https://www.nga.org/cms/home/governors/past-governors-bios/page_minnesota/col2-content/main-content-list/title_christianson_theodore.html

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