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Posts Tagged ‘Wizard of Oz

“A public-opinion poll is no substitute for thought”*…

 

Polls

 

On April 25, 2019, former Vice President Joe Biden became the latest big-name politician to join the race for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination. Among Democrat voters, he leads the field over the next most popular candidate, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, by 7 percentage points — with a sampling margin of error of 5.4 percentage points — according to a recent poll from Monmouth University.

But public and media perception has been burned by polls before — see the 2016 presidential election — and there’s still a long, long way to go before the Democratic field is settled. Donald Trump officially became the Republican Party nominee for president in July 2016, but a year prior there were still 16 other candidates angling for the nomination.

Precisely because there are still so many town halls and county fairs to come for the Democratic contenders, we’re rounding up some recent academic research that can inform coverage of political opinion polls in this early presidential contest. This research digs into bias in evaluating political polling, polling errors across time and space, the relationship between media coverage and polling, and more…

With over 18 months to go until the 2020 election, we’re already inundated with poll results, widely divergent, but each claiming canonical status.  Journalist’s Resource has ridden to the rescue with a handy collection of articles offering guidance on how to understand and use them– guidance that’s as useful to us civilians as it is to pros: “Covering political polls: A cautionary research roundup.”

* Warren Buffett

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As we stock up on grains of salt, we might recall that it was on this date in 1894 that the 500-strong Commonwealth of Christ (AKA Coxey’s Army) arrived in Washington, D.C., to protest against unemployment.  The march, organized by businessman Jacob Coxey, had begun with 100 men in Massillon, Ohio, and had gathered members as it moved toward the Capitol.  It was protesting conditions in the second year of (what turned out to be a four-year economic depression. the worst in United States history to that time.  In the event, the group never made it into the Capitol: Coxey was arrested for trespassing, and the military intervention the group provoked proved to be a rehearsal for the federal force that broke the Pullman Strike later that year.

Still, Coxey’s Army had an impact.  Among its well-wishers along the way was L. Frank Baum (still a famous window-dresser, not yet an author).  Scholarly political interpretations of his most famous novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, turn on Coxey’s Army:

In the novel, Dorothy, the Scarecrow (the American farmer), Tin Woodman (the industrial worker), and Cowardly Lion (William Jennings Bryan), march on the yellow brick road to the Emerald City, the Capital (or Washington, D.C.), demanding relief from the Wizard, who is interpreted to be the President. Dorothy’s shoes (made of silver in the book, not the familiar ruby that is depicted in the movie) are interpreted to symbolize using free silver instead of the gold standard (the road of yellow brick) because the shortage of gold precipitated the Panic of 1893… [source]

300px-Coxey_commonweal_army_brightwood_leaving source

 

 

“I don’t understand how anyone can become a director without learning the craft of cinematography”*…

 

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Because…

* Nicolas Roeg

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As we noodle on the nanny-cam, we might recall that it was on this date in 1934 that Samuel Goldwyn acquired the film rights to L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  The novel, published in 1900, had become an instant classic, spawning sequels (that continued under the direction of Baum’s widow after his death in 1919), a long-running Broadway musical, and several silent films.  Goldwyn’s version, released in 1939, had modest success at the box office (though it did garner several Oscar nominations–including a Best Song win for “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and a special award for Garland as Best Juvenile Performer). Then, in 1956, an estimated 45 million people tuned in to watch the movie’s television debut on the Ford Star Jubilee.  Countless TV airings later, The Wizard of Oz is one of the best-known– and most beloved– films of all time.

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Written by LW

January 26, 2016 at 1:01 am

“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain”*…

 

The Wizard of Oz, alphabetized.

* The Wizard of Oz

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As we strive for order in all things, we might recall that it was on this date in 1714 that English inventor Henry Mill was granted a patent (UK #395) for an apparatus “for impressing or transcribing of letters singly or progressively one after another, so neat and exact as not to be distinguished from print, very useful in settlements and public records”– generally agreed to be the first description of a typewriter, the device that revolutionized the ability of creative minds worldwide to put their thoughts into print.  Mill never actually manufactured a typewriter for sale; in fact, it took many years to develop a truly functional prototype– the first of which was probably built by the Italian Pellegrino Turri in 1808 for his blind friend Countess Carolina Fantoni da Fivizzono.  Indeed, most early typewriters were aimed at giving the blind a means of communicating in print.  It wasn’t until the late 19th century (and the introduction of a QWERTY keyboard design as a standard) that typewriting became a wide-spread practice.

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Written by LW

January 7, 2016 at 1:01 am

“Cinema is truth at 24 frames per second”*…

 

Roman Polanski’s “Chinatown”

9 Film Frames aims to distill that truth even further:  “an attempt to showcase a film by using only 9 of it’s frames.”

Carol Reed’s “The Third Man”

Luis Buñuel’s “Belle de Jour”

Many more reminders of why we want to see all of the movies at 9 Film Frames.

* Jean-Luc Godard

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As we head for the nearest rep house, we might send fantastic birthday greetings to L. Frank Baum, born on this date in 1856. After trying his hand at acting and marketing (he was a pioneer in the then-fledgling field of “store displays,” founded the trade magazine The Show Window, and helped start the longest continuously-running trade association in marketing, what’s now known as The Society of Visual Merchandising), he found his true calling, creating Dorothy, Toto, the Wizard, and the “Wonderful World” he ruled.  In the end, Baum wrote wrote fourteen Oz novels, and a host of other works: 55 novels in total, plus four “lost” novels, 83 short stories, over 200 poems, and an unknown number of scripts (pursuant to numerous attempts to bring his works to the stage and screen).  Something of a futurist, his works anticipated such century-later commonplaces as television, augmented reality, laptop computers (The Master Key), wireless telephones (Tik-Tok of Oz), women in high risk, action-heavy occupations (Mary Louise in the Country), and– in a return to his roots– the ubiquity of advertising on clothing (Aunt Jane’s Nieces at Work).

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Written by LW

May 15, 2013 at 1:01 am

Illustrative examples…

From the end of the 19th Century through the middle of the last, the center rings of commercial art were window dressing (L. Frank Baum was a retail celebrity well before The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) and magazine cover and advertising art… as readers can see at Magazine Art— a wonderful online gallery of “magazine cover and advertising art from the Golden Age of American Illustration.”

As we wax nostalgic, we might pull out our manual typewriters to tap out a birthday greeting to “The Sage of Baltimore,” Henry Louis (H.L.) Mencken, born on this date in 1880…  The author of The American Language (and many, many other things) is credited with having coined the term “ecdysiast,” in response to a request from a practitioner who requested a “more dignified” way to refer to her profession.

Often called “the American Nietzsche” (by virtue of his scholarship on the German philosopher), Mencken might better have been considered “the American Wilde”; consider:

Democracy is the theory that holds that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.

Nature abhors a moron.

Puritanism – The haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy.

H. L. Mencken

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