That ‘Colony’ Propaganda Flyer And The Political Underpinnings Of ‘The Wizard Of Oz’

On tonight’s episode of Colony, “Hospitium,” Amy comes across a large cube of propaganda flyers, that have been dropped, relief-supply style, in the middle of the woods. When she shows one to Broussard, he assumes it came from the occupation and slips it absently into the fire.

They’re on their way to Seattle, the Bowman clan, and one can assume, Broussard and Amy. The propaganda flyers boast of “The Emerald City,” as a kind of promised land. Not all that surprising, given the Raps’ Season 1/2 fascination with The Greatest Day, when humans under siege were largely brainwashed into accepting their new alien overlords as bringers of a new benevolent religion.

“The Emerald City,” is a nickname for Seattle, of course, because of its greenery and, according to at least one Visit Seattle video, the amount of moss growing on residents.

But it’s also something else. The Emerald City was Dorothy et al.’s destination in The Wizard of Oz, and 100 years after L. Frank Baum originally wrote the book, the phrase still has undeniable political implications. It’s no accident, I would argue, that the propaganda flyer in Colony was produced in a distinct Art Deco style that recalls the design of The Emerald City in the 1939 movie.

What are those political implications? Well, it’s hard to tell, not the least because Baum is long dead and his books have been analyzed from every possible angle. Notably, according to Wikipedia (which saves me reading the book), entrants to The Emerald City were instructed to wear green-tinted eyeglasses to protect them from the city’s apparent glory. In reality, the city was no more glorious than any other. Adding to the point is the interpretation that The Emerald City is about “greenback,” unsecured money, which only has value because of shared illusion.

If humans are pawns in an alien war, as seems to be the case, the Raps (or Clicks, I’m not convinced they are the same species and not two different alien groups) are probably going to great lengths to get humans on their side. Maybe the leader of the resistance camp has already made his deal, and he’ll be bringing his followers to whatever awaits them in The Emerald City, either a promised land or yet more shared illusion.

I’m skipping ahead, but Episode 7 of Colony Season 3 is called “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” also the title of a short story by Ernest Hemingway that I must have read once, twice, a thousand times when I was a child — even by modern standards, that one is a quick and easy read.




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