Category Archives: project Miserably Wicked

Oz and Autism

I’ve written a couple of philosophically based posts now, and one on psychology, and God knows how many about Oz, so it’s quite a surprise I have yet to write about my one true passion, my advocacy for persons with autism. Well, I have my reasons: first, I’m scared I won’t do it justice. After all, I’m not particularly close with any person with autism. I know a lot of them, but not to the extent that I’d truly understand them enough to speak for them; Second, autism seems too wide a subject. And as I’ve been following a lot of autism-blogs with their specific posts, I wouldn’t know what to add anymore. Third, well, it was our thesis. I’ve written about it for a whole academic year, so writing a blog post about it didn’t seem so appealing.

So after spending three days on my last evaluation seminar in my dear organization, the Ateneo Special Education Society, I realized that I did have an avenue to discuss it. I realized that this is what project miserably wicked was all about. While that project didn’t turn out very well, a look back at why I wrote it in the first place helped me see the connections. So here goes, Oz and Autism. Even if you’re not a fan, do take time to read it, I’ll try to make it understandable.

I’m 99% certain that neither Gregory Maguire (Wicked Years author) nor Stephen Schwartz (Wicked composer) were autism advocates, but they’ve created such a relevant story in Wicked for the advocacy! Oz, a land of diversity, had all sorts of creatures, among them the Animals. These Animals were different from animals in the sense that they had human intellect, and different from humans in the sense that they looked like animals. Now before anyone gets offended, do understand that these Animals are more human than anything else, and if they did really exist in the real world, they should be treated as humans too. That’s Elphaba’s advocacy. Case in point, Dr. Dillamond, a professor in Shiz University in Oz. He teaches history, and he’s as good as any other teacher out there (except for the fact that he can’t pronounce Galinda’s name right). He was one of the last few Animals left that stood for his right to speak.

Dr. Dillamond

Dr. Dillamond

You may be starting to get the picture now. Good job. Animals in the Oz world are like persons with autism in this world. They’re really no different. Their mannerisms and whatnot may be different, but their capabilities certainly aren’t. However, certain people like the Wizard and Madam Morrible (the antagonist) think that the Animals are lower beings, that they did not deserve the same treatment as human beings. What’s sad is that these people are quite influential, so they have followers who end up believing the same thing. And when advocates like Elphaba stand in their way, well, pop goes the green witch.

Elphaba is the passionate advocate. She really tries to understand the Animals’ plight and wants to take action for them. Screw bureaucracy, screw structures and politics. Elphaba just wants what’s fair for the Animals, and she believes that this shouldn’t even be a problem in the first place if only the leaders, influential people, and media would recognize them. In the real world’s case, media plays the role of Glinda. While it is admirable how NGOs and even some government officials do recognize and fight for PWAs, they might not be influential enough, especially here in the Philippines. Here, media is the most influential thing. Whatever people see on TV or in the movies, they emulate. This is a sad fact because honestly, Philippine showbiz needs a lot of work, as can be seen in the controversial series, Budoy, which gave Angelman syndrome a bad and unrealistic image. I’m sure they meant well with this series, as does Glinda most of the time, but they end up being more selfish than anything else. They care more for their own public image and ratings than for the advocacy itself, which affects the way they do show their “advocacy” (if you could call it that).

"Popular, you're gonna be popular"

“Popular, you’re gonna be popular”

The Wizard is even worse. He represents the hypocritical bullies. He pretends to help out but his actions are actually discriminatory. I didn’t know such hypocritical bullies existed until I got deeper into the autism community this year. It’s sad that such large scale organizations exist and are being considered “wonderful” by many, even by advocates. His act of silencing the Animals is similar to how some of these organizations try to “prevent” autism, like it’s such a bad thing. Some of the things they promote are prevention before birth and overstimulating so that they can be “cured”. It’s a selfish outlook in the sense that they’re acting to make the PWAs fit into our world, when we should be the ones adjusting for them. Why should they be forced to live like us? They’re different, not less. So they have the right to stay the way they are.

Obviously, I’m a biased because I love Elphaba, but her principles do match mine. Persons with autism should never have the problem of struggling to fit in with us, with what society and the masses want. They shouldn’t have to undergo overstimulation because it just hurts them. They deserve full acceptance and they deserve their own rights. True, we can’t all be passionate advocates like Elphaba, but at least let’s be fully accepting of them and not treat them like they’re beneath us.

So there you go, that’s my Oz-take on the world of autism. And hey, if you want to read our thesis, do PM me. It’s about the narratives of adolescents with autism in the Philippines. Or you could follow these awesome organizations on twitter: https://twitter.com/autismphils and https://twitter.com/AteneoSPEED Thanks for reading, and munch on!

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Wonderful, They Call Me Wonderful

In one of the dark alleys of Paris, three strange creatures emerged out of nowhere. The two of them we know as our new tandem, Elphaba and Javert. Unknown to them, a third figure was not far behind as they struggled to make their way out of the maze of streets. This third figure, as you may have figured out, was Glinda.

Javert: Ms. Elphaba, pray, slow down. We don’t know where we are and I have no intention of getting more lost in Paris.

Elphaba: I seem to have forgotten to mention, Mr. Javert that I do know where I am going. I guess you could say I am being drawn by some kind of instinct.

Javert: Well, where are you heading off to?

Elphaba: … somewhere. Listen, Javert, this here is Rue Plumet. I’m sure you recognize it. If I may, I’ll take my leave now. I will see you when it is time.

Javert: What? Wait! Time for what? And how am I supposed to know when to meet you and where?

Elphaba: You will know. Just take care of whatever business you may have here, and I shall take care of my business. Goodbye, Mr. Javert.

With that, Elphaba vanished in the maze of streets, and Javert stood silently for a while. He then decided to go to his favorite spot on top of the Notre Dame to reflect some more. Elphaba, driven by her “instincts” stood in front of an inn, wondering what she should do next, when Glinda suddenly appeared.

Glinda: Elphie! You’re alive!

Elphaba: Wha- Glinda? What are you doing here?

Glinda: I saw you in Oz and followed you? What is this place? It’s so… gloomy.

Elphaba: I have no time to explain to you. I have to meet someone.

Elphaba entered the inn, and everyone stopped whatever they were doing and stared at her. On the far corner, came a gasp.

Wizard: Elphaba! What are you doing here?

The Wizard of Oz stood, grabbed Elphaba, and dragged her outside where Glinda was sitting, her head on her palm.

Wizard: Glinda, you too??? What in Oz’s name are you two doing here?

Elphaba: Oh good, you haven’t left. Now the wonderful wizard of Oz can hear what you’ve been doing to Oz! Wizard, I know you weren’t much better than Glinda, but I could tell that your intentions were at least good. If Madam Morrible hadn’t swayed you…

Glinda: Whoa, hold on just a minute! What do you mean by that? Do you have any problem with how I’m handling things in Oz?

Elphaba: More like how you’re NOT handling things!

Glinda: Hey, for your information, I happen to have passed a lot of laws and constructed a lot of things since you “died”

Elphaba: Oh yeah? Like that big ugly pink palace of yours? You know Emerald city is called EMERALD city for a reason, right? Or are you just too dense to get that?!?

Wizard: Ladies, ladies! Calm down!… Okay. Elphaba, I’m so glad you’re alive. I have something to tell you.

Elphaba: I don’t really care what you have to say to me, you know. I lived my whole life hearing what you had to say, and all you could say back then was that you tricked the Ozians! No. I just want you to try and fix Oz again. You may not have been truthful, but you at least listened to the Ozians and tried to help them, however *cough* vain and conceited *cough* your help may have been.

Wizard: alright, I’ll try to help, but on two conditions. One, you hear me out first on what I have to say. Two, you and Glinda will work this out, TOGETHER.

Elphaba stared hard at Glinda, and then nodded.

Elphaba: Fine, but know that I’m doing this for Oz, not for any of you.

Wizard: That works. Glinda?

Glinda: Well, I don’t see what the problem is with MY way of-

Wizard: Glinda!

Glinda: Alright, alright.

Just then, a beautiful young woman approached, and stopped in front of the wizard.

Cosette: father?

to be continued 🙂
The above is a work of fan fiction of some sort. I do not claim to own any of the ideas, characters, and trademarks and properties created by the original authors.

project Miserably Wicked part 3. Other parts here: part 1 and part 2

Enter Glinda the Good

Seeing as I totally enjoyed my newfound tandem, which started here, I thought I’d explore it a bit more, as I initially intended to. I know I haven’t been posting useful and insightful (or philosophical, if you prefer that term) posts lately, but rest assured, this isn’t supposed to be simply an amusing mix-in of two worlds/stories. It’s an experiment on views of righteousness, law, life, or whatever issues I like writing about. After all, art is, for me, the best expression of these issues, although not everyone may get it. For the leisurely reader, I hope you don’t get too lost in the fan-fiction-ness. Here we go.

Javert followed Elphaba as she treaded the marshy bogs that separated the Winkie country from Emerald city.

Elphaba: you don’t have to follow me you know. I especially put up this bog right here to make it difficult to cross. And your wounds haven’t recovered yet.

Javert: I’m following you to make sure you don’t chicken out.

Elphaba sighed. Javert turned out to be extremely stubborn, and she didn’t like it. Fiyero trotted after them, picking up loose straws that kept falling from his being.

Fiyero: Elphaba, what exactly are you planning to do in Emerald city? I thought we agreed to keep away from it. Glinda has to keep believing that you’re dead.

Elphaba: Well, I take it back. Maybe it’s better if she knew I was still alive, that way she’d feel guilty about how she’s been running things lately.

After Elphaba’s supposed death, Glinda had tried to keep an organized system of ruling. After all, how hard could it be if the wizard could do it? Unfortunately, Glinda, being Glinda, had stopped being efficient after only a few days. The line outside her newly constructed pink castle which stuck out like a sore thumb in Emerald city, was always long, as she kept herself busy with… other things.

Elphaba: What the-? Well, Javert, looks like you being here is quite fortunate after all. I need you to go over there and find out what’s happening. I can’t be seen by other Ozians.

Javert: Excuse me, pray tell, what is this extremely long line here?

Ozian: Oh, this is shorter than usual, actually. Ms. Glinda is less busy today because Prince Evring of Ev had just left yesterday.

Javert: Prince Evring?

Ozian: yeah… You’re not from here are you? Ms. Glinda, her Goodness, is our leader. She’s been entertaining a lot of people lately though, so she has little time to talk to humble Ozians like us. You might get through though, seeing as you’re not from here.

Javert thanked the Ozian and walked back to where Elphaba and Fiyero were hiding. He explained everything to them.

Elphaba: Prince Evring of Ev? What’s he doing here?

Fiyero: I did hear a rumor that lots of royal people have been coming to Oz lately, mostly the Princes.

Elphaba: I don’t like the sound of this,,.

Suddenly, a giant bubble appeared on top of the castle. Inside it was Glinda, dressed in her sparkly white dress, smiling ever so sweetly.

Glinda: Fellow Ozians, I thank you for airing out your concerns! However, I’m afraid I have more foreign matters to attend to. If you could just-

Glinda’s moving gaze stopped right at the spot where Elphaba was standing. She stared, unable to believe what she was seeing. Fiyero waved.

Elphaba: Fiyero! What are you doing?

Fiyero: What? It’s Glinda, our friend. We wave to friends.

Javert: You brainless git! Now she’s really seen us!

Glinda, having regained her composure, continued charming the Ozians. Elphaba and her companions rushed away.

Elphaba: Well, that was a load of bull! Did you hear her? Foreign matters my hat! Oz has never needed to deal with foreign matters! And even if it did, that’s what the vizier is for! She’s just flirting with the princes!

Javert: So what do you plan to do now?

Elphaba shook her head.

Elphaba: It’s too late, or at least, it’s not the right time. Javert, are you willing to go back to your world? We might find some answers there that will help us prepare for this world.

Javert: One world at a time eh? Well, you know I’m in.

Elphaba decided to let Fiyero stay in Oz, partly because she needed someone to still keep an eye on Oz, partly because he might just be troublesome if he went with them. With that, Elphaba and Javert headed off to the Munchkin river. Little do they know, a flying giant bubble was following them several paces behind…

The above is a work of fan fiction of some sort. I do not claim to own any of the ideas, characters, and trademarks and properties created by the original authors. No, I still haven’t figured out how to do disclaimers yet. For now, I’ll stick with this. Yes, I do plan to continue writing this, as it really interests me. I will try to sneak in some real blog posts in between. Keyword: try. But for now, this is Project Miserably Wicked part 2 (title subject to change) 🙂

Thanks for reading, and Munch On!

A Conversation between Javert and Elphaba

Javert awoke, coughing, his whole body aching. He felt like he didn’t want to get up ever again, but the first sight he saw made him sit straight up. A man-like figure made entirely of straw was leaning towards him, head tilted. Javert stared at him, unable to make sense out of the situation. Finally, the straw-man spoke, “Elphie, he’s awake! I think your spell worked. He looks quite alright.”

The next thing Javert saw made him even more confused. A lady (although she hardly looked one), her skin a pale shade of green, wearing a ridiculous pointy hat, appeared. Javert stared, unspeaking, as the lady explained how she found him in the Munchkin river where the Scarecrow (who was apparently named Fiyero) liked to explore. Upon seeing the confused look in Javert’s eyes, she presumed he was from the other world and started telling him about this world as well. His expression slowly began to turn from confused to more interested, so she told him all about the Wizard of Oz, Madame Morrible, and all the treachery she went through, after which Javert shared his own story.

This is a conversation between two very different beings, both driven (or used to be driven) by their sense of justice and right, but different in their methods and other principles.

Javert: I can see you all were miserable as well. Indeed, even the seemingly blessed Glinda, ever-so-perfect in the outward appearance, was fooled by her own belief that she has everything she has ever needed. She somehow reminds me of the young girl taken captive by this man I have been following…

Elphaba: Glinda… Well, she has it all now. What really matters is the present, isn’t it?

Javert: What really matters? I have jumped into the Seine River because of my inner conflict over what really matters. Indeed, I cannot really say now what really matters. Just listening to you right now, hearing how you were suddenly seen as a criminal because you fought for what you thought was right, is leaving me at a loss.

Elphaba: I think you have figured out by now, Mr. Javert, that the law is sometimes gravely wrong. And that, even if you sometimes try to right it, no good deed goes unpunished.

Javert: Is that why you are being wicked? You know a wrong can never right another wrong.

Elphaba: But neither can most rights. I got tired of playing nice. Nice never got me anything but more trouble.

Javert: Hmm… This is mainly because your system is all messed up.

Elphaba: All systems are a bit messed up, Mr. Javert. I have heard many things about your world, and I know for a fact that your system is far from perfect as well.

Javert: That is true… Then we must change it!

Elphaba: How exactly do you propose that? The system is in the hands of the powerful, the populer – I mean, lar – and the outwardly innocent. Meanwhile, people like me are shunned and thought of as wicked.

Javert: Justice always prevails.

Elphaba: That is the biggest load of bull I have ever heard.

Javert: Have you tried fighting the system from the inside?

Elphaba: I can’t even get to the inside. As I have told you, Mr. Javert, people like me tend to be pushed to the outside.

Javert: And people like the, pardon my term, “cutesy” Ms. Glinda are carried by the people to the inside…

Elphaba: Hey, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure she means well, but that’s the most I can say about her.

Javert: Meaning well does not mean anything, Ms. Elphaba. It is the doing that counts.

Elphaba: What about you, then? Why did you let your convict escape? He was very much willing to be brought in again.

Javert: … As I said, my principles of law and morality are very much in conflict right now. The man has shown great acts of kindness and mercy, very much unlike the convict I knew him to be.

Elphaba: Yeah, looks can be deceiving.

Javert: Very deceiving. I lived my whole life believing what I was doing was right, that the law was always on the side of justice, and that Jean Valjean was a criminal who needed to be captured. But I got confused…

Elphaba: so you gave up.

Javert: Well, so did you.

Elphaba: I’ve been through much more than you have Mr. Javert, and I have more reason to give up… but heed my words, I have not yet fully given up. I was not the one who threw myself into a river. As long as I live, I hope. Maybe it is too late for Oz, but it might not be too late for your world. This Valjean gives me hope. People like him should be the ones leading the system.

Javert: Valjean leading the system? I would’ve laughed at you and then thrown you to jail had you said that to me days ago, but now I see that you’re right. But what about your dear Oz? Are you just going to abandon it? I know it might be hypocritical of me to say this but, that seems like an act of cowardice.

Elphaba: You’re right. Our fears, our inner conflicts, and our misplaced trusts have led us to become cowards. You jumped into a river, and I hide away in this wasteland. But it’s never too late, is it?

Javert: I cannot be sure, but yes, I think you’re right.

Elphaba: It seems to me that you were destined to be sent here Mr. Javert. I admit I did not like you or your principles at first. In fact, you could say that I greatly disliked them and was very tempted to just zap you back to the Munchkin river. But throughout the length of this conversation, I saw sense in some of your words. And I am not a coward. I will continue fighting for Oz until it kills me.

Javert: Learn to play by the rules this time, Ms. Elphaba.

Elphaba: Ha! That has never been my strong point, Mr. Javert. I play by the right, not by the rules.

Javert: Well then, at least try working by bent rules. I wish you luck, then.

Elphaba: You as well. And try not to jump into anymore rivers. You’ll give the Ozians a stomachache when they drink from it.

Javert: Noted.

The above is a work of fan fiction of some sort. I do not claim to own any of the ideas, characters, and trademarks and properties created by the original authors. I honestly have no idea how disclaimers are supposed to go, so I guess I have to research on that. Meanwhile, I hope this piece of work amuses a few of you and sends a message to the majority. I would have loved to explore more on the characters of both Elphaba and Javert, and how they would have interacted in a deeper conversation about justice, but that would take too long. This would suffice, I guess.

Munch on!