As I may have mentioned here before, Maybelle loves The Wizard of Oz movie.  Loves it so much that I could probably recite/sing the movie to you, from Glenda's "Come out, come out, wherever you are!" to the Emerald City dwellers' "That's how we laugh the day away in the merry old land of Oz."  (That's as long as she can go--most of the time she only watches from Munchkinland to the rescue of the Tin Man.)

She particularly loves the Scarecrow's song, and she's learning the lyrics and choreography.*  All the moves she makes here are imitations of what the Scarecrow is doing.  (Keep reading after the video, because I have a story.)

So, at the end of the song, after the Scarecrow has mused about all the things he could do if he had a brain, he sings, "I could dance and be merry, life would be a dingaderry, if I only had a brain."

Here's a conversation Biffle and I had about these lyrics.

Alison: What does that mean, "dingaderry"? What is that?

Biffle: It's just a word they made up. It rhymes and sounds fun.

Alison: Is it a particular kind of dance?

Biffle:  No, I think they just made it up.

Alison: Do you have any evidence? Did you look it up on that "Straight Dope" website?

Biffle: No, but I'm 100% certain they made it up.

Alison:  But he sings, "dance and be merry, life would be a dingaderry."  Is that really what the people writing those lyrics thought was associated with having a brain?  That's not what it means to have a brain.  If he had a brain, he'd be all analytical, considering everything.  He'd be, like, holed up in the library.  Nobody thinks that having a brain means life would be a dingaderry.

Biffle:  You're really stuck on this.  Why do you care?

Alison:  Because I have a brain!  See--this is exactly what those lyrics are missing!  If you have a brain, you think it's fun to stand in the kitchen analyzing the term "dingaderry"!

I thought I had a good point.

*Here's a tangential but related point about how cool the Wizard of Oz movie is.  First of all, it has a female protagonist who doesn't ever become anybody's love interest, and she never gets rescued.  She becomes part of a community, and they all look out for each other.  That's remarkably rare.  Second, the diverse (although all white) characters she joins in community with think that they're deficient--they're lacking brains, heart, courage--but in fact they all have those qualities in abundance, they just have to recognize them.  So the movie isn't about people with lacks needing to be fixed; it's about funky, interesting folks who have all the qualities they need.


Michelle said...

Oh is she ever adorable!! Kayla loves dancing to that part too - I bet they'd be a riot together!

Aaron said...

I don't think I made it past the Lion's song much when I watched, this growing up.

Anonymous said...

I liked this post. Really liked the footnote 'aside.' Clearly, this has bothered others, too. Did you look up the etymology of dingaderry?

I'm a tad more concerned that he says he'll be "clever as a gizzard" later on. Gizzards = not so clever. Unless you think internal organs are clever. Clever as a colon has less of a ring to it.


Anonymous said...

When you google search dingaderry you get your blog the third hit :)
Aside from my search which only came up with "Oxford English Dictionary simply describes it as "a nonsense word used in song refrains"", I love the way maybelle uses her mirror and couldn't you just sit and watch her watch a movie all day? Kayli has always loved Wizard. The King and I is another with a good social message and good music,Sound of Music somewhat and I think we should have a movie dance party at the Convention!