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Insights on the Wogglebug

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

I used to read the Ozzy Digest archives when they were online. And no one who participated in it ever had any good word to say about the Wogglebug, but always just the opposite. Among them was David Hulan, who is a well-respected Oz author and member of the Oz club. He wrote these words in the Digest: “The Wogglebug character isn't supposed to be liked. That is not his function in any of the books where he appears. Including the one I've written.” He then went on to explain that the reason why he made the Wogglebug the focus of one of his three books was because he so enjoys writing about “pain-in-the-ass” characters. That is the exact reason I've come to believe that any actual Oz fan would ever want to make him the main character of any Oz book they would write. Either that, or they just enjoy picking on him whether or not they portray him as a good or bad character.

It seems all Oz fans laugh at and criticize him because he declares he is thoroughly educated even though he only spent three years in Professor Nowitall's schoolhouse and doesn't know everything. But no one laughs at or criticizes the Scarecrow when he declares he has the best brain in all of Oz, even when he comes up with ridiculous ways to solve problems that fail or make mistakes in any way. Or when the Tin Woodman declares he has the best heart in all of Oz, even though he spends more time caring about how many things he has that are made of tin instead of caring about the well-being of others, not to mention calls himself the Emperor of the Winkies, even though it and the whole Land of Oz is only a Kingdom, no one laughs at or criticizes him for those things, either. So, it does sound to me like these Oz fans believe it is okay to love and accept those characters the way they are, flaws and all. And to let them believe what they want to about themselves and respect it. But it is not okay to do the same for the Wogglebug.

Now it is known from the Wogglebug's story of origins that he was educated by Professor Nowitall who was the only teacher he ever had. As one who had multiple teachers, I can attest that I realize how he would turn out after his education was completed would always depend on the quality and character of the teacher he had. Therefore, if the Wogglebug was completely unlikeable then wouldn't that have to mean that Professor Nowitall was a bad teacher not just for him but for all his human students also? However, from the story of the Wogglebug's origins as he told of them, I didn't get that vibe from Professor Nowitall, but just the opposite. So, if Professor Nowitall was a good teacher who was always kind and dedicated to his students, then there should be no reason to not believe the Wogglebug would just automatically turn out to be this way also from being thoroughly educated by him. Now I suppose the Oz fans might want to tell me they believe that it was just because the Wogglebug was an insect and not a human that he wouldn't turn out good from Professor Nowitall's teachings no matter how good they were. Which is not only blindly stupid and prejudiced of them to believe but also completely untrue. The Wogglebug who was in The Marvelous Land of Oz was kind and lovable and just was the victim of jealousy and prejudice.

I always had from the beginning believed that if the Wogglebug was the protagonist of his own story and the characters who liked him and believed in him were the good ones and the ones who didn't were either known as the bad ones or at least were not revered as being the heroes of the story, then the audience would just have to like him and believe in him also. I've heard people claim that the character of the Humbug from The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster is a little like the Wogglebug but a lot more likable. However, I believe this was because the Humbug wasn't surrounded by characters who hated him and wanted to hurt him, but just the opposite. A similar example that comes to mind is also the Frogman in The Lost Princess of Oz who had a personality very similar to that of the Wogglebug's. He was surrounded by people who loved him and believed in him always right from the start, and especially Cayke the Cookie Cook who kept believing in him even after he momentarily lost his belief in himself. So, if the Wogglebug just had a friend who loved him and believed in him like Sylvie Harnois in my movies, and to whom he was also a mentor for her to learn to believe in herself, and those who mocked and jeered at him for his imperfections such as the Mocking Trees in the Enchanted Forest, and the three nobles in the castle of Genoma (who are all named after Oz authors) and he was presented in this way to people who have never read the Oz books, and in particular children, of today then his dream of becoming a household name could easily become a reality over time, as I always have believed and always will.

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