Protecting the Wizard of Oz:
Or, are NDAs necessary?
In the classic movie, The Wizard of Oz the protagonists spend the majority of the film on a journey to meet the mighty Oz who will handle all of their problems. Why? Because he is all powerful! Only he can fix it! Of course, in the end the wizard turns out to be a fraud when a pulled back curtain reveals who he really is. Hold that thought.
In this age of non disclosure agreements (NDAs), why are we protecting the wizard? Why is it so important to keep mystique alive? Maybe a dose of reality is more healthy than the alternative fantasy we find ourselves in when we allow the “all powerful” to control the narrative.
I worked for many years in the entertainment business in front of the audience and behind the scenes. As president of the ACPA (Association of Celebrity Personal Assistants) I’ve certainly heard my share of stories about famous people, and the NDAs of many of my colleagues. Never was I asked to sign one. My employer of 16 years, self help guru Louise Hay felt that NDAs intrinsically set up an ‘us and them’ dynamic, and she was all about bringing people together, not setting them up for failure.
So what does the Wizard of Oz have to do with all of this, you ask? Reading about the latest kerfluffle in the news about NDAs, one can’t help but notice that the story is basically about keeping something a secret. And people love secrets! Even if they are benign, the mind begins to contour up possibilities of more there “there”. In the age of reality tv, cliffhangers are commonplace, keeping us on edge until next week! Will she or won’t she leave him? Who is the real killer?
Bottom line: NDAs are supposed to keep you from becoming a myth buster.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a hopeless romantic. I’m a cockeyed optimist. Myths, legends, Camelot, angels, leprechauns, etc. I’m all in!
However, it’s reality for reals. Non disclosure agreements are in the news bigly. The myth busting has begun. It seems to me that as much as we love to escape the world through food, exercise, sex, music, books, movies, or tv binge watching, eventually the real world wins. It would be cool to teleport ala Star Trek to work and visit a near by planet in the blink of an eye for dinner, returning safely to a home in the clouds. But we are living in a moment in time where the curtain has been drawn back, and the Wizard has been revealed. It’s time to disclose the truth. It’s time to break the NDAs and let the chips fall where they may.
Life is messy. That’s what makes it so fantastic. We can dream about the perfect house, job, relationship, body, etc. but the reality is it’s a lot more fun to see what happens next when we don’t have all our ducks in a row.. The Wizard of Oz would be a short animated film if all Dorothy and her gang did was meet and in the next frame they arrive at the gates of the emerald city. The journey is the story!
That’s why reality tv has been such a big hit. I’m a fan of scripted work myself, but I get the appeal. So without NDAs, the wizard is exposed and now what? In the actual movie, the great and powerful man himself actually turns out to be a kindly old gentleman who is relieved to no longer have to be someone he is not. He imparts wisdom to each of the characters, reveals to all his secrets as he comes out of hiding and helps Dorothy find her way home.
The eternal optimist in me likes to think that is how our current story will end. Truth will out.