I caught the end of The Wizard of Oz the other night and noticed something that I never have before. The Wizard may be involved in some illegal activities. Although we really don’t know the full extent of the Wizard’s powers, he is at the very least convincing enough to force Dorothy, the Lion, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow to fight his battles. He won’t even consider their requests until they bring him the broomstick of the Wicked Witch of the West. Best case scenario for the Wizard is that the group defeats the Witch so that he can take full control of Oz. I guess the worst case is that the Witch kills the group, but the Wizard doesn’t seem overly concerned about them. Although immoral, this doesn’t seem to be illegal.
My concern is when the group returns triumphant in their victory over the Wicked Witch of the West. (This is the whole "ignore the man behind the curtain" scene.) Instead of brains, the Wizard hands the Scarecrow a diploma for a THD, a doctorate in thinkology if I remember correctly. Since the Wizard seems to have these diplomas just lying around, I think he’s up to no good. That’s right; I believe that the Wizard is running a diploma mill. The following is from the U.S. Department of Education website:
What is a diploma mill? The dictionary defines a diploma mill as:
An institution of higher education operating without supervision of a state or professional agency and granting diplomas which are either fraudulent or because of the lack of proper standards worthless. - Webster's Third New International Dictionary
Diploma mills are schools that are more interested in taking your money than providing you with a quality education. You need to know how to protect yourself as a consumer.
Did the Scarecrow really earn his degree? I don’t think so. The Wizard felt cornered after being exposed by Toto (he blesses the rains down in Africa) and company and gave the Scarecrow the diploma. I’m sure that the Wizard generally sells these diplomas. Now the illegal part may be tough to prove. Many states have laws preventing diploma mills (thanks Wikipedia), but we may never know whether or not this is legal in Oz. My guess is that the residents of the Emerald City are part of the scam and probably all have advanced degrees. Of course, maybe the Wizard knew his diploma mill scheme was being exposed so he figured it was time to take his hot-air balloon and get out of Oz as quickly as possible.