This winter has had plenty of the Wizard of Oz. First we read the book, then we watched the film, then we saw the Seattle Children’s Theatre production (we couldn’t buy the DVD as it appears to be largely unavailable). Most mathematicians are familiar with the big blooper at the end of the film in which the Scarecrow, having been given his ‘brains’ affects an intellectual tone and asserts what was intended to be Pythagoras’ theorem thus:
"The sum of the square roots of any two sides of an isosceles triangle is equal to the square root of the remaining side."
The SCT’s production (which was excellent, BTW), repeated this line verbatim. Is that good or bad?
I’d like it to be the case that the writers of the script intentionally slipped that in to make the acquisition of ‘brains’ simply via the proxy of a ‘diploma’ even more ironic, but I think that would be clutching at straws. Of course, in the book, the Scarecrow’s head is removed, scooped out and filled with bran and pins (to make him sharp – get it?).