Do you know who is really wicked?

Bob McKinnon
2 min readFeb 6, 2018


Chances are you don’t.

Idina Menzel in Wicked (Joan Marcus, courtesy of Playbill

Last week we took our daughter to see Wicked for her 10th birthday. The show is fantastic on so many levels. It’s the back story of the Wicked Witch of the West, revealing how she became, well “wicked.” Spoiler alert — she’s really not that wicked at all.

Much like the original Wizard of Oz, what we see and have been told isn’t what it appears to be. Gregory Maguire, the author of the book on which the musical is based, said he wanted to explore the “moral ambiguity” of the Wicked Witch.

Referring to “a lack of certainty about whether something is right or wrong“, moral ambiguity is hard to come by in divisive times when everyone knows they are right and you are wrong.

Separately last week, a story went viral about how the comedian, Sarah Silverman reacted to a “troll” who wrote a vulgar comment in response to one of her tweets.

Rather than dismiss the comment she embraced it. She read about the man and gleaned parts of his backstory from his prior posts. He was clearly suffering — abused as a child, no job, chronic back pain, and substance abuse the prime causes. As they say, “hurt people, hurt people. “ What happened in their subsequent exchanges was remarkable as was the public response.

Please read the full story here, it will provide a glimmer of hope of what is possible when we try to understand and not presume to judge the motives of another.

I have had similar experiences online, when responding to people who comment on these posts or share their American Dream Score.

Taking a few minutes to listen and try to understand what’s behind someone’s actions can make all the difference in turning a negative impression into a positive experience — for both of you.

It isn’t your right to judge someone’s wrong. Lest you know the entirety of what led up to that point.

If you are inclined to get involved, post a comment, or join a conversation, then try first to understand the backstory or what’s behind their curtain.

The result could be transformative. Just ask someone who has seen Wicked.

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Bob McKinnon

Writer. Husband. Dad of Three Girls. Creator of Moving Up & Actions Speak Loudest. Adjunct Professor, Parsons School of Design. Redesigning the American Dream.