28 October 2014

The Lost Book Club Episode 9: Solitary

The episode was Sayid's backstory, but what I think is really interesting is that the Sayid's character was even in the series at all.

Lost debuted in September 2004, twenty months after the war in Iraq began, and eighteen months after President Bush declared the end of combat with "Mission Accomplished" speech.  By the time Lost aired, Iraq had its first interim government in place, news of the Abu Gharib debauchery was one month old, and Saddam Hussein had been captured and would be executed by year's end.  

Overall, I think the mood in the US at that time was that Iraq was an unfortunate and cathartic exercise, but one that was by and large behind us. Like the previous Gulf War, we had routed an inferior opponent, and were ready to make amends and put the whole affair behind us.

Sayid's presence in the show speaks to the optimism of that era.  When he first reveals that he served in the Republican Guard, its a little shocking, but hey--we're all good with Iraq, right?  

16 September 2014

The Lost Book Club- Episode 5: White Rabbit

I’ll readily admit that I enjoy a good bit of post-apocalyptic media—literature, movies, comics, coloring books. It’s not so much that I relish thoughts of the impending end-of-the-world or that the earth in flames warms my soul, but I do appreciate that total societal upheaval provides a nice medium for speculating on how people will respond to a radical shift in their environment. Apocalyptica sidesteps the question of whether or not we humans are products of our environment by throwing its characters into a new dystopia: a Wasteland, a Waterworld, a Thunderdome (and that’s just 90s movies).  

At any rate, apocalyptica takes three main stances on the inherent nature of man absent authority:
1)      Lord of the Flies—Left to their own devices, people will smash asthmatic fat children with large rocks. (The Road)
2)      Heroes and Villains — People are either pretty decent or completely wretched, but the good guys will *most likely* triumph over both the baddies and the circumstances.  Most post-apocalyptic stories fall into this category, because it gives you someone to root for. (Alas Babylon, Jericho, Wool) 
3)      Sheeple—Look to your left. Now look to your right. Pretty much everyone around you will go full catatonic until someone tells them what to do.  (1984, Fahrenheit 451, Atlas Shrugged)

At this point of the show, Lost falls into bucket #3, which I found kind of surprising and a little disappointing.  Sure, this episode is about the birth of a leader, but a really more of a Shepherd---or a Shephard---oh my gosh, I just now got the reference to Jack’s name.  Wow.

From the script: 
How are they? The others.

They’re thirsty. Hungry. Waiting to be rescued. (then; pointed) And they need someone to tell them what to do.

01 July 2014

The Lost Book Club: Pilot (Part 1)

Seeing that this is the start to a book club of sorts, it seems only fitting to begin where all great works of fiction begin: with a noteworthy first line. Whether these opening lines are memorable because the remainder of the work makes them so, or whether there is something inherently compelling about a premier sentence--the mythical "hook" that grade-school kids are taught in their 5-paragraph essay lessons--great stories flow from great beginnings.   

And so, an homage to a smattering of civilization's finest literature from civilization's finest television series. (How many can you identify? Any better suggestions?) 
"Who is John [Locke]?"

"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were [killed in a murder-suicide], and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth."

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a [Hot Pocket]."

"In a hole in the ground there lived a [Charlie]."

"All children, except one, grow up. [Which is why they had to write Walt out of the show despite being a major plot point before hitting puberty.]"

"[Kate], light of my life, fire of my loins."

"Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own [island], or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these [episodes] must show."

"Call me [Jacob]."

"[Everybody] was dead, to begin with."

And perhaps most fittingly: "Happy [characters] are all alike; every unhappy [character] is unhappy in its own way." 
If you'd prefer your opener straight from J.J. Abram's screenplay, you can find it here.


Thus begins my favorite TV show, and with it the inaugural convening of The Lost Book Club.  I hope you'll enjoy the weekly episodic ramblings, or join us from the comfort of your own couch.

Ratings for "Pilot (Part 1)"
Importance to Story: 5
Importance to Character Development: 5
Overall enjoyability: 4

12 May 2013

Unfolded out of the folds

A few weeks back, I came across this opinion piece from Adam Gopnik describing the "asymmetry of parental love."  It seemed fitting for today.

"One of the rules of mathematics and physics, as I - a complete non-mathematician - read often in science books, is that when infinity is introduced into a scientific equation it no longer makes sense. All the numbers go blooey when you have one in the equation that doesn't have a beginning or an end.

Parental love, I think, is infinite. I mean this in the most prosaic possible way. Not infinitely good, or infinitely ennobling, or infinitely beautiful. Just infinite. Often, infinitely boring. Occasionally, infinitely exasperating. To other people, always infinitely dull - unless, of course, it involves their own children, when it becomes infinitely necessary.

That's why parents talking about their children can be so tedious - other parents, I mean, not me or you - not because we doubt their love, or the child's charms, but because itemizing infinities is obviously the most boring thing imaginable.

We see this, with heartbreaking clarity, in those people we know, or read about, who continue to love, say, a meth-addicted child. And we think: "Why don't you just give up?" And they look at us blankly and we say: 'Oh, yeah. Right.'

The joke our genes and our years play on us is to leave us, as parents, forever with this weird column of figures scribbled on our souls, ones that make no sense, no matter how long you squint at them or how hard you try to make them work.

The parental emotion is as simple as a learning to count and as strange as discovering that the series of numbers, the counting, never ends. Our children seem, at least, to travel for light years. We think their suitcases contain the cosmos. Though our story is ending, their story, we choose to think - we can't think otherwise - will go on forever.

When we have children, we introduce infinities into all of our emotional equations. Nothing ever adds up quite the same again."

I love you, Mom.
Happy Mother's Day.

27 February 2013

Rat City Returns

Just in case there are any other Seattle-ites out there who also had bad dreams after staying up late streaming The Walking Dead on some obscure eastern-European TV-piracy hideout: I bring you...The Seattle Doomsday Map.

In addition to being beautiful and geographically/architecturally accurate, the map “provides valuable information,” Dowler [the artist] writes. “You can find out the location of the radiation leak in Sodo, who sells fresh produce in Belltown, and what’s the worst threat to your safety in Cal Anderson Park.” (Answer: zombies, duh.)  The preparation for Seattle being taken over by the undead really seems to make sense, given that hipster culture is a form on early-onset zombism.

For me personally, I lived in the middle of that flesh-colored ruin to the center-left of the map last summer and currently work next to the bright green square at 11 o'clock on the map-- it looks clear but the Whole Foods across the street has apparently been overrun.  In case of Zombie Apocalypse, you can find me atop the Space Needle, eating $18 chocolate-chip pancakes until the biters learn to use elevators.

**Rat City is a once-and-future nickname for Seattle.  Other nicknames include Emerald City, Queen City, Rain City, and my personal favorite "Gateway to Alaska."
Fitty-fi forms for fibbing: