Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Lost, War, Good, Evil

So while I absolutely love to watch Lost, you may have noticed a distinct lack of posting on this blog about Lost theories. When I consider writing about this amazing show, I run into one problem: I am waaaaaay out of my league.

I have really come to care about Lost, since that 2004 day when we of the old Borders Westwood crew tuned in to see this random new ABC show, but my brain is just not at the level of the devotees who scrutinize and dissect each and every word. And most of the fans who develop theories support those theories with really, really specific supporting details. Who am I kidding? I'm lucky that I watch it with Brian, because he remembers every face and event, and sometimes I have to ask him who a character is when s/he recurs, like, two seasons later. (Brian's good at that outside of the Lost world, too. He can see an actor with two lines on a TV show and pick them out three years later in a bit part in some movie, and tell you the commercial they did in between. Not me; I'm more the type to confuse famous actors and be like, "Where do I know her from?") So yeah.

Nor am I any more than a casual reader of Doc Jensen's column or Lostpedia or any of the other post-game analysis. I think maybe I approach all that stuff the same way I think of Cliffs Notes, or commercial outlines in law school. Which is to say I think they are for weaklings. I know they're not exactly the same thing as Lost junkies, but it's a similar kind of judgmental take on the matter: if I can't "get" the meaning from watching the show, then I somehow don't deserve to or something. Actually, flip that around, because it's more like the literary analyst/English teacher in me who thoroughly enjoys talking about the story, but is loathe to admit I would actually need someone else to explain it to me ... even though I probably do ... Also, I am wary of some sources. Like, I'll read a trusted professor or admired novelist's ideas about Moby Dick, but have disdain for some "commoner's" opinion. I sound like a snob?! I totally am, I think. But the joke is totally on me, because the people who read those know what's going on, and I really probably don't, at least not as much. I still think less of customers who came into Borders to buy Cliffs Notes the night before their papers were due, though. Especially when they wanted Cliffs Notes for, like, Of Mice and Men, and we were sold out, and they wanted you to call another store to find them. I'm like, "Of Mice and Men is not that long, you idiot! The time you're wasting trying to buy the Cliffs Notes, you could read the book!" That's why it's not a perfect analogy -- Lost fans at least aren't looking for a substitute for their show, and definitely not trying to make it easier. It's all about making it more complicated.

Anyway the POINT of all this (I have one!) is that you don't really see me posting Lost theories here. But I will say this: as we wend our way through the final season, there is some question about which one of Jacob or the Man in Black is the "good side" and the "bad side." There are also those fools who for some reason like or trust Ben (best Ilana line ever, in response to his question of why she didn't believe him: "Because you're speaking") and think he could possibly be "good" in opposition to Charles Widmore's "bad." Only now all those people are confused as to whether both Ben and Widmore and their "sides" are against the MIB, and they are both on the "same" "side" somehow ... etc. etc.

Needless to say I haven't dissected all any of this or read about it online, but this is what I hope: You're all wrong! (with potential to be right) Or, to put it in Clue terms, "They ALL did it!" I want it to work out that when "war comes to this island" it's like when war comes to this rock we all live on (Earth) and nobody is right, and everyone's wrong. I want it to be that the "right" people are the ones who lay down their weapons and realize you can't "win." I want it to be that Ben is wrong, wrong, wrong for all his lying, manipulating and killing, but that Widmore is also wrong for using other people for his purposes and keeping Desmond and Penny apart, but that Dogen is also wrong for holding back answers and trying to off Sayid, and so on. I want the person who is "right" if there is a "right" to be revealed to be the peacemaker(s), but not anyone who took sides. Which, if you think about it, could very well be the candidates, although Sayid and Sawyer have done very bad things. But, they are so primed for redemption, in my opinion. (Sayid went to build houses with a Habitat-for-Humanity-like group! Of COURSE he was redeemed!) And they always seemed to act for themselves instead of taking sides.

Part of why I want all this to happen is that I want it to be a giant "F!@$%*" to religion and specifically violence in the name of religion and/or the misguided notion that "war" is "right." I mean, even to the point that Sayid, conveniently the "evil" Iraqi "torturer" of the show, but who is clearly smart, capable of many things, and very awesome, could be a symbol of how stupid people in the U.S. are for scapegoating Iraq for all their problems (while stealing Iraq's oil).

I have had little patience for people (Brian, mostly, I suppose) when they justify Ben's dastardly deeds or anyone else's by saying they did it for the island. I want the whole point of this to be that whenever humans start justifying actions that are wrong (namely, killing and lying, as well as a whole lot of kidnapping) in the name of some "greater purpose," be it an island, God, or whatever else, then they are wrong. But when they do good things, they are right.

Of course this doesn't even begin to get into the flash sideways, whether exploding the bomb worked, or my favorite (ahem), the time travel. Or why dead people communicate with Miles, or what the numbers mean, or or or or or or ... anything else for that matter. And, I can almost guarantee that my preferred philosophy is so not even close to what will actually happen on the show. Which is why I should go back to not bothering to write about it in the first place.

"We're sculptured from youth; the chipping away makes me weary.
And as for the truth, it seems like we just pick a theory,
The one that justifies our daily lives..."

--indigo girls, 'deconstruction of love'

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