Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lost in a Postmodern World...

Many of my posts pertain to the science and pseudo-science of Lost, but my background is really in philosophy. As my recent analysis of the Desmond Exception suggests, I think of the show as a postmodern work with a particular emphasis on existentialism. So I was a little surprised to find two bloggers -- I'll call them "Dick" and "Jane" -- arguing that the show was building to some unified metaphysical theory of life, the universe, and everything.

What follows are excerpts from our exchange. In fairness to Dick and Jane, I've edited and substantially shortened their posts to focus on the points I want to make, but I did my best to preserve the essence of their claims. I'm reproducing our dialogue here because I think it addresses some basic misconceptions about the relationship between postmodernism and metaphysics, and clarifies why I think of Lost as thoroughly postmodern.

Bigmouth: Lost is a postmodern story about postmodern themes, like Ulysses, Watchmen, and the Brothers Karamazov. Just my opinion, but I don't think the type of metaphysical unification that you both apparently seek is forthcoming.

Dick: I don't think the postmodernism of LOST excludes the metaphysical ambitions of the series. In fact, the clever ways they found to sustain these existential ambitions are a lot postmodern (and these "clever ways" are the entire show, itself).

Bigmouth: How could it not entail rejection of metaphysics? Postmodernism is notoriously hard to define, but I'm with Lyotard that such theories all share a mistrust of meta-narratives. This includes existentialism, which I've always understood to be anti-metaphysical. Why would you expect a postmodern work generally, or one specifically about existentialism, to offer a unified metaphysical explanation? That strikes me as antithetical to the whole exercise...

Jane: One of the reasons that people find such difficulty in identifying "postmodernism" may be the result of there being more than one "postmodernism." We have many postmodernisms at our disposal - the beauty of polysemy! Anyways, the notion that meta-narratives are to be mistrusted may be construed as a meta-narrative in itself - and hence, is to be mistrusted. What do you get when irony folds back on itself? Step through that door and find out.

Bigmouth: That part about "irony folding back on itself" is precisely what differentiates postmodernism from metaphysics, in my opinion. The former deliberately contains within itself the seeds of its own potential destruction. In fact, it's a common pattern in postmodern thought for one thinker -- say Nietzsche -- to attack metaphysics only to be accused of being a closet metaphysician by another -- e.g., Heidegger.

Jane: Postmodernism is quite good at planting the seeds of its own destruction. What about a rubric that's just as effective (if not moreso) in planting the seeds of its own resurrection and rebirth?

Bigmouth: That's postmodernism -- theories contain the seeds of their own destruction and rebirth as something new. Metaphysics, by contrast, seeks transcendent truths for all time, what Putnam calls the "God's-eye perspective." Perhaps it might help if you clarified what you mean by "metaphysics" because I'm not sure we're operating under the same definition.

Jane: By a "metaphysic" I mean a cognitive framework for understanding the world and the place we make for ourselves in it. As such, I would consider postmodernism to be a subset of metaphysics - with its own particular set of strengths and weaknesses.

In general I find postmodernism to be strong in deconstruction, examining power relationships, and pointing out how underlying assumptions often entail the "results" observed from such an assumed position. On the other hand, postmodernism is weak in constructive activities, including rebirth, mostly due to its refusal to establish a foundation of values and intentions to build on. (Some Buddhists would claim that continual death and rebirth can get tiresome over time.)

Whether [metaphysical] theories are "true" or not is beside the point: The world over, people employ categories (kinds) and impute essence/nature/spirit/causation in and from "kinds". At the very least, we have an apt description for human cognition, if not the world around us. It certainly gives me food for thought in considering the ontology of patterns themselves.

All of these constructions share something in common, and this might be the Unified Field Theory for Metaphysics: They all rely on metaphor. That is to say, we perform a translation of something very abstract (the Essence of Being) through something more concrete - in particular, through our direct experiences. Metaphor, of course, is foundational in Lost.

Bigmouth: Postmodernism is not a subset of metaphysics. I'm oversimplifying here, but the two approaches are pretty much opposed -- belief in one entails rejection of the other. (Unless you're some kind of Straussian, but that's a whole other can of worms.) Is it possible you and Dick mean something different when you say "metaphysical"?

You complain that postmodernism is weak on constructive activities. But whom do you have in mind with this claim? Existentialism and American pragmatism are both constructive postmodern responses to nihilism. You build on a foundation of "values and intentions" as you put it, but that foundation is always contingent and historical -- never metaphysical -- and therefore open to change.

You mention that metaphor is fundamental to Lost. I quite agree, which is why I think of Lost as a quintessentially postmodern work. Metaphors expand the realm of linguistic possibility -- a realm that's closed and fixed in a metaphysical worldview. At one point, rivers and bottles did not have mouths. You would have been speaking metaphorically to say they did. Now, of course, that metaphor has become literal truth.

Jane: Like I said, I consider a "metaphysic" to be a cognitive framework, not a transcendental truth, so we are already on different grounds. (I do this because regardless of whether "transcendental truths" exist or not, they can only be known to us through our cognitive frameworks.) And then there's the sticky matter of defining postmodernism. Perhaps you'd like to give that a go?

Because I view all cognitive frameworks as limited, I have adopted the strategy of employing multiple frameworks, which allows me to take the position of considering metaphysics (as you've defined it) and postmodernism as both true, to their respective extents. Postmodernism serves some intents and purposes well; metaphysics serves other intents and purposes well.

Bigmouth: I'm not sure what you mean by metaphysics as a "cognitive framework," but if it doesn't include transcendent Truth with a capital T, you're not talking about metaphysics. I'm reminded of a bit from the Howard Stern show, where they call and order a pizza, hold the sauce, cheese, and crust. You're basically saying "I believe in metaphysics, minus the metaphysics."

Jane, you may be the most postmodern person I know. Your whole approach to theorizing about Lost is postmodern, particularly the way you embrace ambiguity, which is a thoroughly postmodern value. When you say that you employ "multiple frameworks," you are speaking in postmodern terms. It really surprises me that you resist this characterization -- I assumed you were being deliberately postmodern!

As for defining postmodernism, I would reiterate Lyotard's claim that it is, by definition, the rejection of metaphysics. Really. For example, the American pragmatists called themselves the "Metaphysical Club" as a joke -- they were devoted to critiquing the nonsense of metaphysics and developing an alternative.

Dick: You said it right - "For example". We can only agree on one point: there was Modernism. What happens after that - now, for example - is still a rich field for multiple points of view. There are some good guys (contemporary philosophers) that even discuss IF we are in postmodernism. We don't need go that far, I agree, but this is just to give an idea about the giant task in defining the term. The cellphone is postmodernism. Gongora is postmodernism. Flash Mobs are postmodernism. And the point of view of the pragmatists about what should be the most venal definition of the postmodernism, well, I say it's like the pragmatists see the postmodernism - there's a thousand of another possibilities being discussed.

Bigmouth: My example was illustrative. What I said about rejecting metaphysics is equally true of Continental philosophers like Nietzsche and Heidegger. Again, this is the most basic definition of postmodern theory.

I think you're confusing postmodernity (i.e., what comes after modernity) with postmodernism (i.e., postmodern theory like Nietzsche and Heidegger). This may seem like a semantic distinction, but it's not. When I say Lost is "postmodern" I mean in the sense that it actually embodies the values of postmodernism, such as ambiguity and irony. The flashbacks also do a great job of illustrating a core tenet of postmodernism -- that we are historical beings through and through.

All of this is antithetical to a unified metaphysical account, which is why I have such a problem with the question you've posed. If anything, I expect Lost to mock such metaphysical pretensions, as Douglas Adams did by positing that the meaning of life, the universe, and everything was 42.

Jane: [The idea that metaphysics is about Truth with a capital "T" is] what many metaphysicians would have you believe! What they are actually doing is constructing "maps" of "being". For me, the question is not whether the map is "true" or not, but rather to what extent is this map apt? Furthermore, what value I can gain from employing such a map, and what sorts of systemic entailments unfold from its use in a population?

So, I don't know whether what I'm doing is "postmodern" or not, because I'm surely taking something from metaphysics (the maps produced) but I'm rejecting its a priori notions of how to use or consider the maps. So when you say postmodernism is the rejection of metaphysics, I do get a bit confused, because my approach is not to reject metaphysics but rather to use it differently. Take what works and turn the rest - I'm not sure that this is what postmodernists advocate.

I won't limit myself to a strictly postmodern approach - I won't limit myself to a single map of any kind! And isn't that ultimately the entailment of postmodernism - to come to a place of taking on perspectives that are antithetical and contradictory to postmodernism itself? The negation of negation leads to embracing.

I see in Lost an extension of the work begun by Joseph Campbell. Campbell's work was pretty much about creating a "unified field theory," that of myth. He goes to great lengths to describe how so many myths the world over share a common structure, that of the Heroic Journey. It should be quite clear that the Heroic Journey has been employed throughout Lost - from the very first episode, and throughout the series, for a variety of characters.

Bigmouth: Again, there's nothing particularly "metaphysical" about your approach. If anything, you have just deconstructed metaphysics. What you advocate is precisely what (some) postmodernists believe. Taking what works and abandoning the rest is philosophical pragmatism in a nutshell. Ideas are true because they are useful, not because of their correspondence with some underlying metaphysical reality. Welcome to the Metaphysical Club!

Joseph Campbell was what's called a "structuralist" because he sought one final framework for evaluating all myths. Lost is definitely influenced by Campbell's insights, but I disagree that the goal of the show is a "unified field theory of myth." Rather, Lost is paying homage to Campbell as one intellectual influence among many -- i.e., minus the baggage of his structuralist ambitions.

Lost similarly refers to aspects of Plato's philosophy (e.g., the cave parable) even though the show doesn't subscribe to his metaphysical world view. This hodge podge of references is partly what makes Lost -- like Ulysses -- a quintessentially postmodern work.


Scott said...

Yeah... what you just said.

Greg Tramel said...

not related to this post (have not read it yet, but postmodernism is 1of my favite topics so i WILL respond)

everybody's assuming Miles, Charlotte, Daniel & (insert name here) were born on the island

do we know for sure they were born there since we know they lived on the island

also, the HEMO Theory guy said TPTB confirmed Richard IS Ra but i have not been unable to varify that, anybody know?

Anonymous said...

You were right - I was confusing postmodernism with postmodernity. I checked it all, it was a mistake. But the reasons that makes me believe in a metaphysical solution for LOST come from my analysis of the narrative and my own interpretations about the extension of the metaphors - the same place your view came from. Let's keep fighting there. By the way, I´m "Dick", or Shmoo, or lr88d.

Shmoo ("Dick") said...

funny find myself here!

Greg Tramel said...

you nailed it on the head when u said it was a matter of semantics, postmodern (xyz) is all about a matter of semantics

postmodern is postmodern is just like dead is dead and whatever happened, happened no matter what u put on the end such as ity, ism .....

Greg Tramel said...

i do agree that postmodern(xyz) is in NO way a subset of metaphysics

Shmoo said...

A friend told me about postmoderni( ): " we use to get higher, building the tower - but then, there in the top, it begun to ramificate, and started to grow not for the top, but aside." We are stucked there, now. And there's no place for some metaphysics there too... or not? I don't know, it's the first time we got here, this way.

Shmoo said...

It's not a subset, I agree too, but what is the LOST situation about that?

Greg Tramel said...

not sure exactly what your question but Lost is a postmodern metaphysical story

i'll have to find the Lyotard quote and surrounding text but i doubt he intended that postmodern studies and metaphysical studies are mutually exclusive

Shmoo said...

"postmodern-metaphysical" is an answer about my question.

Greg Tramel said...

the beauty of postmodern() is it allows room for metaphysics and the kitchen sink

Greg Tramel said...

“rejection of metaphysics itself constitutes a kind of contribution to metaphysics”

Greg Tramel said...

i would say metaphysics is transcending what is physical and postmodern() is reality is relative, seems like they can both be Lost “truths” to me

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

OK. I am going to try and post and hope I don't sound (too) dumb. I understand metatextual situations quite a bit more than I do those that are metaphysical. And it seems to me, from what I read here, LOST cannot be both postmodern and metaphysical without at some point being contradictory, is that the argument?

Well then, I'm on the side of postmodernism. If I had to choose a reason, I would choose symmetry. The run of the show is somewhat mirror image, i.e., many events in S5 reflected by what was in S2. I'm not into philosophy, I'm just a writer of horror and cop fiction. So is causality the metaphysical version of symmetry? I'm just some guy babbling to himself as he walks down the street, but I will be listening in on future conversations.

Greg Tramel said...

i agree mirror reality (don't forget the The Bad Twin) is a big part of Lost but metaphyiscs being the study of gods and the divine (maybe oversimplified but works in a pinch) is also a big part of Lost, IMHO

Greg Tramel said...

make your own kind of music would be a postmodern() sentiment

Greg Tramel said...

but i still want to know if Damon really said Richard Alpert is most definitively Ra

Capcom said...

Ahhh, there's nothing quite like a good old fashioned intellectual debate. Interesting post! :-D

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Greg, I agree with the metaphysical aspects, but, again, is the main argument about which element weighs heavier into the show, because certainly there are any number of instances that involve metaphysics. I'm wanting to know why it can't be both, I guess. Is that what the debate is about, if it has to be only one or the other? I really want to be part of the debate, but as I mentioned earlier, I'm usually on the sidelines for this kind of thing.

If I had a gun to my head right now (which wouldn't fire, right?), I would say it is the metaphysics that make us think and talk and blog and speculate about LOST, but as a whole, LOST is pure postmodernism. The last TV show that came close to this was HOMICIDE. [everyone else tosses their hands in the air, ha ha]. Maybe some would say a cop show can't be postmodernism, fine. But I can't think of anything as just plain big as LOST to show up on TV again for a long, long time.

Greg, I don't know anything about Richard Alpert being RA past they have not said no he is not. So there's that. Faraday's back, he'll have the answers. Thanks for putting up with me, gang.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Oh, and yes, make your own kind of music is what the debate is about, LOST is what you want it to be, even if its to see Kate and Sawyer making out.

And Greg, I would think Miles was born on-Island, but if Charlotte was 4 in 1974, I don't know that the DI was on the Island in 1970. Re: Faraday, its just my way of thinking, but I've believed that Ellie might have left the Island before Faraday was born. Miles has powers, if you will, while the others don't. The question is, who is Faraday's daddy? Brother Campbell at the monastery?

Greg Tramel said...

i think the statement was you can either use postmodern theory OR metaphysical theory to decontruct Lost and they are mutually exclusive

i contend you can use both

Greg Tramel said...

i think it the puzzles lead us to believe Widmore is Daniel’s father and Ellie is still on the island in 1977 and Daniel was born on the island (as an Other), but I feel it has in NO WAY been confirmed yet, they could very well be leading us toward a black hole on Daniel’s roots, i suspect we will find out tomorrow night

i’m awful when it comes to dates/ages but then I wonder if that even matters on the island or i suppose Charlotte could have been born on the island as an Other before get sucked into DI and the same with Daniel, but it could very well be as you said that only Miles was born on the island as indicated by his abilities


Greg Tramel said...

oh and 1 last thing, Sawyer and Kate are SO gonna get back together

i actually enjoy the love stories along with all the postmodern metaphysical gobbledygook

Bigmouth said...

Scott: LOL!

Shmoo: I'm so glad you stopped by, my Brazilian friend! Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the guy who sparked this whole provocative debate.

Greg: I'm confident that Lyotard meant what I said, but you're welcome to check for yourself -- it's from the Postmodern Condition. No disrespect, but you are making the same mistake as Jane. When you treat metaphysics as one more thing in the "kitchen sink," you are no longer really practicing metaphysics.

A good analogy is the way we still speak in Newtonian terms about gravity even though Einstein thoroughly disproved Newton's theory. Physicists may use the same words (e.g., mass, gravity, etc.) and even the same equations. But this is purely for convenience -- those words and equations rest upon theoretical assumptions that are totally wrong from the perspective of General Relativity. The relationship between Newton's theory of gravity and Einstein's thus resembles the relationship between metaphysics and postmodernism. "Postmodern metaphysics" makes about as much sense as "Newtonian Relativity."

The essay you cite mostly supports this claim. In the sentence preceding your quote, the author admits "I am treating [postmodernism and metaphysics] as mutually exclusive." Similarly, in the sentence that follows your quote, the author argues that deconstructing metaphysics "can contribute to our understanding of metaphysics without continuing the metaphysical project." She's admitting that, when you treat metaphysics as one perspective among many, you're not really practicing metaphysics. The two perspectives are as mutually exclusive as Newton and Einstein's views on gravity.

I urge you to read Richard Rorty's essay "Solidarity or Objectivity?" which I believe is available on Google books. I think he does a better job than the author of the essay you cite in clarifying the terms of the debate. At the very least, Rorty offers a more mainstream postmodern view in the tradition of Dewey, Nietzsche, and Heidegger. I think you will find that you are, like Jane, engaged in philosophical pragmatism, not metaphysics.

Wayne: I'm glad you raised the example of a mirror, because that metaphor is actually at the heart of the debate between metaphysics and postmodernism. Metaphysics assumes that there is an underlying objective reality that exists beyond the subjective realm of our senses. The goal of metaphysical philosophy is to be a "mirror of nature" that reflects this objective reality as accurately as possible.

Postmodernists, by contrast, reject the distinction between subjective and objective perspectives. Ideas are true not because of their correspondence with some underlying metaphysical order but because people agree they are useful. As Rorty puts it, "to say that what is rational for us now to believe may not be true, is simply to say that somebody may come up with a better idea. It is to say that there is always room for improved belief, since new evidence, or a new hypothesis, or a whole new vocabulary, may come along."

Capcom said...

Me too also. :-)

I'd be hard-pressed to label it as one or the other (but maybe I'm just not knowledgable enuff to?), because the range of the stories, substories, and subsubstories are so vast and encompassing -- and I think that's TPTB's purpose in their tale here. Faith vs. Science and all that, with the story now leaning towards the thought that you need to embrace both to be complete. ???

Capcom said...

BTW, I just began reading a book titled "Bruce Lee: Artist of Life", the contents of which are Lee's essays and various writings on his lifelong study of philosophy. I recommend it for anyone who enjoys reading perspectives on the subject. He cross references the gamut while infusing his Zen and gung fu foundations within the Western characteristics of philosophy, including the things that have been mentioned here. :-)

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Thanks, gang. I guess I can understand abstract concepts such as time travel paradox, and it could be that its because I write in a genre that is completely different than LOST, hence my love for the show, because most writers divorce themselves from their genre to be more effective writers (I read cop novels because of the writer, I don't go out of my way to find a cop novel above all else).

That said, the only way I could squeeze into the debate was with the mirror image. I couldn't really tell how "deep" Big & Schmoo's debate was because of not knowing the true depth of it, so I wasn't certain if the debate was about deconstruction or the true elements of the foundation.

While I still lean towards postmodernism, because as a writer I cannot imagine any person writing a single thing without either expecting to have someone else top it or to top themselves in some way, but I can also see how the other has to figure into it to a large degree, which circles back to the symmetry. S1-3 are for those interested in character over concept, S4-6 is the opposite. I'd like to think that if time travel was introduced in S1 or 2, LOST would no longer be on the air. INVASION was by no means a great show, but it did have a decent premise. HILL STREET BLUES today seems horribly dated, but in 1981, it gave me the urge to write, to know about characters that were not part of an ensemble of comedy. Once HOMICIDE was broadcast, after the brilliant book by David Simon, HSB became even more dated.

Greg is correct is wanting more flashbacks. We haven't heard 100% of Juliet's story, virtually none of Richard's, or Widmore's for that matter. I'm thinking that tomorrow's episode will have Faraday cocooning some DI backstory. Loose ends, besides Rose & Bernard, are really how the Others culled their ranks, as they did with the tail-section (my thoughts, they were brainwashed by Smokey or in Room 23).

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Greg, re: the ages, certain details stick in my head, again, because I have to recall certain things for my longer fiction to work. So while thinking of time travel amounts to my own little thought experiment, once I've watched an episode twice, the minutae sticks with me. I'll bet Charlotte's family were on the same sub as Ben and his dad, or they were the trip before. And I forgot Ellie was mentioned after Ben was shot, so yes, Faraday as a kid is an Other. Although, they can be giving us a red herring in that Faraday never says Eloise Hawking was his birth mother. Along with daddy issues being a core theme, so also is the "Raised By Another" idea. It's great to speculate, hence my extreme admiration and affection for Big's blog and its' attendees, but rarely, if truly at all, have I called bullshit on a single aspect of LOST.

Two more loose ends, Annie, of course, and how many of us keep forgetting Henry Gale was real and not just a persona of Ben Linus?

Greg Tramel said...

so for the sake of just getting the ages/timeline in my head it could be that Charlotte, Annie and Ben came to the island on the same sub, right? i mean the ages work not that is in any way verified

what about the idea of Charlotte also being a child of an Other? could that be possible?

agewise could Charlotte and Daniel have been kids together on the island with both sets of parents originally Others? like i said i'm a lost cause when it comes to figuring out ages

TRUE! it has not been verified that Ellie is Daniel’s birth mother; we are all just assuming since they are leading us in that direction as well as leading us to believe Whidmore is his father BUT it could be something COMPLETLEY different

Greg Tramel said...

Wayne, i watched Southland the other day, i find it to be a very interesting cop show, I was also into Life on Mars and was disappointed it was cancelled, I never watched Hill Street Blues or Homicide but I did enjoy Invasion

KoreAmBear said...

Hi everyone! I'm back from my stay at the hospital as the surgeons reconstructed my brain after I had read this post. The only thing I could think about from this blog is a song by Devo, "Post Post Modern Man". Here are the lyrics (it was capitalized on the website, my apologies):


Greg Tramel said...

Lyotard is but 1 of millions of postmodern theorists so i would not bank everything just on him, but anyway we probably differ on our definition of metaphysics reflecting objective reality in nature rather than our definition of postmodernism,

i will read the essay you cited

Capcom said...

Not to change the subject but, oh no, Life On Mars was cancelled?! Is that why it ended the way it did or was that planned? I was kind of looking forward to finding out what the heck that was all about. That is, if it was supposed to mean more than what it was literally. :-p

I liked Invasion as well.

Go Devo! :-D

Greg Tramel said...

once you quote devo i guess everything else is moot, LOL, we are not men

yep, the American version of Life On Mars is over, i kinda doubt it was the original idea to end as it did, I’ve tried the British sequel which is Ashes to Ashes but have not gotten into it yet, it is about a female cop that was “sent” back to the 80s

a “time travel” show worth checking out is Being Erica but more of a sitcom, nothing at all like Lost

KoreAmBear said...

Is there any chance of a spin-off from LOST? "The Dharma Years" a comedy with Horace Goodspeed and Paul Ankh, with Phil as the comedic foil? Or how about Tom & Arturo's Place? Perhaps the life and times of Anthony Cooper, do-gooder in Emergency, to awful kidney stealing man. Or "Faraday's Adventures in Time". I'd like to see him go to WWII and confront Hitler. Which is funny because the actor Jeremy Davies was in a WWII movie -- I forgot the name, where he was some kind of scientist on the back line but he was confronted with killing a Nazi to save one of his colleagues and he couldn't pull the trigger - wimped out.

There is going to be a huge void after the last LOST ep. in May 2010. We're going to have to do something about this.

Greg Tramel said...

or just let Hurley and Miles do an Odd Couple remake, i'd watch it

Capcom said...

There certainly will be a huge void after Lost is over. I don't want to lose all my Lost blog friends just because we won't have Lost to talk about anymore! :-o

If you can eventually think of that Jeremy Davies movie Koreambear, could you post it? Tx.

The Odd Couple with H&M...awesome.

David said...

Hey Capcom - could be "Saving Private Ryan," Jeremy Davies was a soldier in that.

His best film, though, has to be Solaris - very Faraday-esque.

Greg Tramel said...

I dug BOTH versions of Solaris

Greg Tramel said...

there's a new show after Lost is over called i think Flashback so we will always have something

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Greg, I'm just speculating this about Dan and Hawking. There have been a decent ratio of red herrings to Easter eggs on this show, in fact, I mentioned how they seemed to make a point out of Sawyer impaling his foot in the second episode (after the flaming arrows) and how it might be a clue that he'd end up with four toes, yada yada yada. I thought that only because they gave this close-up of the foot and wound. Again, all fun speculation.

It's hard to judge the ages of the kids because, aside from Annie & Ben, we never see them play together and the school can be various ages in each classroom. I'd still place Charlotte (as seen by Faraday in 1974) as a few years younger than Ben or Annie. And you had mentioned the topic of aging earlier on, that is a factor, as well. I think its an aging slower than not at all thing, Widmore seems pretty fit for a guy in 70s. I don't think we should take Richard Alpert as a signpost.

It's interesting that you think the Others became DI, I would think it'd be the other way around. If only because I can't see anyone from the Others circa 1974 joining up with a bunch of people who, last time they were on the Island, brought a hydrogen bomb with them. Unless, as Big speculated, that there is more to the Truce/Circle of Trust than we know of, if the Swan is indeed in Hostile territory.

SOUTHLAND reminds me a bit of HIGH INCIDENT, which was barely on during the summer of, I think, 1998. I suppose I could put THE SHIELD as the next bar up from HOMICIDE, but I'm sticking with network tv. Again, HSB is so dated now, but I encourage everyone living to watch HOMICIDE. David Simon spent a year with the Baltimore cops, writing articles for the Baltimore Sun. He then wrote the book (which HBO developed) THE CORNER, and THE WIRE followed.

Capcom, the British version of LIFE ON MARS was only 16 episodes and I never caught the US version, but I'm guessing the story was unfinished.

KoreAmBear (and CC): SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. But I think Davies was a mapmaker or something. That's why he couldn't shoot--that great scene in the burnt out French home with the Nazis and US soldiers dying upstairs, Davies on the stairs--he wasn't overseas in combat mode. If he didn't make maps, he might have been a courier.

Well, there is Hurley and Miles plus Tom and Arturo, but last season I was all about Faraday and Lapidus as the new millenium's version of Starsky & Hutch.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Just tossing this out there, but does anyone think that the Swan jumpsuits were white before this season's events? I kinda want to think that, if there have been subtly changes in the present (the photos on grandma's wall in the Miles flashback, Des's new memory), could James, Miles, Jin & Juliet popping into 1974 have unconsciously changed the jumpsuits design? Also, Radzinsky commented during Sayid's interrogation that they hadn't even decided on the Swan's name yet, though all the jumpsuits have the logo, even Faraday's. Is the picture on the box subtly changing in 1977 now that more of the 06 are back? Is the black swan event the 06's arrival in 1977?

Shmoo said...

I expect of LOST the most impressive treatment on time discrepancies. I bet they will transcend any pure relativistic explanation to the possible paradoxes. But I don't have a clue about what the hell they will do to deal with that.

Capcom said...

Thanks David, that's what I was wondering (SPR). And yes, he was great (and very breathy-Faraday) in Solaris! I have to rewatch that Russian version of Solaris sometime soon. I taped it off of TCM and accidently recorded over it before I got to watch the entire movie. Stoopid me. :-(

That's the weird thing Wayne, so many items that we've seen this season (food, wine, etc.) already have Swan logos on them even before the station was created. What the heck does it mean I wonder? Something, or nothing? :-o

Capcom said...

Right Shmoo, I'm thinking that TPTB will dream up their own version of time rules and imaginary physics.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Should have mentioned before, SOLARIS was a book by Stanislauv Lem before it was a film. Just sayin, for those needing some summer reading.

Greg Tramel said...

wayne, des and kelvin wore the standard issue whitish/biegeish DI jumpsuit while pushing the button, no telling what the black jumpsuits "mean" or if it is a change due to the 06 losties

they better explain those changing pictures and such, another example is the stereo changes in the hatch (swan), there seem to be way too many for just production errors

sure seems Charlotte and Daniel where childhood friends on the island even if Charlotte was always a DI kid, i still suspect the others & DI offspring played together and formed the secret shadow club

my wife is form baltimore so we've watched quite a few episodes of Homicide, we tried The Wire but thought it was overrated

Greg Tramel said...

i think 1 postmodern big reveal might the writers actually get wind of bloggers comments and it does affect a sliver of the what happens on the show, now that IS postmodern TV, i realize most of it is written and in the can way ahead of when we actually see it but i think they do leave a smidgen of room to respond to the audience

KoreAmBear said...

Yep, the eyeliner reference by Sawyer and the dialogue between Miles and Hurley -- are @audience, to put it in a Twitterism. I'd like to see Darlton get Facebook and Twitter into LOST somehow, to preserve the cultural reference for all times on Blue Ray.

Greg Tramel said...

"...but are they?"

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

I need to write multiple posts like Greg, earlier it took 20 minutes on one post and two people ended up posting before me. David got the jump on the SPR film. But its late now, only the secret cabal in Hawaii is still lurking.

Greg, read the link to NetProphet's long and detailed post that Big put on his last post. I made a few comments near the end there. Faraday's Theresa is unstuck in time and Boone's nanny Theresa falling down the stairs falling up the stairs in Locke's dream. I pegged the two Theresas, but NetProphet really took it further, explaining the subtle shifts that are not continuity errors. Maybe one or two, I'll concede, but particularly when you see the purposeful close-up of that grandma's photos and they change, well, that's meant to be seen. I mentioned the jumpsuits because, well, sure, it could be construction gear. Yet Radzinsky AND FARADAY are suited up the same. So that perturbs me.

Schmoo and Capcom, as I mentioned, I've yet to call b.s. on LOST, and I don't think I will unless I find out the Island is really on Kate's eye while she is looking at a snowglobe or some other Kate-like crap. But, imaginary physics? I'd lean towards physics that maybe we just don't understand yet. William Gibson's NEUROMANCER pegged everything about the Internet twenty years ago but no one got it then. So I will accept every bit of metaphysics they try to explain.

Greg and KoreAmBear, postmodernism is brought to a new level because of the internet and screen caps, even product placement. In the case of LOST, it misfires at times because everyone is watching it under a microscope, and because of that we get Nikki/Paulo here and gone because reactions are much more immediate. The good thing about the time travel shifts (the "production errors") is that something can be better explained, such as Charlotte's DOB or the actual year of the Purge (1992, because someone posted that Ben wore a watch that wasn't made before 1992, there's your microscope).

KoreAmBear, anyone else, I'm BobbyTheMitch on Twitter. (Over the winter I wrote a novel, @JOY MOTEL, on Twitter along with John Ewley of Toronto. We've never met and the deal was written up in the Boston Phoenix. End of plug.)

KAB: I'll bet Arturo has a FB page mourning the death of Tom. We should all join. (Or...make one up *light bulb*?) Ya think?

See you on the Island.

KoreAmBear said...

I'll check out @Joy Motel, Wayne.

Well, Doc Jensen and his budy on their LOST videos do have Pig E. Vil on Facebook.

KoreAmBear said...

Wayne - does the Dr. Acula reference (see Doc Jensen's post about Miles' shirt shark v. bear, Dracula being the easy anagram) have anything to do with Bram the guy who kidnapped Miles, as in Bram Stoker?

Synchromystic Librarian said...

the only births 100% CONFIRMED on the island are Ethan & Aaron, right? or am i missing somebody/something?

i mean, there are strong indications Miles and Daniel were born on the island but i don't think that has been confirmed, or has it?

now for something completely different, the pictures changing (and all the others too numerous to be production errors) is still bugging me and there is another one is the last episode

Accidental Random Memories

Greg Tramel said...

god in a box

Greg Tramel said...


Anonymous said...

I believe Alex would be a confirmed island birth as well

Greg Tramel said...

ah yes duh! of course

so Alex, Aaron, Ethan 100% confirmed island births

maybe on Daniel, Charlotte, Miles

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

KoreAmBear, I obviously thought about Bram as being Bram Stoker, because we are wet-wired to thinking of authors and book titles now. Jensen finds quite a few references to fill his column with; he is entertaining, but I sometimes thinks he goes out on limbs that aren't there. Dr. Acula, maybe it was a name reference, but when Miles was nabbed I thought of a novelete by Stoker called "Dracula's Guest." A little bit of the story in a way paralells the tension in the van. Also sharks and bears we are aware of from Hydra (they never did follow up on Hydra logo shark from after the raft broke apart). But I find it interesting that they gave us one image and hid the other, all the while knowing some blogger somewhere would tell the full tale of the shirt.

@librarian, I have to look at your links in a bit, for some reason, my computer loads your page very slow. But its always worth it.

Greg, I better understand what you are getting at now, that the DI and Others children could be hanging out. My statement about adult Others knowing the DI were no different than the Jughead group stands, but kids are innocent of that kind of knowledge. Before the Temple healing, I had thought perhaps Annie might have been a plant by the Others (somehow), to gain Ben's trust by giving him that creepy wooden doll of her. When they met at school, it seemed as if that Hostile attack was, I dunno, rehearsed, a show put on for the benefit of the children. Maybe it was to discourage new arrivals from hanging with the Others' kids. Since that episode, we've never seen any type of running and shooting inside the barracks area.

One tough thing about the on-Island births is that almost every recent character has a different last name.

I rewatched Jughead last night in light of tonight's Faraday episode, and I suddenly thought, hey, what if Miles and James, et. al., didn't know Dan had hopped a sub back to the US? Quite a few people have speculated that the assumption was that he had just wandered off from the DI.

But it was Juliet's comments last night to Sawyer, she was so matter-of-fact, "Richard's always been here." How old is he? "Old." We could probably get as much an Others backstory from her as from Richard himself.

KoreAmBear said...

Richard is a Highlander, from the clan McCloud? The two kind of look related.

Synchromystic Librarian said...

i'm wondering how come dan's jumpsuit is now black but in the season opener it was the standard issue beige (or whatever color they are)

am i assuming wrong that the season opener happened (dan in swan looking at sonogram of FDW) AFTER the end of the last episode with the return of the prodigal dan?

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

The Faraday scene in the opener is from 1977, one would think; I realized it when Hurley brought the food, it seemed as if the Orchid construction looked the same as in the opener. (This fits with the average date of the Orientation tapes being late 70s). Yes, the color was different, that off-beige or eggshell-white color. Might just be the construction and Circle of Trust guys with the black swans. Anyone following my train of speculation must remember that I am "a sodding old man," as Widmore '54 once said.

Capcom said...

Wow, I missed a lot today while working at the Girl Scout HQ! :o)

Wayne, I just meant that TPTB might only take a few cues from current theories and blend them together to create their own overall theory. After all, we can't really prove them wrong or right yet. They'll probably keep it within the current wildest theories, but make it simple enough so that the audience that's not into that won't have exploded brains after it's over. :o)

I'll give ya one more under the microscope Wayne (would this be an anacronism or prochronism?): in old DI-ville Miles has carried around a backpack that has the curved ergonomic shoulder straps that were not around back in the '70s. Although I suppose it could be said that it's one that they brought with them on the helo from the freighter.

I like that Tidbits link Synch.

Right Wayne, Synch's website makes my computer get a headache too. So I just walk away and come back later after it's loaded...and hopefully it has. :o)

Haha Koreambear, that's the ending of Lost...there wil be only one.

Yes, maybe the darker colored jumpsuits are for the secret-mission workers? It would be easier to tell if someone was there who wasn't supposed to be, if they came waltzing on site with light colored jumpers on.

Great comments everyone.

Greg Tramel said...


all i'll say in case u have not seen it yet

Greg Tramel said...

of course i could be a pest and bring up the postmodern stuff again, LOL, at least no spoilers

is faith mutually exclusive to science?

is fate mutually exclusive to free will

is ben mutually exclusive to widmore?

btw i said metaphyics AND (not in) the kitchen sink, i'm thinking metaphysics is the drainer next to the kitchen sink

Greg Tramel said...

is the war widmore mentions metaphysics vs postmodern()?

ok i'll go to bed, lol

Capcom said...

It's the plug that Ben pulled to get Smokey the rotorooter to come out. :-B

Capcom said...

What an episode, eh? I'm blown away and sad.

Synchromystic Librarian said...

SORRY!!!!, i'll try to fix the blog, it's probably flikr and youtube videos slowing it down

Synchromystic Librarian said...

very very very sad

i'm HOPING it can be "changed" but i have my doubts

Capcom said...

Hey, don't worry about your blog, it's great, I just have an old computer and a slow internet provider.

Yeah, maybe because "what happened" didn't, um, wasn't completed, it will either be OK, or it will be finished next week. I hope it will be OK though. :-(

Anonymous said...

Wow. I am very enlightened now. Thank you for helping me see LOST in a whole new way....

Here is my 2 rather kindergarten cents...

I don't believe we actually know yet if it is postmodern or metaphysical (if we agree the two are mutually exclusive). Because we don't know what the island intended or decreed. Perhaps what is happening is exactly the mirror reflection of the grand design of the gods of the island, if you will. We don't know yet if everything that has happened will happen, will always happen and there is no changing things.

I am thinking of the island much as Dr. Manhattan right now - he lived in all times non-linearly but cared very little for changing things. He also was subject to Veidt's Tachyons and was muddled. In fact, I am seeing more and more connections to The Watchmen and I go, my thought is, we don't know yet.


Anonymous said...

Oh, and hey, shout out to Wayne Allen Sallee - I agree! Homicide was one of the best shows on TV ever, and certainly network TV.


Synchromystic Librarian said...

mybog is slow loading at work and i have a T1 line, i will just start a new one before final season

i meant i hope daniel's "death" can be changed and NOT myblog which sounds like you got but just to 100% clarify, lol

i'm taking a leap of faith confirming that ellie and widmore are daniel's biological parents, it would take them another 5 years to 100% confirm everything

ok i'm moving up to the latest post

wayne, i really enjoy Richard Belzer on Homicide

the cop shows i like now are Dexter, Medium and Southland

are the good guys mutually exclusive to the bad guys?

Greg Tramel said...

i'm sticking with the idea that MiB and Jacob are part of the same being so it does not really matter which form they shapeshift into

darkprose said...

Although I generally subscribe to Frederic Jameson's view of postmodernism, I do agree completely that "Lost" is postmodern in attitude and approach -- a multiplicity of parallax views and ontological fugues. I think it seems to resemble life in a way because our lives are, already, postmodern.

Nice debate. Thank you.