Is this gonna be on the test?
By PETER AMES CARLIN and NICK GORINI
So a month into the final season we’re still made to wonder: What is “Lost” really about? Is it a show about philosophy? Is it a vast analogy about the wages and moral toll of imperialism? Or is it all, somehow, about the polar bear?
So many ideas, so many direct quotations, so many books turning up everywhere you look. But a lot of that stuff is pure Maguffin; a graduate school of red herrings.
So we here at PAC.com’s “Lost” central – including our shadowy leader, Guru Dev Nick Gorini, lit the candles and fired up the incense, took a dunk in the hot tub of wisdom and attained clarity. What follows are the REAL moral/intellectual/narrative headwaters of “Lost.”
THEORY THE FIRST: “LOST” IS A METAPHOR FOR RISE AND FALL OF THE BEATLES
John Lennon is the Man in Black: A little bitter, more than a little sardonic, determined to escape the bonds of the utopia he helped create (to say nothing of the wide-eyed fans who reside there), he’s possessed of an explosive temper and, when you least expect it, deep sensitivity. When the MiB told Sawyer that Jacob and the other Island cultists were killing one another over nothing he was really saying: “Imagine there’s no countries/it isn’t hard to do/Nothing to kill or die for/And no religion, too. . . “
Paul McCartney is Jacob: Handsome, charming, a trifle melancholy, deeply in love with his own illusion. Jacob/Paul is more than a little manipulative and never shy about picking a fight. Many people believe he’s dead, though his regular appearances – often looking far younger than you’d expect – argue against it. Convinced that ebony and ivory can live together in perfect harmony, but there sure are a lot of names scratched off his cave ceiling. . .
George Harrison is Sayid: Meditative, eastern, suffered at least one near-fatal attack before actually getting killed. Reincarnation important to both. George didn’t seem to return from the Other Side as quickly as Sayid. . . but something in the way he moves just might remind you of another lover.
Ringo Starr is Hurley: The perpetual baby brother, mostly adorable and funny, but a surprisingly capable hit-maker. See also: “It Don’t Come Easy,” which Hurley discovered all too clearly when his lottery winnings seemed to spell nothing but doom. Later turns out to be far more intelligent and better-adjusted than anyone expected.
Stu Sutcliffe is Charlie: Artsy, sensitive, troubled, not quite able to stick with the band. Doomed to die young, but given immortality in the name of his legacy and the spiritual impact he had on those who would go on to greatar glory.
Pete Best is Ben: The very foundation of the rock-and-rhythm, the drummer is always a group’s secret leader. Until the group calls for a new drummer. Now Ben is in his own spiritual Liverpool, sentenced to a life of woulda, coulda, shouldas.
Yoko Ono is Kate: Beguiling, not always friendly, perfectly capable, and willing, to kick anyone’s ass at any moment. Just when she seems charming – that’s when you should be afraid. Very afraid.
Linda McCartney is Juliet: Blonde, smart, no evident musical ability, but a natural-born matriarch. Dies tragically young, leaving behind a shattered partner who rebounds quickly into another, extremely ill-considered new partnership.
Brian Epstein is Locke: A man of faith whose reach often exceeded his grasp. And yet his spirit was pure, his belief in his cause unwavering, and his success so astonishing as to be inarguable. All this despite being shockingly ill-equipped for his role, and more afraid than anyone would guess. Died young under conditions so murky no one can say for sure if he committed suicide, died accidentally or was murdered.
Allen Klein is Charles Widmore: Shadowy, scary, will do anything and kill anyone in order to get what he wants. But even when he wins the battle, he always seems to lose the war.
THEORY THE SECOND: “LOST” IS A METAPHOR FOR THE GW BUSH WAR TEAM:
After a cataclysmic event, a group of empowered surviviors gathers together to fight back, survive, solve life’s greater mysteries, and tackle the essential question of man’s nature. Was it fate or free will that led us into war? Both groups are/were lost in many ways. Let’s briefly break down some of the key players:
George Bush is Locke: After a life riddled with failure and endless daddy issues, finds himself in a position of great power. A man driven by faith who doesn’t spend much time using logic or thought to make decisions, the power goes to his head. Like Locke, Bush’s reputation is deader than a crab-riddled corpse.
Dick Cheney is Jack: The REAL power broker in the group, almost too coldly analytical, and unwilling to listen to anyone, even when the truth is staring him in the face. Convinced he can fix anything, and that anyone who doesn’t understand what he’s doing or where he’s coming from, he rarely tells anyone in the group what his motivations are. The only difference between Jack and Dick? Jack has a heart.
Saddam Hussein is Ben: Am I telling truth? Am I lying? Am I your ally? Am I your enemy? Sure, I do awful things, but you understand, it’s for good reasons. I may be a tyrant, but I provide you some stability. I sure love all this power. Oh, wait – are you getting sick of this game yet? Sorry, I’ll tell you truth about everything! Wait! Wait! Damn, too late. I’ve lost all my power…
Donald Rumsfeld is Smokey: More than ready to head to war, nearly salivates over it. He just wants to go home, if home means a world where Capitalist-based Christianity reigns in every nation. He’ll do anything to get home. He’s tired of the game of balanced diplomacy. A war needs to happen, and there has to be one winner.
Colin Powell is Jacob: Strong and reserved, a peaceful warrior, if you will. He tries to guide the group towards what is good, but ultimately, he is not in a position to affect choice. He can only show them ‘The Way’. Like Jacob, he can never go outright and just say what he wants. And like Jacob, he ends being symbolically sacrificed (his political career, that is).
Condoleeza Rice is Kate: Strong, smart, sexy and easily influences the men in her group. She isn’t above compromising some of her evident morals for people she loves, she’s torn between bad guys and good guys. Can she/we even tell the difference anymore?
George Tenet is Sayid: Both like to torture people, ALLEGEDLY, and are decidedly good at it. Can they elevate their morality and use their power for good? Doubtful…
John Ashcroft is Jin and Sun: Essentially good, but surrounded by a lot of destructive ideas, and an old-world view that limits personal growth. Resistant to change, but not incapable of it. C’mon, John – Let the Eagle Soar!
Ari Fleischer is Sawyer: Strong, charming and sharp-tongued, he can speak for the group on many levels, and people really, really like him, even when he says or does some really dumb things.