Contempt as a Lifestyle

Oh, the Twitter. So many eyes, so much buzz, but most days the whole point (much like the revenue stream) seems elusive. Surely there’s more to life than self-promotion, air-kissy public exchanges with friends, reaming of one’s enemies/exes and high-pitched kvetches about this guy at the checkstand (fat, slow, disconnected from temporal requirements of time-pressed customers) and mean-spirited critics? Possibly not, but an firehose gusher of 140-character reminders gets so dispiriting after a while.

Same deal with the increasingly silly Huffington Post, which between cute-pet stories, latest Lady Gaga scandals, political screeds and shrieky, politically calculated headlines (Someone Slams Someone Else! etc) it’s like the left-leaning online NY Post, only minus the wicked charm and awe-inspiring headline writers. (Keep reading, they’s more….)

Ibid that snarly/super-confident Andrew Breitbart guy, whose authority over news gathering, writing, editing, etc., is inversely proportional to his ability to perform any of those tasks. A fine marketer, clearly. But beyond that, dude’s power/influence doesn’t parse. As ever, the race goes to the audacious. Just saying it’s so doesn’t make it true. Oh wait, yes it does.

Movie ad “critic” blurbs: Just bear in mind, anything bearing a Fox affiliate credential, or aintitcoolnews, or anything-dot-com, or the name “Peter Travers” or “Jeffrey Lyons” or the name of a magazine that recently featured the stars on its cover, is worthless.

Stay tuned for one last Jackson Browne essay. Don’t spend too much time on the ‘net. Return those emails and phone messages. Let’s be careful out there.

"Lost" in Translation: He's a zombie and she's nuts.

They got the same greeting at David Geffen’s place…

So many stories, so many characters, multiple realities, intertwining crises. And maybe the one thing they all have in common is that no one is telling the truth, exactly. Particularly when they look you in the eye and swear to creation that everything they say is real.

And while it’s true that some people can, and do, tell a lie in pursuit of a moral end, the creation (or perpetuating) of a reality that is nothing but a hall of mirrors serves mostly to throw dirt in the air and turn everyone, good or bad, blind.

If the subject is “Lost,” which it is, I could be talking about anything now. About Sawyer reneging on his deal with MIB/Locke. About alt-Desmond tailing, and steering, alt-Claire to the meeting with the alt-Ilana, alt-Jack. About alt-Desmond’s bumper car exploits with altLocke. And on and on. About alt-Sayid’s murders of Keamey & friends; about Sayid’s non-murder of Desmond (if you don’t see the body….), and more.

But what’s really got me shaken up, after several weeks of thinking it was coming, is the news that the post-death Christian Shepard, seen so often in various stations and moods on the island, was always Smokey, animating yet another dead person’s body. Which implies that Smokey was the guy in “Jacob”‘s moveable jungle cabin; and the guy helping Locke push the wheel that sent the island spiraling back and forth in time; that Smokey was the one appearing to Jack in various places during his first L.A. sojourn….except, wait a minute. That COULDN’T have been Smokey, because that was in L.A., and guess who can’t travel over water?

So does that mean all those Smokey-seeming Christians weren’t Smokey after all?

At this pace “Lost” begins to resemble a kind of sci-fi version of Whack-A-Mole, where each successfully whacked plot twist only sends a dozen other rodents leaping out of the dirt.

I feel like Sawyer, the increasingly logical, and thus impatient, leader of the get-out-of-Dodge gang. He has no time for bullshit, and even less time for anyone still drifting through an existential crisis. See also his curt, and extremely accurate, dismissal of two longtime friends and compatriots: “Sayid’s a zombie, and Claire’s nuts.” Indeed. And when Hurley counters this with more movie logic — that Anakin Skywalker proves the perpetual possibility that anyone, even Claire, can cross back from the dark side, he is having none of it: “She lost her ticket when she tried to kill Kate.” Just so.

Like Sawyer, the logical part of my brain is getting irked by what it perceives as the intractability of this bottomless plot tangle. But the cooler part of me is still entranced by this ever-engaging, and always moving, collision of dramatic realism and dream-like surreality swirling just beneath the surface. The endless coincidences that make no literal sense, but score instantly in the viewer’s emotional understanding of the transcendent natures of the characters. Our inescapable suspicion that the more a person denies the existence of fate, the more he (or she, Mrs. Hawking) is actually trying to bend the direction of that mysterious, all-powerful force.

The more sure someone sounds, the less he actually seems to know for sure. The future is up for grabs. And when it comes to zombies and nuts, no one is beyond contention. Not the characters, not the producer/writers, not the viewers. Certainly not the ABC execs and their blood-red, ticking V’s. And don’t even ask about the “Lost” bloggers.