Saturday, May 29, 2010

Facebook Privacy Week (Month, Year ...)

My very first appearance on Reuters television.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lost in Translation: Rewrite the Last Page

Spoiler alert: This article assumes you’ve seen what passed for a final episode.

If you’re like me, Sunday night’s Lost series finale may not have exactly hit the spot. Sure, everyone’s dead — and some might say not a moment too soon. Well, nearly everyone: Inscrutable Ben Linus isn’t “ready” to “move on” and is left to his own devices right outside that multi-denominational church where the high school reunion from hell is going on. So, naturally, the dramatic plot device we are thinking of is: Blockbuster Feature Film.

I made my disappointment about the trajectory of final season clear in a post on my personal blog three weeks ago, so I won’t dwell on the ultimate dramatic sin of the series: Since anything is possible, nothing is impossible.

Continue reading on's Underwire blog

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Unbearable Lightness of Lost

The first sign that I had lost my edge came without warning: I Tivo'd Lost on Tuesday, when I was unable to watch the show in real-time for the first time ever, and then was in no real hurry to see it. I'm now the weary gambler who won't fold because he secretly wants to lose, and betting on an indifferent hand hastens that perverted joy.

A lot of people died this week on Lost -- only white people survived, a friend observes, and the suicide bomber was an Arab, she also noted. Well, Sayid is Iranian and thus Persian, but at this point, on this show, which purports to be all about the details, this slight twist on an cheap cliché seems like an inconsequential inside joke.

Even death provides no finality in this bloated final season. Jacob says he can't bring people back to life and the seemingly untrustworthy Man in Black promises he can. But of course, nobody is ever really dead on Lost, because people can time travel and reunite in the past and also alter the future (with evidently imperfect effectiveness). And, anyway, Hurley can talk to dead people -- or pretend he has.

So what are we to say when Sayid and Jin selflessly make the supreme sacrifice, for love? Later, dude?

I think what really upsets me is that the creative forces behind Lost have miscalculated the value of "Anything is possible." It anything is possible, nothing is impossible. And when nothing is impossible, whatever happens has zero impact. Lost has created a huge appetite among a dwindling but committed fan base for answers, and at this point it no longer matters. That is the cost of having no canon; there is no need to hew to the nuance of a thousand delimiting historical "facts."

There is a strong religious theme playing out (or, sigh, so it would seem) but Lost has literally become the Bible: there are no fixed truths, lots of confused, needy, susceptible people living in caves and so many vague non sequiturs that it says exactly what you want it to.

And like the Bible, the only counter-argument is that Lost is not an the inspired word of God but the work of humans, which, of course, the Bible teaches us are flawed.

But SciFi needs rules, as well as faith. Certain things are impossible on Star Trek, for all of its imagination and invention. Lucasfilm employs a Star Wars continuity cop named Leeland Chee who keeps track of "thousands of years of story time, running through all the bits and pieces of merchandise" to protect the viability of that franchise. The boys on the Big Bang Theory can correct you in Klingon and argue about String Theory and make them seem equivalent.

Lost, meanwhile, has become a prime time soap with the worst daytime attribute: Nobody (Jack) ever asks the obvious question any intelligent person (neurosurgeon) would, settling something once and for all instead of staring as if lobotomized as we cut to commercial.

Lost is bound by nothing now, and that makes it uninteresting, by any definition.