The End of LOST

*SPOILERS: All content which may be spoiling is placed below the jump.*

Well, LOST is over.  Finally.  I will never forget exam week at the end of freshman year, when I agreed reluctantly to watch the sixth episode of the first season when I should have been studying, and ended up watching the first two seasons in less than a week of exam cramming, sleepless watching sessions, and caffeine.  It was the best reluctant decision I’ve ever made.

There have been problems with LOST, at least from the perspective of someone trying to think about sexism and so forth.  The straight white men drive the primary shape of the plot.  There are no gay men or lesbians, not transsexuals.  The show made some great strides with presenting the perspectives of people of color, but those perspectives have often been limited by white-driven stereotypes; take, for instance, Eko the drug smuggler-turned-priest.  And, as my friend Sarah has noted, women in LOST are motivated by two things: men and babies.

The rest is below.

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(God) I Love Philip Pullman

Andrew Sullivan posted this video:

Let me be clear: I don’t agree with Pullman on his materialist atheism.  But boy do I love a man who defends free speech like this!

But on this Good Friday, I thought I would say this: Christ was a scoundrel, and the Christian who is offended by that statement hasn’t read the gospels.  The Christ I proclaim as crucified on this day threw a wrench in the organized system of cruelty that was the Roman Empire, and was hung between robbers as a result.  The Christ I worship opened his public ministry to scoundrels and vagabonds and the powerless.  I pray that I might one day be counted as such a scoundrel.

The Google Book Settlement

I’ve been reading a little bit about the Google Book Settlement, primarily because Ursula K. LeGuin is one of my favorite authors.  She has made waves recently by being the ringleader of a prominent group of authors opposed to the settlement, and who have either withdrawn or condemned the Authors’ Guild for its involvement in the settlement plan.

However, I am really struggling to figure out what I think about the settlement.  Part of me is with LeGuin — she is right to be concerned that the settlement wrests control of her work away from her and gives it to a corporation, allowing it to enrich itself without paying her fairly for its appropriation of her content.  This is a very real concern, and we already have enough “indentured servitude” outfits out there — youtube, for example — that make money on other people’s work and creative products.

But at the same time, I find it hard to square LeGuin’s opposition with many of the more philosophical works she has written on human solidarity, sharing and becoming detached from notions of possession and deserving, and building a world in which individual cultural products serve the good of everyone.  Let me be plain: if I had written The Dispossessed, I would be pissed as hell if I wasn’t making money off of a work of singular genius.  But I would also struggle equally with the fact that I feel the ideas of The Dispossessed are far too valuable to put a price on their circulation.

Because I also agree to an extent with people who want to decentralize notions of copyright — namely, that cultural production should generally be freed in the service of cultural impact.

But I would say — it does seem unfair for Google to make money in perpetuity from advertisements on other people’s works without paying the authors a portion of the ad revenue.  So in a sense, I don’t quite get the full complications of the settlement.

A good article on the issue, by the way, is at io9.

Liturgical Stylins in the LOST-times

A reading from the Gospel according to St. Luke, chapter 4, verses 24-29 (words of Christ in red):

And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.  But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; but unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.  And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.

That was in LOST last night and I am working on puzzling it through.  I know they’ve probably already done everything possible on LOSTpedia but hey you know what I like to do things FOR MYSELF. You can’t tell me what I can’t do!

Also: Jacob tells Richard that he brought him here to prove Esau wrong, and that here “your past doesn’t matter.”  That brings to mind something Flannery O’Connor once said: “The meaning of the redemption is precisely that you do not have to be your history.”  Given the appearance of O’Connor’s Wise Blood throughout LOST, I’m sure it’s not a coincidence.

Interestingly enough, she said it in the context of responding to Betty Hester, a woman who had corresponded with O’Connor for a while and eventually admitted to being dishonorably discharged from the military for her sexual relationship with another woman.  And they started up their correspondence at first because Hester wrote to O’Connor to say that she thought the main character in A Good Man is Hard to Find was God — and O’Connor’s response was that Hester should write again, because “I would like to know who this is who understands my stories.”

Curiouser and curiouser!

Imperfect Characters in Fiction

So I’m reading through the University of Chicago magazine for my job, and I came across the following in an article that caught my eye.  The article is on Harry Potter, and suggests that J.K. Rowling should be put “on a shelf with Stoker, Chaucer, [and] Austen.”  Having been acquainted with the former only through visual media, Chaucer only through tenth grade English, and the latter only through reputation, I am in no position to judge this assessment.  But the following quotation in the article caught my eye, and is what I feel like mentioning today:

Rowling’s Harry Potter novels turn on this same theme.  Each book is loaded with reminders of how everyone but the long-suffering, brilliant, and saintly (Lupin, Hermione, and Dumbledore, respectively) is captive to their preconceptions about others and usually almost brutal in their unkindness to the objects of their prejudice.

This is part of why I struggle writing fiction.

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Silas

I think one day I would rest happy if I could publish a work, any work, one work, of science fiction or fantasy.  And they call them “works” because, well, you have to work at them, and as an individual far more prone to watching an episode of Star Trek than sitting down to write, I have trouble working on things that don’t involve deadlines set by other people.

But tonight I could not sleep, and I could not sleep because I’ve been tossing around some things in my head and on paper for a while now that needed expression.  The results are below the jump: this is a chapter in a larger work I’m trying to put together, but it stands alone and I thought was pretty good.  I would appreciate any thoughts you have.  Especially you, Adam.

Speaking of Adam, check out his blog.

Alright, to what I banged out tonight.

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