Archive | May, 2010

The End of Lost as an End to Mystery

24 May

[NOTE: This post contains spoilers about the series finale. The usual precautions apply.]

Update: See also Tracie’s excellent re-cap/analysis over at Jezebel.

I think Charlie Anders’s response to the finale of Lost over at io9 is representative of the reaction many other Lost fans had last night:

In the end, it’s hard not to see Lost as the longest con of them all. Not because we didn’t get enough answers – it’s really true that after this episode, I don’t need any more answers than what we got. But because all along, Lost seemed to be a story. Until the end, when it wasn’t. In the end, it was just a bunch of stuff that happened.

[…] It just felt like a cheap, cop-out ending.

Slb over at Postbourgie has a similar take:

I haven’t encountered too many fans who weren’t at least a little let down by this resolution. The whole, “Surprise! You’re all dead!” thing seems far too convenient for a show that encouraged its audience to invest so much time cracking codes and trouble-shooting mysteries. If you think about all the websites with secret messages and comic book plotlines and DVD commentaries and literary references and numerical fake-outs this show employed over the years, in light of the show’s last few minutes, it’s enough to make you want to throw something at your TV.

Contrast this with Tyler Cowen’s take:

Most of all I viewed the ending as tragic.  It was not mainly about any particular account of the metaphysics of the island.  It was about how few couples had the chance to actually live together, love together, and stay together.  The perfect reunions of the couples in the “we’re all dead” scenario only drove this point home.  I found this contrast moving.

[…] Overall I thought it was the best final episode of a series I have seen, with close competition from The Sopranos.

I favor Cowen’s reading for several reasons, mostly because I think it captures what was resonant and frustrating to the viewers annoyed by the finale: the promise of an end to mystery left us with another mystery and that mystery was different than the mysteries proffered by the show before the finale.  But first some quick background on what kind of Lost watcher I was for context: I wasn’t a committed Lost fan over the entire series.  In fact, I began watching the series starting with (I believe) the Season 3 DVD and stayed with the show mostly because 1) I had enough character background and basic mythology that I could watch an episode and follow the rough contours of the mysteries and revelations while grounded in the character drama and 2) I was sucked in by the Lost cultural phenomenon and was curious to see how it would all end.

Continue reading

Whither Pax?

21 May

When I first started this blog, I had hopes that I could make it a group blog–not just because it would make the writing load easier on myself, but because there are a lot of areas that I find very interesting beyond my narrow personal and academic experience (e.g. science, law, philosophy).  I was also much more foreign policy focused, in large part because foreign policy issues dominated politics at the time.

In the intervening years, I’ve alternated between neglecting the blog and occasionally dipping back in to write about some of those disparate issues.  That’s required a lot of reading and, frankly, a lot of energy that isn’t as helpful to the (few, transient) readers of this blog. I don’t have the intellectual or policy experience that a lot of other bloggers have, and that makes my posts a lot less useful for making sense of an issue, something that I think is important if I’m going to add to the debate and not simply add to the noise.

That’s why I’ve decided to start blogging again while taking the blog in a different direction.  As my blogroll suggests, I want to draw from a range of disciplines and approaches, and this is part of my comparative advantage. So I’m going to embrace my disparate intellectual interests and see if I can’t serve as a rough translator between disciplines and ideologies. Even if I don’t have the policy experience of the experts, I can make some of the disagreements and points of contention between philosophies and political positions clear and hopefully add to understanding even if I can’t provide answers.  Here’s hoping some of you will stick around for it.