Monday, May 24, 2010

Lost - It was All A Dream...?

The opening shot of the pilot of Lost features an eye. Jack's eye, it turns out, opening. The last shot of the end of the series, six years later again, zooms in on Jack's right eye, shutting. This film technique is a framing device. It is a bold and unambiguous choice. The first frame of any moving picture is inarguably important for setting the frame of reference for what follows. The tight focus on the single eye also implies that the story following will be intimately involved with this character's point of view. What he sees is important. The camera is in some ways his eye. To end the narrative also focused on his eye implies that everything in between was experienced by him and through him. And it raises the question, is this observer reliable? Is he experiencing a three-dimensional composite reality shared with other living human beings, or is this a private reality, a dream?

The producers' choice to roll the credits over the deserted wreckage of Oceanic flight 815 cements the latter view. While the producers ended LOST with enough ambiguity to allow differing conjectures as to what was real reality, the film technique of beginning and ending the series focused on Jack's eye proves their true intent. The entire series was a fever dream in the mind of Jack Shepherd as he lies dying on the ground after the crash of Oceanic flight 815 from Sydney. Letting go and accepting his own death is the purpose of the six-year narrative which follows, just as Jack's father Christian, leads him to do in the final scene of the final episode. It is a very, very emotional moment. While the "it was all a dream" ending is generally a copout, in this instance it works profoundly, and proves that there's life left in the old tropes, if they're executed extremely well.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Something's Afoot

Something's stirring deep within. Awareness is creeping down into the cracks and crevasses of my psyche to affect my subconscious with the understanding that I am being, and have been for the past two years, somewhat self-destructive and self defeating. This is probably due to minimalist treatment I have sought for my depression, but I also believe that I'm lazy by nature. My parents tried to amend that character flaw by forcing me to work at jobs ranging from paper delivery, lawn mowing, grocery store stock boy, cheese factory drudge, etc. All the while I really wanted to retreat into my own head. This is the focus of my extremely quiet life now. However, in the past year, I have retreated farther. In 2009 I spend 2000 hours playing World of Warcraft and elevated three different characters to 80th Level. That's the equivalent of a full-time job. I don't begrudge the time, except I didn't get any writing done. Writing is hard because, unlike a videogame, you can't go to that inner place where you feel warm and comfortable and insulated from the outside. Writing is painful self-examination. There's nothing I like better than to lay in my bed, watching a tv episode (on DVD, so there's no commercials) and playing solitaire or bejeweled on my laptop. I don't have to think about anything. But nothing gets done, either.

I'm now feeling a new need to lose weight, get organized and work harder at making my hopes and goals a reality. This is good news. And with it comes energy. I'm excited! I've re-cathected with my apartment, which I'd fallen out of love with. Perhaps this coincides with more sunshine and warmer weather. That's probably part of the process.

Friday, May 7, 2010

To Arizona - a Postcard from Heinrich Himmler

While I'm white and speak fluent English, I am quite paranoid about traveling to Arizona anytime in the near future. What is "reasonable suspicion" besides carte blanche to the police to stop anyone and demand to see proof of American citizenship? My fear is not that I would be stopped, but what would happen if stopped, since I would refuse to comply. Thus, today's photo from times gone by: No. 8 Prinz Albrecht Strasse, the former headquarters of Hitler's feared gestapo, which is a German portmanteau combining Geheime Staatspolizei, which translated into English, comes uncomfortably close to "Homeland Security." So let us pause to remember where anti-immigration policies can eventually lead.