I had a philosophy professor once who absolutely hated Wittgenstein. I don’t mean he disagreed with him. Wittgenstein really pissed him off. It turned out, when you got down to it, that his theory was more about people in general, as opposed to any particular philosopher (or religion, because he’d throw a couple of those into his thinking as well). What really got him so worked up was that if you say something wildly stupid and incomprehensible in the right way a lot of people will think you’re a genius.
The joke in philosophic circles (I know right?) is that no one can refute Wittgenstein, because no one can understand a damn thing he’s saying, and just when you think you’re on track to figure something out, he throws in something completely different that renders the whole thing incoherent. Before you know what’s happened, proving him wrong becomes on par with proving a negative.
The real rub, for my professor, as he would often mention, is that there is really no difference between reading Wittgenstein and listening to the mad ramblings of any random person on a street corner who is babbling nonsensically, except in their method of delivery. A lot of people think Wittgenstein is a genius.
When Lost started out, I have to tell you, I was so on board. If nothing else, it was certainly different. For the majority of the first season it had me completely hooked. The bizarre intrigue that kept popping up, and the host of curious relationships sucked you in, and their was definitely something clever afoot. At this point, however, the show has gone the way of the Matrix franchise, resulting in a sort of Wittgenstein residual, and the only thing it has left going for it is what I refer to as the Kirby Effect (this is known in other circles as the BOSE Effect).
Briefly – The Matrix really is a good movie. Not only is it full of cool action, it has a certain degree of real thought going on. It’s cool just in theory. Basically, someone took Philosophy 101 and heard the Brains in Vats question, and using a good bit of imagination worked it into a movie. But then, that someone suddenly found they had to make more movies, because they were going to get paid really well, and there was some difficulty. You see, that someone never took Philosophy 102, didn’t really like Philosophy anyway, and had only threw the first idea out as a bit of a laugh. Building off the idea that philosophers say a lot of things no one understands, the next two Matrix movies just threw out random babble that means nothing, but they nevertheless stare down their nose at you like Wittgenstein at a cocktail party.
That’s really where Lost is at this point. It started out pretty good, had some thought behind it, but then it was suddenly very popular, and people with big checkbooks were shouting for more episodes. Things went along alright for a while, and the show had its ups and downs. I had some high hopes for things just prior to this season starting, because I was persuaded to believe that the show was going to start down the road to working out answers. Instead, we’re pretty clearly travelling down something more akin to MadLibs than clever writing. The plot develops merely by having the writers sit around an endlessly answer the question, “What is the goofiest ass thing that could happen right now?”
Briefly #2 – My Dad once told me that Kirby had built into its business model a 100% customer satisfaction rate, and the ability to draw owner testimonials at will. If you spend $1500 on a vacuum, you’re damn sure going to tell everyone who will listen that it’s the greatest thing the world has ever known. I mean, to not do so is basically to call yourself an idiot. So, assuming the thing works at all, everyone who has a Kirby LOVES it!
Lost is sitting here to a certain degree as well. So many people have professed to love the show for so long, that to admit it has turned into utter nonsense is a tough play.
On April 29th Daniel is going to explain all sorts of things he knows about the island, and it’s going to be really fabulous. In the mix of people brought back to life, smoke monsters that spit people back out, and the suddenly ghost whisperers, I can’t find a way to care. At this point, it’s confusing, nonsensical, and throws new things in at random simply for the sake of irrefutability. But, it apparently does it in the right way. Well, bravo.
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