Getting Lost in Lost
She spent nine months researching a book on ABC's addictive serialized adventure show Lost. But even Nikki Stafford, author of Finding Lost: The Unofficial Guide, drew the line at The Lost Experience.
A game devised for summer by ABC with clues strewn about Web sites, advertisements, even a free candy bar handed out in certain places, the Experience revealed a surprising amount of information about the backstory behind the series action. Eventually, those willing to follow all the clues and video snippets stashed across cyberspace found out the truth behind the Hanso Foundation, its founder Alvar Hanso and the mysterious numbers. (Wade through it all here)
But Stafford, whose book breaks out the plot, clues and interconnections between every major character in every episode of Lost, decided to wait for the web sites to work it out when it came to this offscreen adventure.
"I just thought: Who has the time?" she said, laughing at the irony. "I thought the idea was brilliant -- a way to keep people connected to the show while it was in reruns. But it may turn out to be like Star Trek -- where you had to read the novels to figure out things in between the movies."
I wrote a story Monday that catches up the major characters and plotlines in Lost -- a brief primer before he show comes back to new episodes Wednesday -- though it loses a little something online, where the graphics can't really be reproduced the same way (at left is the key graphic; click to enlarge). The New York Times has an interesting story on the myriad of products and storytelling devices connected to Lost.
But for Stafford, the coolest thing about Lost is that you don't have to pay attention to any of that stuff. "I know people who watch it like a jacked-up version of Gilligan's Island. You don't have to go rushing off to your encyclopedias after every episode -- unless you want to." (Sawyer stars the season locked in a cage, according to ABC's released photos seen here)
For those who take the contrary view, she's got the scoop on who is featured in each episode's flashbacks, seemingly confirmed by the episode guides ABC has released so far: 1st episode, Jack; 2nd episode, Sun and Jin; 3rd episode, Locke (and a returned-from-the-dead Boone); 4th episode, Desmond; 5th episode, Mr. Eko.
She's got a few other observations:
On the shape of this year's season: "Season One was 'How do we get off this island?' Season Two was 'Okay, we're on this island, so how do we live here?' And Season Three is learning how to live with this other society -- The Others."
On why we've seen so little of the child Walt last season and he's been sent off on a boat with his dad: "I think they didn't quite bank on (actor Malcolm David Kelley) growing up. They're supposed to have been on the island about 65 days, but this 12-year-old actor is now 16. How do they deal with that? Stick him on a boat."
On the island's connection to the Losties: "Nobody gets sick on the island..which makes you wonder if the island itself isn't a vaccine. what if the island itself is some kind of experiement...some contained thing to save people? Many people say there's a virus on the island, but I think it's totally the opposite." (in this picture, Jack confronts his wife in a flashback; he thinks she may have cheated with his dad! Ewwww!)
Best part for all of us Lost fans, will be getting to the bottom of it all.
Bill O'Reilly Still Hates Us
I've said before that you judge journalists by the quality of the enemies they make. So I can only celebrate the fact that Fox News Channel gasbag Bill O'Reilly takes a shot at the St. Petersburg Times in his latest book, Culture Warrior.
On page 21, he rails about our support of Florida prosecutor Brad King, who correctly concluded that state law didn't allow him to prosecute the roommates of child-killer Jessica Lunsford: "Some newspapers, like the St. Petersburg Times, no longer even try to hide their secular slant...After I reported that terrible story and slammed King, the St. Petersburg Times attacked me personally. It is my opinion that the paper was totally in the tank for King, and its far-left editorial posture bled over into its news pages...To this day, I consider the St. Petersburg Times to be the nation's worst newspaper."
This from a guy who put our newspaper on his very own Nixonian enemies list, and went after me personally for a column I wrote pointing out how he was using veiled racial language to refer to victims of Hurricane Katrina.
I find it amazing -- even for a guy whose gall factor runs off the charts like O'Reilly -- that he spends so much time complaining about getting attacked, being hated and fighting publicly, when he's the one picking most of the fights.
It's just another bizarro occurrence in a media world which seems more like a gladiator pit every day. I'm just glad the right guy seems to have a problem with the truths I -- and the newspaper for which I work -- are telling.
Tucker Carlson: Making Excuses for Foley?
Speaking of bizarro media performances, I made the mistake of watching MSNBC's awful midday show Tucker, where Tucker Carlson consistently proves how right CNN was to send him packing. This time, it was during an interview with a Democratic politico about the Foley scandal, in which Carlson would claim "I'm not defending the guy...." and then would go on to ask whether the Democrats weren't being homophobic by attacking Foley (widely rumored to be gay before this incident).
I may post the transcript later. Suffice it to say I found the whole exchange so disappointing I had to turn off the television. Every time I think I know how far these cable news pinheads will go to score political points, they reach a little further down. At least, they're predictable.
CARLSON: Thank you.
I‘m trying to—look, I am, as I think anybody who takes the time to read these instant messages from Congressman Foley, whom I‘ll say up front I‘ve always liked. You know, nice guy. They‘re stomach-turning, they‘re disgusting, they‘re creepy as all hell, and he deserves whatever he‘s going to get.
I just wonder as a political matter how the Democrats, though, are going to paint this as a scandal of the Republican Party? So the Republican Party is now the party of gay sex, or what exactly is the Democratic line going to be?
MCMAHON: Well, the Republican Party is the party that thinks that the laws don‘t apply to them, that the truth isn‘t important, and that when things like this are brought to their attention they can sweep them under the rug, whether it‘s Osama bin Laden threatening to fly airplanes into buildings, or whether it‘s a member of Congress who is hitting on teenage pages. I mean, this is a—this is a party that thinks the rules don‘t apply to them, and I think that‘s the scandal here. And I think the American public, frankly, Tucker, has had enough.
CARLSON: That‘s pretty good. Is there in fact—I mean, just as a rhetorical line there, you know, kind of sodomy, terrorism in the same sentence, you know good luck with that. Is there evidence, though...
MCMAHON: No. But Tucker, it‘s not sodomy and terrorism in the same line. It‘s basically—it‘s an attitude that we‘re—that the means justify any ends and that we will do whatever it takes to win, even if it means covering things up, ignoring things, not telling the truth. And that‘s just a mentality that seems to have gripped the Republican Party. And that‘s...
CARLSON: But that‘s—I mean, look...
MCMAHON: ... the conversation that Democrats will have with voters.
CARLSON: But that‘s—I mean, look, I think to some extent you‘re right. I think the Republicans probably did know. Everybody knew that Foley apparently on the Hill was a little too friendly with the pages. And nobody did anything about it.
MCMAHON: Tucker—Tucker—Tucker, hold on a second.
CARLSON: I‘ve seen exactly this dynamic in schools.
MCMAHON: I think that there was a—that there was a whisper campaign that Congressman Foley was gay. But I don‘t think anybody had any idea that he was hitting on teenage pages, except for...
CARLSON: Well, I don‘t know.
MCMAHON: ... except for the Republican leadership, which was told last year and chose instead of confronting it to ignore it. Somebody said over the weekend that when they took—when the congressman who sponsored the page went to Tom Reynolds instead of going to the leadership or to the Ethics Committee...
MCMAHON: ... that was an action designed to protect a member and not an action designed to protect a child. That is deplorable.
CARLSON: But don‘t you think that people would have—and I know that Foley himself would often cry homophobia if people—you know, if people had come up and said directly to Foley, you know, why is it that you‘re having these—these e-mail exchanges with underage pages? You know, wouldn‘t that person be accused of being homophobic?
MCMAHON: No. I think that person would be accused of being somebody who‘s trying to protect children.
And Congressman Foley was a guy who was—who was proposing a national registry of sex offenders and sexual predators to protect children from people like him on the Internet. Congressman Foley would have to register under his own legislation, but yet Congressman Foley isn‘t disciplined by the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives after they‘re told that he‘s hitting on female—or young male pages?
Look, Tucker, if this were just a guy out cruising gay bars, you know, I think his personal life is his personal life and he‘s entitled to that. But he wasn‘t. He was hitting on young teenage boys...
CARLSON: Oh, wait a second. Look, I‘m not defending him.
MCMAHON: He was hitting on young...
CARLSON: I think the guy is a full-blown creep. I mean, look, I totally agree. I‘m outraged, too.
But there is a homophobic element here. I mean, Democrats—no there is. It‘s more than just he‘s hitting on people. He‘s hitting on boys.
He‘s a homosexual. I mean, that—that‘s part of what gives it its charge, this story, no? Yes.