Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Lost

Monday Night!

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* The Critics and Jesse Pinkman.

Star Trek face combos. The casting was maybe better than I ever thought. The rest of the cast here.

* Scientists explain why people want to eat babies. The more you know!

* FAA nears preliminary process towards rewriting of rules that no one follows anyway.

This week, an F.A.A. advisory panel will meet to complete its recommendations to relax most of the restrictions. The guidelines are expected to allow reading e-books or other publications, listening to podcasts, and watching videos, according to several of the panel’s members who requested anonymity because they could not comment on the recommendations. The ban on sending and receiving e-mails and text messages or using Wi-Fi during takeoff or landing is expected to remain in place, as is the prohibition on making phone calls throughout the flight, the panel members said.

* …most commentary on college costs has been skewed by generalizations or by anecdotes of high sticker prices and debt that then get turned into generalizations.

* Original LOST writer’s bible. It’s worse than you thought!

* The Star Wars Minute. A podcast devoted to overanalyzing Star Wars, minute by minute by minute. It’s up to minute 81, during the trash compactor scene.

Despite having more freedom over curriculum, budgets and staffing than traditional public schools, the majority of Milwaukee’s independent charter schools are not meeting performance expectations, according to statewide report card results for 2012-’13. Of the 17 independent charters in Milwaukee that received a rating through the state’s new school report card accountability system, 53% fell below expectations, with two schools authorized by the City of Milwaukee receiving a failing grade. Traditional MPS school rankings are even worse, as the article makes clear, for many reasons including charter selectivity.

And Prof Who Shot Upskirt Videos of Students Blames Their Lack of Underwear. The crazy thing is that may actually be a legitimate defense under the law.

Friday Links! All Of ‘Em!

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* A brief write-up of my science fiction class in the Marquette Tribune.

* zunguzungu: Sir Warsalot and the Daily Show.

* Everything is broken: Snowden’s latest revelations demonstrate that the US surveillance apparatus has completely broken both the Internet and the US telecommunications industry.

* Never-used Breaking Bad storylines.

* How to End It All: By Carlton Cuse, Damon Lindelof, Vince Gilligan, and Alan Ball. That’s not exactly a promising lineup for the end of Breaking Bad (though the last few minutes of the very last Six Feed Under were admittedly pretty all right).

Colorado Proves Housing The Homeless Is Cheaper Than Leaving Them On The Streets.

No, the Student Loan Crisis Is Not a Bubble.

 For the most part, it’s not helpful to think of student lending, circa 2013, in terms of bubbles at all. Rather, as Chadwick Matlin has put it at Reuters, it’s more of an anvil weighing on a large but discrete group of very unfortunate borrowers.

When College Presidents Are Paid Like CEOs.

States generally meet their obligations to match certain federal funds that go to predominantly white land-grant universities, but this isn’t the case for historically black land-grant colleges, according to a new report by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.

Plain Talk: Wisconsin’s school vouchers are a scam.

* Want to break into professional comics artistry? Just draw us a cheesecake picture of a naked woman in a bathtub preparing to commit suicide and you’re in.

In the popular imagination, opposition to the Vietnam War was driven largely by the privileged, while supposedly reactionary blue-collar workers supported the war effort. That memory is wrong.

* Mind-boggling: College students cheer sex abuse.

* Unpaid internships must be destroyed: file your lawsuit today!

* CFP for the inaugural issue of BOSS: Biannual Online-Journal of Springsteen Studies. I can’t believe I wasn’t approached for the editorial board.

“He was a wonderful boss. I lived with him for five years. We were the closest people who worked with him … we were always there. Hitler was never without us day and night.”

* Always totalize!

* And John Cleese explains the brain. That should clear everything up.

At Marquette Next Week: The Rise of J.J. Abrams!

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POP CULTURE LUNCH #2: THE RISE OF J.J. ABRAMS
FRIDAY, MARCH 1, 12 PM – 1 PM
TORY HILL CAFE (IN THE LAW SCHOOL)

In the second of three pop culture lunches this semester, we’ll be discussing the meteoric rise of J.J. Abrams. Abrams (in addition to creating beloved television series like Felicity, Alias, Lost, Person of Interest, and Fringe) has now put in charge of both the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises — a pop culture singularity that would have been unthinkable even a few years ago. (He’s also recently signed deals attaching him to Mission Impossible and the film versions of Half-Life and Portal. He’s taking over.)

Fans and detractors of all Bad Robot Productions welcome!
As always, this will be a conversation, not a lecture!

Please email me if you think you’ll be coming, just so I can have a rough head-count.

Tuesday Night Links

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Friday Links

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* Television without Pity surveys the 10 most promising new shows of the fall, including the precrime-centered Person of Interest from J.J. Abrams starring Lost‘s Ben, the time-travel-centered Alcatraz also from J.J. Abrams starring Lost‘s Hurley, the parallel-universe-centered Awake, and the doppleganger-centered Ringer with Sarah Michelle Gellar playing twins. Of these only Awake and Alcatraz seem potentially promising.

* Procedural requests from the judges on the 6th Court suggest ACA opponents may not actually have standing to oppose the mandate.

* A majority of Americans now support gay marriage. This is happening faster than I thought it would.

* Jaimee has a book review in this week’s Independent Weekly.

* And not available online, but still interesting: The New Yorker has a piece this week on cruelty-free meat grown in test tubes.

Viewers Can’t Handle Ambiguity. Not Even a Little.

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Overthinking It tries to distill lessons from the successes and failures of Lost, particularly in light of an ongoing fan backlash following the (really not that bad) final episode and the (okay, pretty bad) DVD epilogue.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 30, 2010 at 11:48 am

Friday Night Everything

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* The long-awaited (but oddly dissatisfying) Lost epilogue has appeared online, though who knows for how long or with whose permission.

* Decadence watch: municipalities are cutting back on public transit, de-paving roads, cutting back on education and even city lights, and closing public libraries. Naturally, the wars continue apace.

* Elena Kagan post-mortems from Jonathan Chait and Glenn Greenwald.

* Neal Stephenson talks SF at Gresham College. The link has another, shorter talk from David Brin as well. Thanks to Melody for the link.

* Silly games of the night: Epic Coaster and Color Theory.

* Visiting the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co.

* Power stations of the retrofuture.

* Marmaduke (by Franz Kafka).

* America’s first test-tube baby has turned her back on her heritage.

* You had me at huge Back to the Future trilogy timeline.

* Google says there are 129,864,880 books In existence. I swear, I swear, mine’s coming.

* And neither English nor philosophy makes this list of the ten lowest-paying college majors. Take that, everyone I knew in college!

Rocking Thursday Night

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Links

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Tuesday Night Links

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I Don’t Think You Can Do That

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Written by gerrycanavan

May 29, 2010 at 1:49 am

You Remembered

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* Childhood dreams confirmed: You can jump the flagpole in Super Mario Brothers.

* Early reports that the top kill had worked may have been premature.

* Twenty-two mile plume of oil slinking towards Alabama.

* In what seems to have been something of a surprise vote, a repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has passed the Senate Armed Services Committee, and now appears in the latest defense appropriations bill as well. It’s a few years late, but it’s finally happening.

* If I’m reading this right, in fourteen years I will be president.

* Solved and unsolved Lost mysteries. Life with Hurley and Ben on the Island.

* ABC is considering rebooting Alias, sans Rambaldi. I must be in the minority that thought Rambaldi was the only good part of that show.

* All but confirmed: Joss Whedon will direct The Avengers.

* In the late 1950s, psychologist Milton Rokeach was gripped by an eccentric plan. He gathered three psychiatric patients, each with the delusion that they were Jesus Christ, to live together for two years in Ypsilanti State Hospital to see if their beliefs would change. Via MeFi.

* I still remember how scandalized I was when I moved to Ohio and discovered that some states elect their judges. It’s simply nuts.

* For the past six years he had been studying for his PhD in the history of homicide in 19th century England from 1847-99, comparing Victorian investigative techniques with modern policing methods. There’s no way to frame this sad story about a British criminology Ph.D. student accused of murdering three women that doesn’t seem like I’m trying to make a joke out of it. Via.

* And Eyemaze has a new game, Transform. Jay Is Games has the walkthrough.

Three for Early Thursday

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* I had another quick review for Independent Weekly about an art show in Raleigh, Crash, which ends this week.

* President Obama to cancel offshore drilling leases altogether? “The president’s eyes have been opened” as to the risks of offshore drilling, a senior White House official tells ABC News, in terms of the inability of the Minerals Management Service to reliably regulate the industry, and the inaccuracy of claims by the oil industry that companies are able to stop catastrophes like these from happening, and in the event that they do happen that the industry can contain the damage.

* And the DVDs for Lost‘s final season will apparently include a 12-14 minute “epilogue” dealing with the Hurley era of Island management.

TuesNi

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How ‘Lost’ Teaches Us to Grieve It

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The spectacle is the ruling order’s nonstop discourse about itself, its never-ending monologue of self-praise, its self-portrait at the stage of totalitarian domination of all aspects of life.
—Guy Debord

I caught a bit of a break in assigning Guy Debord in my “Watching Television” class the day after the Lost finale extravaganza, which I’d asked my students to watch “for as long as they could stand.” (Many of them made it all the way from Lost: The Final Journey through the episode itself before petering out sometime during Jimmy Kimmel. That’s over six hours. I count myself among them.)

Debord’s well-known argument in The Society of the Spectacle is that our inner lives are increasingly structured and monetized by corporate interests; “the society of the spectacle” pushes out real life, as it was once authentically lived, in favor of imagistic simulacra fed to us by mass media. The result is deep alienation not only from each other but from our ourselves, from our own wants and desires. As Debord puts it:

The reigning economic system is a vicious circle of isolation. Its technologies are based on isolation, and they contribute to that same isolation. From automobiles to television, the goods that the spectacular system chooses to produce also serve it as weapons for constantly reinforcing the conditions that engender “lonely crowds.” With ever-increasing concreteness the spectacle recreates its own presuppositions….

In the spectacle, a part of the world presents itself to the world and is superior to it. The spectacle is simply the common language of this separation. Spectators are linked solely by their one-way relationship to the very center that keeps them isolated from each other. The spectacle thus reunites the separated, but it reunites them only in their separateness.

I knew when I originally constructed the syllabus that Lost: The Final Journey would be a nearly perfect example of spectacle’s “never-ending monologue of self-praise,” and in this respect it certainly didn’t disappoint; think only of the frequent ad bumpers that showed viewers’ love letters to Lost being read by characters on the show:

The language here is intense emotional commitment; in both cases the rhetoric of romance is used, and it’s clear that for at least a certain segment of the audience the relationship with Lost surpasses any one might have with other people. (You may not have friends or real human relationships, but you have do TV.) More precisely, this is how ABC wants us to think about viewership; this is the model of fandom-as-devotion it presents to us to follow. (Who knows, after all, if Marcia S. or Chelz W. are even real people.)

Where Lost brings people together, we are shown, it is only to share in the transcendent experience of watching the show; we see this at the start of the Jimmy Kimmel special after the show, in which we see Kimmel’s audience’s tears as they finish their shared “journey” at their own Lost “viewing party”:

This was the level of self-praise I anticipated when I saw there’d be a special, which is why I assigned the Debord. Where I caught my break was in the strange self-reflexive turn the narrative content of the show took in its final hours, which now turn out to have been an extended celebration of Lost itself all along. In the trope of the flashes-sideways, we find our heroes (living lives where they never visited the Island) experiencing climactic epiphanies in which they suddenly remember key moments from the series:

Hurley and Libby, Sayid and Shannon, Sawyer and Juliet, Kate and Aaron, Charlie and Claire, and on and on—this precise epiphanic sequence, down to the quick cuts, overwrought music, serene gaze, and gasping tears, is repeated over and over, at least once for every major character on the series. Surpassing the self-indulgent self-reference of even the Seinfeld finale, but without the irony, the plot of the final season has been a literal recapitulation of the viewers’ own vicarious participation in the series all along, with the major characters’ entire narrative arcs transformed into tiny testaments to the greatness of the series itself. In this way the division between the audience and its protagonists is made to erode: these characters are on a quest to remember their adventures as we, their audience, have been watching them all along—and in the happy moments when their quest for revelation is achieved we get to glimpse again the show’s iconic sequences, naturally seeing them not from the characters’ visual perspective but from our own. The series reproduces itself in tribute to itself.

And in case we missed how we were supposed to feel about all this, Christian Shepherd makes the point as explicit as he can in the series’s final monologue, a moment that is visually framed as a religious funeral, with contextually appropriate dialogue about “remembering” and “letting go.” Consider what he says at approximately 3:10 in the linked clip:

Ostensibly speaking to Jack, but really speaking to us, just a few degrees away from looking directly at the camera, Christian sagely, hypnotically intones: “The most important part of your life was the time you spent with these people.”

Who could ever doubt it?