Monday, February 25, 2008

Big Brother's bizarre definition of racism

Can someone explain this to me? I was watching Big Brother (I know, I know...) last week, where a real-life (white) couple has been split up and assigned to different team-couples, both of which were nominated for elimination. If that's not absolutely clear, it's unimportant anyway: this is the confusing part. The girlfriend campaigned against her boyfriend, explaining to the other players that he's a racist and that he was upset that she had previously dated a black guy. When word got back to the boyfriend that this was happening, she pulled him aside and explained that she hadn't called him a racist (which she had, but I digress...), but rather she had said that he doesn't approve of interracial relationships. And the boyfriend - rather than remaining horrified over what she had said or even over her inability to recognize that a wholesale objection to interracial relationships is, yes, quite explicitly racist - was relieved and they made-up.

So...can someone tell me what I'm missing? Are there people who actually think that an undifferentiated opposition to interracial dating is not somehow racist? So much so that they don't even bother to explain such obvious nonsense on tv?

Lost and irony

Lost has really refined the whole last-shot-surprise-reveal thing this season, so much so that its predictability seems to be turning a few people off. One thing that I don't see getting a lot of attention, though, is how well they're working the thriller approach that they seem to be riding.

Consider the very different ways that irony is deployed in the last two episodes. In 4x03, Sayid tells Locke that the day he trust Ben is the day that he sells his soul; in the flash-forward, he's working for Ben and trusting him with his life. A week later, 4x04 gives us a flash-forward where we're told Kate has a son and an island-time narrative where Kate assures Sawyer that she isn't pregnant with his baby. 4x03 has primed us to believe that this exchange means it must be Sawyer's baby, (and Kate's awkward exchanges with Jack in the flash-forward further suggest this) but the producers play with that expectation in order to swerve us again at the end. The baby's not Sawyer's, it's not even Kate's - it's Aaron, Claire's son. (And then, of course, you remember that the psychic told Claire that she had to raise Aaron, which makes things that much more ominous...)

So maybe Lost has been a bit one-note thus far. But as long as they manage to keep playing-off what they've done without obviously repeating their tricks, it still works ridiculously well.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Cute, though slight, note on Lost

Trivia from

* Jacob was portrayed in 3x20 by prop master Rob Kyker. (No word yet on who provided the face in 4x1 - assuming, of course, that it was Jacob's.)
* The voice that speaks the line "Help Me" in 3x20 belongs to executive producer Carlton Cuse.
* "Jacob" is J.J. Abrams' middle name. (Jeffrey being his first name.)

I've noted, as have many others, various meta-levels at work in Lost many times before. Jacob seems like an obvious target for more self-reflexivity of this sort, so I probably shouldn't be surprised by some of these details. And while I have to admit that it's likely a mistake to read Jacob more particularly as a trope on Abrams, Cuse, and company, (Though they do say that they have a "Bible" for the remainder of the show, don't they? Hmm...) I have to admit that it's awfully tempting.