September 22nd, 2006

Forgive me for my love of “Lost”. Then again, don’t. It’s a cultural phenomenon; it deserves analysis just like anything else. Even if I am counting down the days until Oct. 4.

Anyways, let’s talk about the Others. Or first, let’s talk about being stranded on a tropical island. It’s a common motif. And what do we normally encounter–in literature, movies, etc.–when we get stranded on a tropical island? Creepy, dark-skinned natives. So it would seem to me, first of all, that what these spooky Others replace is the traditional (and obviously controversial) savage native.

But remember, it’s not that the Others are (in the majority) white that makes them so eerie–it’s the fact that they’re just like you and me. They speak English, they’re educated, heck, they have baby furniture… but they’re viscious, inhuman. In this way, the native other has become the othered self.

A nice idea, but not a new one. Think back to your Conrad. Who lies at the heart of darkness? Not the trail of supposedly primative Africans, but Kurtz, a white man who is praised as the epitome of European excellence. Of course, it doesn’t get him far. Only time–and the executives at ABC–will tell what’s in store for the Others.

Tags: otherness, television

4 Responses to “On Natives and Others”

  1. Scott Jon Siegel Says:

    Let’s remember that the first direct encounter we think we have with the Others, is when Michael and Sawyer wash up on shore. Mr. Ekko (in all his black, bare-chested, savage glory), clubs Sawyer and knocks him out. This is the first time that we think “Okay, these guys are totally the others.”

    I believe this is entirely to the credit of the writers. We are presented with our typical image of the island savage — this tall, imposing, dark-skinned man. We only later find out that he is in fact far from savage in his nature. Do we, as viewers, then feel guilty about our early judgment? Our own assumptions have been brought to light, and proven false.

    Yes, I love this show. -sj

  2. Bonnie Says:

    And remember, aside from the issue of skin color, these first “others” are also really ourselves–so far, at least, as we identify with the plane crash survivors, and these are the survivors from the tail end.

  3. Adam Says:

    Yep I’ve been watching the 1st and 2nd season lately; my mother just got them for me on DVD and I’m about 2/3 through the second season right now.

    It is refreshing to see “savages” that hang up their gritty threads in a locker every day and remove the beard, but the “genius” behind this is that it’s much more threatening. I’ve come up with a few questions on almost every aspect of their discoveries, not the least of which revolve around Desmond.

    The show’s got its flaws though, like every show. From an aesthetic point, I’d rather see these girls ditch the mascara and everyone should be dropping some weight. Sure, they’re eating fish, fruit, and now that the cache of food is out, they can even dine on some much-anticipated peanut-butter but come on. Annalucia still has some (cute) chub on her, and Hurley (gotta love him) hasn’t lost much either.

    Overall, though, the show’s creators know what to do to keep you hooked. Through all the themes of faith versus science, unity versus severance, and all that stuff, we’ve got a great cast and some great hooks. I don’t think anyone who’s been with the show can resist watching, just frothing at the bit for another Lost moment. The hatch lighting beneath John was my favorite.

    -Adam

  4. Bonnie Says:

    From an aesthetic point, I'd rather see these girls ditch the mascara.
    I know what you mean, but Evangeline is just too pretty to pass up.

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