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Wednesday
May122010

In Which All of Lost Is Local

You Had Me Several Years Ago When I Was Still Quite Naive

by DICK CHENEY

In political life, it's always more fun to characterize yourself as the opposition, unless you're Rahm Emanuel and you do most of your work in showers. Of course this is only one of the trillion political maxims that exist, most of which Tom Delay whiplashes on the backs of his slaves. Why is politics full of clichés? Mainly because the people involved in it are also clichés.

don't trust anyone shorter than 5'0"
Liberal imaginings of government's highest office are always patently off base. I keep waiting for Robert Reich's lame memoir to be adapted into a feature starring Peter Dinklage. Ivan Reitman's Dave turned the presidency into a joke, The American President was basically about the commander-in-chief having an online dating presence, which was totally inappropropriate. (It is also unknown why he listed 'ginger hair, cropped short' on his list of preferences.)

stay out of the oval office lebowski Despite the fact that the First Lady had perished in office, it is proper to wait at least until you're reelected or propositioned by Joslyn James. I can't even imagine how Laura Bush dying and George W. Bush roadraging Rachel Uchitel and Helen Mirren would have gone over with the general public, although considering our popularity at the end, it might have been an option worth trying.

The West Wing was supposed to be a snappy and exciting drama; instead it turned into a depressing soap that paralled its creator's decline into paranoia and psychosis. Its target audience was composed of sideburned chaps who think short novels reimagining FDR's arrival at Malta are fun for weekend reading. By the time The West Wing was over, most of the liberal enthusiasm and idealism was confined to California, where it raised the marginal tax rate and bankrupted the state.

Only the most naïve and silly people in our culture think politics are important, but if Glenn Greenwald and Alex Pareene didn't exist to parrot liberal dogma, actual parrots would have to work for a living. I can think of no better way to hammer this point home than by explaining that I was freely elected the vice president of the United States. Me.

Have you already perceived where I am going with this line of air-tight reasoning? Because I had to explain to both my wife and my concubine that last night's Evangeline Lilly flashback was from eight years ago, and the only people who look as good as they did ten years ago are Vladimir Putin and Jenna Fischer above the waist. To take Lost seriously is making a great error. This once-great show prefers to be a parody of itself.

hate u guys

If I ever came face to face with Carlton Cuse, I'd cut him. If I ever saw Damon Lindelof, I'd french kiss his wife for the eight years that her husband stole from me. Last week's shocking main character death quadrilogy rivaled the end of Mr. Eko for sheer stupidity. If you weren't going to do anything with these characters after six seasons, at least give us a decapitation or two. I want to see Lapidus' head on a platter.

This week's lazy storytelling exercise reimagined the parable of Jacob and Esau, or something. I was never really too hot on the Bible, or the Cider House Rules, or any proscribed behavior other than horseback riding. Several conclusions can be drawn from this exercise, and since I am so filled with rage, I can barely compose paragraphs:

The Mother, in the same fashion as Esau did afterwards, was able to reconstitute herself in smoke. How else could she have filled the hole above the Orchid station and murdered all of Esau's friends?

'was josiah bartlett as kewl as he seems IRL?' Perhaps she even assumed the form of Jacob and Esau's real mother, Claudia, to Esau. She also might have been one (or all) of men Jacob and Esau observed in the woods.

When confronted with the truth, she did not deny this to her sons, and they both made their own decisions.

It is reasonable to assume, as the Mother says at one point, that there really were no other people on the island than the three of them.

'jacob, why did the character of Walt exist?'
Jacob and Esau can't kill one another. If you kill a god by stabbing it in the heart before it speaks to you, it dies. Going for the post-mortem reacharound is largely frowned upon.

If you take the life of a producer of Lost in this fashion, the rewards may be some kind of production deal or a chance to ghostwrite the next Mission: Impossible.

Young boys on the island bear a striking resemblance to a certain teenage pop star, while men unconsciously imitate a drunk Fred Armisen.

from this day forward you will be known as Justin Bieber People who pretend to be too holier-than-thou to watch all of Lost are probably incredibly self-involved to begin with.

If you're eating a bunch of chicken surrounded by lettuce, don't call it a salad.

Sometimes at night I think about Fred Armisen having sex with Peggy from Mad Men and I sob.

come on peggy, he's old enough to be your advertising mentor/father figure Wasn't the answer to Lost just Dust from The Golden Compass? Not coincidentally I hate The Golden Compass and Philip Pullman seems like a real asshole, like the kind of person who always come up to you at the senior center and wants to pick your brain about some grey spot on his balls.

this was the answer to Lost. take a good look. The smoke monster's master plan to kill the castaways involved going to the Ajira plane Widmore had rigged with explosives, stealing those explosives, goading everyone into taking the submarine, and hoping it all worked out. Genius! Why didn't Allison Janney think of doing this to her kids?

Now with only three and half hours remaining on Lost's ticking clock, what can we really expect? This episode's flashback to the show's magical first season was an attempt to prove that Lost's writers knew what they were doing all along. We know this isn't true because most of the show's writers work for V and Flashforward now.

Hitchcock, as we all know, explained that the MacGuffin described what was in the briefcase, which we could never see. As he famously put it to Truffaut:

It might be a Scottish name, taken from a story about two men in a train. One man says "What's that package up there in the baggage rack?", and the other answers "Oh that's a MacGuffin."

The first one asks "What's a MacGuffin?" "Well," the other man says, "It's an apparatus for trapping lions in the Scottish Highlands." The first man says "But there are no lions in the Scottish Highlands," and the other one answers "Well, then that's no MacGuffin!" So you see, a MacGuffin is nothing at all.

When we were introduced to the idea of Jacob, he seemed salty and mysterious, like dating Russell Brand. Now it turns out he's just a guy who liked to beat the shit out of his younger brother while Josiah Bartlett's press secretary looks on approvingly. There are no fucking lions in the Scottish highlands.

What was so great about Lost was the feeling of discovery, that another 'what if' lay around the corner. We don't want answers to our questions; we never really want to know what's in the briefcase. Who cares what's in there? If you know that it's a bunch of diamonds, does it make Pulp Fiction any better? Is The Golden Compass less tedious if you believe the reason magic exists in the world is because of something definable and concrete?

Cursed by the notion that they needed to 'resolve' all of the questions the show has posed, Cuse and Lindelof wandered away from the central point. The answer to your question might make you feel better, but it also might lead you to a much less entertaining question.

We care about the characters of Lost in the present, not in the past. Despite the fact that the lives of Jack, Kate, Hurley, Jin, Sun, Michael, and Henry Gale are meaningless constructs, we want to believe that their purpose, and the purpose of the entire show, was greater than the sum of meaningless parts. We don't care about where we come from so much as where we're going.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. You can find his past reviews of Lost here.

"Legend In Your Own Time" - Carly Simon (mp3)

"Mockingbird" - Carly Simon (mp3)

"Why" - Carly Simon (mp3)

"The Right Thing To Do" - Carly Simon (mp3)

Wednesday
Mar312010

In Which We Buckle Down For Some Hard Lost

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You Have Some Plot On Your Shirt

by DICK CHENEY

"Don't confuse hope with a plan." I believe either Jack Bauer or Vince Lombardi came up with this bon mot, and it ended the War of 1812 if my college history class was accurate. Jack Shepard's plan is to fly a plane off the island with all his closest friends on it. This isn't the first time a white guy tried to save an Asian couple, and it sure won't be the last.

you can never apologize to me for my character arc, sun, never!In light of recent episodes of Lost which the mainstream media felt was good, the ending of Lost has finally come into view. Are you allowed to bail on a show eight short episodes from its conclusion? I did it to Newhart, and look how well that turned out.

It's weird how our society has collectively decided to pretend Bob Newhart never existed, which is sort of like Sun magically losing her ability to speak English for no real reason. I believe we're now on octoginta ex machina.

Sorry I missed last week's recap - once Richard Alpert started crying over some busted girl he lost to malaria in the 1800s and crying "Isabella! Isabella!" into the night, I sort of lost my reason to live. We did finally get the story of the Black Rock, which on some level reminded me of when I savaged the New World as Columbus and/or Colin Farrell's right hand man.

As you probably imagined, I have been around during a lot of historical events. Here are a few I am directly or indirectly responsible for, and let me generally say, preemptively, my bad:

- The Spanish Civil War (not only did I cause this, but my whiny complaining about the war being boring inspired Orwell's Homage to Catalonia)

- The assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand (I'm really cranky before I eat in the morning)

- Big apologies to Medgar Evers

- Me, not Scar, killed that lion cub's parents and I also wrote the lyrics to Hakuna Matata

livin' off my evil deeds all these years  - The destruction of the Roanoke colony (I just had to see what would happen if everyone got super-AIDS)

- I convinced Kevin Pritchard to draft Greg Oden instead of Kevin Durant

- I really negged Jesus about the whole crossing the Red Sea thing. "You can't part this fucking desert!?!?!"

- Amy Irving's magical romance Crossing Delancey

- The appeasement of Hitler (I baked all these pies that made everyone really sleepy and Hitler-compliant)

- I was sitting around with Jesse James' white power mistress, watching the Oscars, and I was like, "Didn't you let that guy do you in the ass last week? I thought he told you he wasn't seeing Sandra Bullock anymore. White Power!"

- The formation of Israel (David Ben-Gurion and I had a not quite consensual sexual-political relash) 

Also, once James Cameron showed me a movie he made, and I happened to be really distracted that day, and he was like, "So what did you think?" and I was like, "That was great, James, really fabulous," and everyone, I'm so sorry that I encouraged him. I accidentally did the same thing to Ke$ha and look how well that's turned out.

In the 200+ years Richard Alpert has been on the island, he hasn't done a single thing. He just listens to gods lie to him in the jungle, and then he runs around crying and getting his ass-kicked. That episode was barely drama, it was more like watching a Pac Man game in an island setting. The only thing that sucked more than Richard's biopic was the annoying white girl on American Idol covering Chaka Khan without asking me first.

I'd like to institute a moratorium on "I want to go to there" jokes. thank you for your time As a way to compensate and improve the show, Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof went through a severly exhausting casting call to hire the geophysicist Tina Fey. Lost is so devoid of sex appeal that Kate literally never moves from right besides the fire so that she has a light sweat whenever the camera deigns to focus on her blimpies.

"the last guy i did was the silver surfer, and the look you see on my face is relief" Charles Widmore did give me an idea for a sweet April Fools trick I can play on Rahm Emanuel for sticking a matzoh spoon into one of my colleague's anuses to force him to vote for health care, and then telling him the resultant chafing was a pre-existing condition. I'm going to kidnap Rahm and then show him some camera phone pictures of Obama children that don't exist yet. And then I'll be like, "I understand that you've never seen Obama's son before."


Imagine how crazy it would be if Obama had a son, and every single BM the son had was recorded by the newsmedia. We can't really say what's in store for Barack's daughters Shaniqua and LaKisha, but take it from me, Barack: if one of them turns out to be a lesbian and starts reading a lot of bell hooks, it's going to be a tremendous pain in the ass.

goddamnit bell, I really hate how you don't capitalize your name
Imposing your worldview on other people is wrong, and yet it is what Matthew Yglesias and Glen Greenwald do everyday before sending each other nude photos of Robert Gibbs. Liberals love to tell people what to do, and there is no more liberal character on television than Jack Shepard. He's tried to do Kate to fix her; it didn't work. He tried to blow up the island to fix everyone; it didn't work. He tried to pretend Nancy Pelosi was some kind of feminist hero; we all realized she's a disgusting ghoul. He tried to save an Asian couple by selling the wife time-share seats on a plane off the island; the result is as yet undetermined.

Since Cuse and Lindelof have no actual idea where Lost is going, they will live with the infamy of their disastrous decision to go back to "the castaways should try to leave the island but someone will stop them" plot that has ended every post-Hatch season. Now that a black man and an unattractive woman have turned my native land into Canada, I have nothing better to do but to imagine a more interesting ending to Lost:

The smoke monster is actually Daniel Faraday. When he became unstuck in time in a season of Lost we're all trying really hard to forget, he became a candidate and lost to Jacob. Since Desmond is the poor guy's constant, they go back and time and prevent Faraday from being killed by his mother while she's pregnant with him. Jacob and Faraday head to Wyoming for a vacation and after some light-horsing around in their tent, they have sex. A child is conceived named Jack Shepard.

Do you feel more satisfied with Lost now that I've ended it for you? What long-running show ever had a satisfying ending? I'm still waiting for them to wrap up The X-Files and I continue to wake up in the middle of the nights searching for the truth about Mulder's sister. The Sopranos ended with them all chowing down on some food in a diner, Freaks and Geeks ended with Lindsay Weir going topless in a broadcast first, The Wire ended with everyone getting fired and realizing that crime is forever.

What uplifting conclusion is really out there that is going to make us say the previous 150 hours of television were worth the considerable debate over why Richard can't age? Does it make us happier to know he can't age because Jacob told him so? If that was the answer you were looking for...we're going to need a bigger boat.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. He begs you to consider donating to the This Recording pledge drive. Where else can you find screencaps like this?

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"A Woman's Face" - Rufus Wainwright (mp3)

"The Dream" - Rufus Wainwright (mp3)

"What Would I Ever Do With A Rose?" - Rufus Wainwright (mp3)

Wednesday
Mar172010

In Which We Retain Our Otherworldly Cachet

Sex With Josh Holloway

by DICK CHENEY

You guys. This is a perilous time in American life for precisely all the reasons you're thinking of. We're missing that lone wolf icon of the counter-culture endemic in the decline of previous generations. Everyone who dies does so too predictably, and with too small a body of poetry left behind.

Left Behind. My favorite series of books about Jesus. Jesus was sort of a lone wolf, wasn't he? The more inappropriately eccentric he became, the more his enthuastic supporters were amused by his tricks. David Blaine would have been huge in Jerusalem during this period.

Implicit in this bargain is that we actually do care if the man (the counter-culture was as sexist as the regular culture) involved dies. At some point, audiences began hoping Steve McQueen would collapse in self-righteous anguish, for he was no longer as cute as a papillon, and his weight gain trumped even my own. To wit:

I really did stick my penis in everything back then. Did you know that Josh Holloway is 40 years old (really), and that he was actually around when Jesus parted the Red Sea and was so jealous of the guy?

Jesus always came when you jangled your keys. In reality he was actually a very appealing golden retriever, the first ever of the breed. He drank the blood of lesser retrievers and urinated, "turning water into wine." JK, Jesus is very important to me; I have a picture of him in my bathroom.

The only thing more pathetic than trying to get someone to care about Jesus is trying to get Carlton Cuse to admit Lost has abandoned us, or trying to get us to care about what happens to Sawyer in the fifth parallel universe storyline that went fucking nowhere. The only person in the world less happy about this episode than me was Daniel Faraday.

james, want to go get pinkberry?

Sex with the man formerly known as LeFleuer is an enervating, staccato experience. It begins with a few fist bumps like every speech from the current president of our country. At some point a counter-clockwise swirl is undertaken; the anus is largely pushed to the sidelines of the interplay except for the occasional tickle. Fellatio is a timely and appreciated rejoinder to the abrasive central act, cunnilingus is frowned upon unless it's Kate and you know she really needs it. After your first or second orgasm, whatever you do, do not ask for a t-shirt. LeFleuer is conditioned for this question; he stores his private keepsakes next to his tee-shirts for a reason, Charlotte. And above all, don't try to long con a con man, and don't name an episode about it "Recon."

Josh Holloway isn't nearly as appealing as Steve McQueen, or for that matter Timothy Olyphant in the triumphant premiere of last night's Justified, which is based on my years as a dickhead Wyoming sheriff nicknamed "Hardbone." I was a handsome guy back then, kind of like Edward James Olmos but less ethnic. I swear that will be my first and last EJO LOL.

The relevant characteristics of myself, Jesus, and Timothy Olyphant are as follows: (1) we take action, (2) after the party is the after party (3) we weren't all that good at tumblr and (4) we had an Asian/Jewish partner who could speak to the dead. We cared not a whit for the machinations of lesser men, definitely not until after dessert, or in Jesus' case, prayer.

Sawyer played the Man in Black and Charles Widmore for fools. Working both sides of the equation when one side is a megalomaniacal billionaire and other is a supernatural being didn't work in Ghostbusters, so why would it start now? Sawyer was such a terrible liar in his backstory that it made sense he largely told the truth back on the island. The truth takes a lot less time to say, or as Orson Welles once phrased this idea, "A long-playing full shot is what always separates the men from the boys."

People learn to lie at about age five, they rarely stop doing it. We accept lies as part of our discourse today. This never happened in real life before two important historical events which occurred in the same month: Watergate, and the switch from black-and-white to color in Pleasantville. When girls were in black and white, it was far more difficult to see them in the dark at parties, and rape was almost impossible unless the victim consumed a particularly savage root beer float.

awesome mural guys: you have color for the first time, and this is what you went with?I guess I'm pretty worried about all the violence against women that's being condoned in our culture, for the most part by Anderson Cooper (he's gay, what's it to him?). Locke slapped Claire full on in the face and she practically thanked him for it. Ben Roethlisberger got a lawsuit filed against him for doing that during sex while reciting the 'Judgment Day' voiceover from Terminator 2 in falsetto. Different strokes for different folks, I suppose.

I generally think that any criticism of television for influencing our children in an untoward way is off the mark except for MTV's True Life, but the artifice of a character lying in a drama and getting away with it is really destructive for people to mimic. It was lying about his attraction to Kate that allowed Sawyer to have cage sex back in Season Three, but really, at what cost?

It would have been hilarious at the time if after sex Kate had wandered over to an armoire located within the cage and been like, "Hey Ford, can I get a tee-shirt?" and he freaked out and ordered her back to her own cage. Incidentally, that is what Guantanamo Bay is actually like.

Lost is so complicated that it's hard to focus in on the subtle details that actually make drama. For example, as Widmore is negotiating with Sawyer in the present, in the alternate universe Sawyer is inside of his son's one true love. That's why after every meeting I take, just in case, I throw in a "Have you banged my son's one true love?" as a parting shot. You never know.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording and the former vice president of the United States. You can find his previous recaps of the final season of Lost here.

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"Hope in the Air" - Laura Marling (mp3)

"Devils Spoke" - Laura Marling (mp3)

"Alpha Shallows" - Laura Marling (mp3)

"Rambling Man" - Laura Marling (mp3)