Saturday, February 6, 2010

Chanel No. 9-Lives

I'm not going to find a way to work this into a larger narrative, so I'm just going to open with this story:  my husband has been researching the types of products he might carry if he opened his own retail business one day (which he should do because the store - which would carry gifts and home accessories - would be AWESOME.  Tasteful and well-merchandised and design savvy.  He should do it.)  Anyway, he was at the Gift Show this week and one of the vendors was promoting perfume and fragrances.  For Dogs. 

This would be funny all on its own, but it's hilarious when he tells you that the scent was so good he'd wear it himself. 

You can see how it might be difficult to work this in to a larger framework, despite the fact that my writing generally resembles the ambling musings of a mental patient.  But it will be especially difficult because our focus today is the potential repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

This week, Congress held hearings on Don't Ask, Don't Tell, opening conversations about allowing gays to serve openly in the US Military for the first time in more than 16 years.  It's pretty inspiring to see folks who are generally perceived as fairly conservative, like Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen (the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff), vociferously arguing that DADT has been an expensive failure and that gays should be able to serve openly.

Mullen was pretty blunt when he said that it was anathema to a culture of integrity to ask people to lie about who they are.  It almost makes you want to stand up and clap.

Though it also reminds you how slow the pace of change is.  69% of the public already approves of allowing gays to openly serve.  Major Western democracies like Israel, Canada and Great Britain permit open service.  It's not like we're asking for something unpopular or revolutionary.

It also seems like a question leap forward for equal rights when you consider that allowing us to serve in the military is, effectively, allowing us entry into an institution at least partly characterized by increasing your odds of getting shot and killed at an early age.

Still, despite the fact that this is no longer a very controversial issue, Senate Republicans just about had apoplexy over the matter.  Now, while it's always amusing to see John McCain turn purple and sputter, it's all so hypocritical that I just can't stand it.  For years these guys hid behind a position of "We'll agree when the military leadership tells us it's ok," thinking that day would never come.  Now that it has, the tune is changing to: "Not during a time of two wars."

There's an old Bugs Bunny cartoon where Daffy Duck keeps denying an insurance policy by adding conditions.  (Between 3:45 and 4pm, during a hailstorm, and injured by a stampede of cattle.  And one baby zebra.)

Yeah, sorta feels like that.  But karma's a bitch, so keep your eyes open for that Baby Zebra.

OK...I know I've already talked about Lost ad nauseum, but we need to discuss the season premiere.  Now, we finally know what the storyline is going to be for this season - or at least a part of it.  After detonating a bomb in 1977, with the intent of preventing the hatch from being built and the plane from ever crashing, Juliet has apparently created an alternate reality.  The show is shifting between a 2004 where the plane never crashes and a 2007 where the detonation of the bomb has accomplished nothing more than killing Juliet (RIP.)  It's kind of like that movie, Sliding Doors, with Gwyneth Paltrow where the story jumps back and forth between what her life would have been like if she had/hadn't missed a closing subway door.  In one, she got to start her own PR firm, while in the other, she gets sacked and her boyfriend cheats on her.

This is why I take cabs.

Anyway, it's actually a pretty interesting way to resolve the time travel story line.  If the explosion hadn't had any effect on the past, the entire time travel season wouldn't have made much sense.  If all the investment the writers had made in making temporal dislocation a key element of the story didn't have some payoff in terms of the characters ability to affect future events, it wouldn't have made sense.  Likewise, if the explosion had only re-written history, the stakes become dramatically lower.  The whole thing never happened, and the viewers feel pretty ripped off (it's Bobby Ewing in the shower, it-was-all-a-dream.  And people hate that.)

Instead, we get a little of both.  Two worlds that seemingly exist side-by-side (hey, if we've done flashbacks and flash-forwards, why not flash-sideways?)  The temptation is to ask which one is "real."  To assume one of these things really happened while the other is what could have happened.  I don't think the writers are going to make it that easy - I think they're BOTH real.

Why?  First, Miles "spoke" to Juliet after she dies and she said, "It worked," which links the 2007 and 2004 storylines.  Second, it's a more interesting story.  The entire arc of this show has been - for all of it's mythology and time travel and polar bears - a story about redemption.  It's why, in the first seasons, there was so much speculation that the island was (actually or theoretically) purgatory; the "simpler" characters reached a point of redemption and "died" (Shannon, Eko) and the more complex characters (Jack, Kate) were on a much more difficult journey to redemption.  I think the purpose of the story is to show you that many of these people found the redemption they so sorely needed because of that plane crash; because they had been on the island.

Yes, at some point the two timelines need to converge and there needs to be a resolution, but I wouldn't be surprised if the characters were permitted to choose or otherwise influence their destiny as a matter of will.

Which is a pretty good lesson for the week...and ties back to the courage it takes as a conservative Republican Admiral to stand up for equality.  Our lives are a culmination of the choices we make, and our character is defined by the hard ones, the ones that takes courage.  Who do you want to be?

1 comment:

  1. I hate to use this expression, but DUDE! I'm so with you! I have been DYING to be a fly on the wall at the McCain house at dinnertime over the last two weeks. I think it's funny that John is fighting gay rights on one side of the table, and Cindy is advertising for NoH8 on the other side!! Sooo funny!