365 T-shirts - the reasoning

This blog should be sub-titled: a journal of my life in geek.

I get my geek on with things about which I am geeky: comic books, Baseball, Ultimate, science fiction, my favorite bands, books I have read and loved, and Jungian psychology to name some of the most frequently traversed subjects.

I began this project simply as a way to count my T-shirts. I own a lot of T-shirts. But how many do I have? Do I have 365? We shall find out.

When I started this blog, I thought about how each T-shirt means something to me. I bought it for a reason, after all. I set myself the task to post an entry about a new T-shirt every day as a way to simply write something every day, a warm up for writing fiction, which is my passion. Writing is like exercise. Warm ups are good for exercise. But after completing a month of blogging about T-shirts, I have learned that this blog serves as a journal; it documents my life in geek, sort of a tour of my interests in pop culture. The blog serves as a tool for self-inventory, for assessment and analysis of self and the origins of self, for stepping through the process of individuation in catalogues, lists, and ranks.

The blog also made me aware that I have some serious gaps in my T-shirt ownership, and I am in the process of collecting some new T-shirts for several of the great popular culture icons that I truly love. Stay tuned.

I was also a bit surprised that people checked out my blog and continue to check it, read it, and even comment on it. I am very appreciative of this readership. Please feel free to share your thoughts in my comments section. I will respond.

Also, please note that I have moved the original introductory text to the side bar. And now, I present to you the most recent entry of 365 T-shirts: a journal of my life in geek. Thank you for reading.
(Second Update - 1310.24. First Update - 1306.05 Originally Posted - 1304.25.)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

T-shirt #76: LOST

T-shirt #76: LOST

I have followed JJ Abrams' productions ever since his first offering to the TV viewing public as co-creator of Felicity, which aired on the WB from 1998-2002. Though I have not watched everything he has created (skipping Undercovers, Person of Interest, and Revolution), I am a very big fan of Alias, Fringe, and LOST as well as the films, such as both Star Trek films and Cloverfield.

I spotted LOST as a show with potential from the start, jumping on from the first episode. Right away, I was hooked. LOST aired on ABC from 2004-2010.

LOST accomplished something that few other shows had managed or had not managed with a high level of popularity. Abrams and his posse of creators (including Jeffrey Lieber and Damon Lindelof among others) wove a complex story with dozens of lingering questions for viewers. LOST was filled with unexplained phenomena and intricate mysteries. The reveals that were spread out over its six seasons often produced more questions than answers. The show generated enormous fan chatter on the Internet, as Web 2.0 really came of age during the show's run. A heavy traffic of speculation and discussion filled chat rooms, message boards, web sites, blogs, and various outlets of social media. I did not pay much attention to all of the chatter. But I did engage in discussions with other LOST viewers about what it all might mean. And though I was not quite as disappointed in the finale as many of my friends, I was not entirely blown away and thrilled with it either. Ultimately, LOST collapsed a little (though not completely) like the house of cards it is. It's a great ride as a work of episodic fiction, but the pay off is not quite as astounding as the promise of its complexity and mystery.

LOST may be the best example on the current media landscape of the novel for television told in episodes. For many years, television networks resisted formats that would preclude new viewers from jumping on midway through a season or an entire run of a series. Networks also had a vested interest in milking a money-making product to death rather than agreeing to allow a show to reach a natural conclusion. LOST is one of the first, and surely the best example, of a show with a rich mythology that will be impenetrable for anyone to attempt to jump on mid-stream. The show must be watched from beginning to end in the same way a novel must be read from beginning to end. No one would try to start a novel in the middle and attempt to figure out what's going on as he/she reads, or if someone tried, he/she would indeed be "lost," depending on the intricacy of the novel.

LOST thrived in this new format because past episodes were readily available on DVD, Internet downloads, and eventually via streaming technology. TV networks finally realized that many, many people would willing devote themselves to TV novels. Others who missed out on regular broadcasts would buy or rent all the DVD sets to catch up. People yearned for a longer, sustained experiences rather than a series of stand alone episodes with a few arcing story elements woven throughout. Television had entered a new era. No longer were TV shows relics of the past that were discussed with reverence and longing. Because unless they were in reruns somewhere or stored on ancient video tapes, these shows only existed in memory and in an oral tradition or describing their brilliance to others. Many shows from the pre-video tape era were hidden away in the TV studio archives, waiting for the technology that would set them free and make them accessible. Now with streaming technology, many beloved artifacts of long ago decades of entertainment are available with a few clicks of a button, forever changing the way we consume and interact with our media products. And these changes are only the beginning. In our lifetimes, we are due to see even more significant changes to our media experiences.

Another aspect of people's desire for the sustained, episodic narrative woven intricately with mysteries galore may not have occurred to the corporations who fund and profit from these projects until the advent of LOST, though the storytelling methods can be observed in other series' that aired prior to LOST. Watching a program like LOST binds people together in an exclusive club. A viewer gains a special status by watching--let alone studying--the program. More status is conveyed by those who expend the most energy in speculation and discussion. LOST fans can speak in a special language only understood by other LOST fans. They have special knowledge. They have the secret key to powerful mysteries and engaging, cerebral puzzles. They keep secrets from non-fans, if only to preserve the surprises and plot twists, the "truth" and the exciting cliff hangers for these non-fans who may, at some point, become fans.

Critical reception ranks LOST among the best TV shows of all time, and I agree.

- chris tower - 1306.05 - 9:26