Much like Brick Tamland once admitted to loving "lamp," I must admit to loving Lost. Lost is on my pop culture shortlist of loves that includes only the likes of Arrested Development, My Chemical Romance and a kid named Potter. And like everything else on that list, I obsessively seek out every scrap of information that has ever existed about it.
Sometimes this has come back to haunt me. During season 2 of Lost, I once came across a spoiler that I did not want to come across. I knew a character was going to die in episode 6. I wanted to know who this character was going to be but I didn't want to know who this character was going to be. Hopefully anyone who has ever obsessed over a piece of culture can understand this paradox. Of course fate (a.k.a spoilerfix.com) intervened and I found out that darling Shannon Rutherford was not long for this world. I was quite alright with this as Shannon was annoying as well.
So I watched the episode with this in mind. 10 minutes pass - Shannon isn't dead. 30 minutes pass - Shannon isn't dead. 50 minutes pass - Shannon isn't dead. There is now only two minutes or so to go in the episode and Shannon still isn't dead. What she is, however, is running around the Jungle like a moron with her sexy Iraqi BF, Sayid, trailing her. It is then that my heart sunk and I had a horrible thought:
Sayid is going to fucking kill Shannon.
I immediately hated myself for thinking this. "Come on, Alec," I said to myself, "it's 2005 and you need to grow up. Just because Sayid prays five times a day, likes falafel and was in Uncle Saddam's Republican Guard doesn't mean he is capable of killing the blonde image of American unchecked excess for no apparent reason." Still, there was no time left and Shannon absolutely had to die. My heart started racing as I imagined the Internet chatter the following morning designating Lost as xenophobic, archaic and no longer worth watching. Then Ana Lucia appeared from nowhere in the Jungle and fired a bullet deep into Shannon's annoying chest. Nothing like a Dominican-American Deus Ex Machina to absolve me from allegations of closeted racism! Poor Shannon had not dodged a bullet but Lost had, in my mind. What show could survive humanizing an Iraqi and then turning him into a villain immediately? Aside from 24, of course...
Cut to: this past Tuesday. Lost did what I had once feared: they turned Sayid "bad." Only it didn't feel offensive or cliche. Back in 2005, I was worried that Sayid's turn to the dark side would resemble a cute and cuddly puppy suddenly snapping at a child and then having to be put down. But Sayid's actual turn to the dark side in 2010 felt like a good man, trying to preserve his loved ones' lives because he knew he was already damned. It was epic. It was touching. It was classy. It was Anakin Skywalker in Revenge of the Sith. But most importantly: nobody has brought it up.
To my knowledge, no one has written one word about the abrupt turning of a Muslim character into a villain. It doesn't seem to strike anyone as "off" or to disturb anyone's sensitivity meter.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that Barack Obama can suck it. Lost is the REAL reason we live in a "post-racial world." Enjoy the descent into darkness, Sayid Jarrah! We'll be there with you every step of the way.