Lost and the Decline of Western Civilization

With this season of Lost set to resume tomorrow, The New York Times’ Alessandra Stanley weighs in.

Anyone who thinks it’s a good sign that “Lost” is back has not spent enough time at the Web site of James Randi, a skeptical scholar of the pseudoscientific and the supernatural.

A fan recently posed this question online at randi.org: “Is a fascination and increased belief in the supernatural a sign of social decline?”

The answer came as categorically as the words under the Magic 8-Ball: “Yes. Absolutely.”

By itself, “Lost” may not be a harbinger of the decline of Western civilization. But alongside “Heroes,” as well as “Medium,” “Ghost Whisperer” and “Raines,” a new NBC drama that begins in March and stars Jeff Goldblum as a detective who solves murders by appearing to commune with dead victims, the collapse looks pretty darn nigh.

“Lost,” on ABC tonight, is the most intriguing of all the series that traffic in the supernatural, mostly because it defies its own illogical reasoning. As the third season resumes after a three-month hiatus, nothing about the fate of the plane wreck survivors marooned on a paranormal island (or is it an archipelago?) makes much sense. But the real mystery of “Lost” is not the Dharma Initiative, the Others or why some characters are named after British philosophers (John Locke, Edmund Burke). It’s whether the writers actually have a cohesive story line that ties together all the unexplained subplots.

(I agree with her and have for a while… but am still going to watch it.)