Thursday, February 8, 2007

The Obscure and the Profound

An old idea came back to me last night, shaken loose while I was watching Lost on TV.

I’ve sometimes noticed that people mistake the obscure for the profound: it must be deep, they seem to say, because I can’t really understand it.

No, sorry. Sometimes things are obscure simply because they are obscure, even if they are as shallow as a mud puddle or as thin as a paper bag.

In the case of Lost, of course, the obscurity is deliberate, and its creators are counting on the conflation of obscurity and profundity to keep stringing viewers along and raking in the ad revenue.

I keep watching, even though it has come to feel like a chore, in part just to see what kind of hooey they try to foist on us next.

(For another example of the obscure-profound conflation, consider any song by the Indigo Girls.)

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