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Pop Culture - Fear of the Ocean? A Metaphor in TV, Movies & Books for Our Fear of Terrorism & Ongoing Fallout from 9/11? "Lost" & "Invasion" on ABC; "Open Water"; NBC's "Surface"; Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea. FASHIONTRIBES POP CULTURE BLOG & PODCAST


Pop Culture - Fear of the Ocean? A Metaphor in TV, Movies & Books for Our Fear of Terrorism & Ongoing Fallout from 9/11? Lost on ABC; Open Water; Surface on NBC; ABC's Invasion & Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea. FASHIONTRIBES POP CULTURE BLOG & PODCAST - MP3 File

There's been a somewhat puzzling spate of terror-from-the-sea movies & series of late. Well blame Shaun Cassidy - the creator and executive producer of Lost scored a massive home run with the series. An "attractive brew of bizarre, hair-raising mystery and far-reaching appeal" is how Melanie McFarland, describes the series in Fall TV Preview: Networks Redisdover Sci-Fi Thanks to Success of "Lost" in the Seattle Post Intelligencer, SeattlePi.com.

But according to Cassidy, the success of the show could be due to something more disturbing: the ongoing emotional fallout from 9/11. "We're living in an aftermath world," says Cassidy, "and very, very, very terrible tragedies have come and there hasn't been a rulebook for the aftermath. Trying to figure out what to do next, trying to find our way, trying to put the pieces back together in a more productive way, those are the themes of our show."

A large part of the 9/11 aftermath is terrorism, such as the recent bombings in England, and in Spain. People around the world have an ongoing sense of unease, but they can't really point to anything specific; an unknown terror lurks, but who it is, when it will strike, and how are all questions which remain disturbingly unanswered. "Much of the trouble in the world stems from unacknowledged fear at a subconcious level," opines Jungian Bonnie McCarson, author of Fear & Shadow on Suite101.com. "The individual unconscious is connected to the greater collective unconscious like a bay or inlet is connected in some way to the ocean. What happens on the ocean can affect the water levels in the bay." It's interesting that she chose the ocean as a metaphor as it applies so well to our current situation: Finding themselves surrounded by a pervasive fog of the amorphous fears of the greater collective unconscious, it's no wonder individuals are experiencing everything from unease to downright paranoia, without being able to point to a direct cause.

Small wonder that the sea, a self-contained world filled with dangerous and strange creatures - especially below the largely uncharted two-mile mark - resonates so strongly with people worried about a enemy they can't see and an all-too-real feeling of danger they can only sense.

STARTING WITH SPIELBERG'S MOVIE JAWS, THE OCEAN HAS BEEN AN ONGOING SOURCE OF BOTH TERROR & FASCINATION IN POP CULTURE:

  • Lost_poster LOST The phenomenally popular ABC series about fourty-eight people stranded after a terrible plane crash on a remote & spooky island - inhabited by a carnivorous monster with a taste for people - in the South Pacific. Described by EOnline.com as "part action-adventure, part mystery, part sci-fi, part soap opera" it does a good job of making you wonder what you would do in that situation.
  • Water_open_water_poster Water_open_water_stillOPEN WATER Last year's cult fave chronicled the unspeakably frightening prospect of being abandoned in, well, the open water and having to contend with a school of unfriendly sharks. Based on the true story of an American couple who were stranded in the ocean when the Australian tour operator miscounted how many divers they had on board the boat and left without them - only to discover their mistake two days later when they found some of the couple's stuff on the boat. Quite chillingly - although not surprisingly - they were never found...although rumors abound that they might not have died, but rather, they were trying to escape their lives. How....er, fishy! (sorry!) "The fear of being left in the open water is an extremely frightening feeling," notes Chris Kentis, the director of Open Water in an interview with NationalGeographic.com.
  • Surface_logo SURFACE Sci-fi action adventure "Surface" will premiere this September on NBC, and revolves around mysterious whatevers that live in the deep end of the ocean. What would happen if a new form of sea life began appearing in different places all over the world, and while beautiful, are they less than innocent? NBC invites you to "embark on this unfathomable journey to discover what might be lurking just below the surface?"
  • Invasion_lights_poster INVASION After all those years that we've been searching the skies for signs of intelligent life in the universe, have we been looking in the wrong place altogether? Might there already be life among us? According to TV.com: "What if perceived natural disaster were really diversions created to conceal clandestine alien activities?" After a small girl sights strange lights during a hurricane, hovering near the Everglades of her Florida home, completely unaffected by the gale force winds, strange things begin to happen, beginning with the local woman who turns up naked with no memory of the storm at all. On ABC starting this September.
  • Ship_of_gold SHIP OF GOLD IN THE DEEP BLUE SEA A rolicking, page-turner of a tale of recovering sunken treasure from the ocean - and a true story to boot. When the SS Central America went down in the Atlantic in 1857, it was carrying it over $2 million (in 19th century dollars!) worth of booty from the California gold rush. Over 100 years later, lured by the challenges of recovering treasure from such phenomenal depths - over two miles down - Tommy Thompson, an eccentric engineering genius, managed to overcome bureaucrats, other treasure hunters, and numerous false starts to successfully recover a literal goldmine. A gripping, fascinating read.

- Lesley Scott

December 3, 2005 in PODCAST, Pop Culture, POP CULTURE PODCAST, Tattoos, Weblogs | Permalink

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