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Neo-Zhdanovite Zaniness: The TV Years

We haven’t heard from the Virgin Ben Shapiro in a while, but he’s just turned up at the new and exciting right-wing culture blog Big Hollywood to tell us why Lost is the most conservative show on TV.

This tactic is known to fans of Roy Edroso’s blog as the “chocolate is conservative because I like chocolate” argument, and Ben plays it as well as anyone on this list of the five most conservative characters on Lost. He either isn’t watching the show, or doesn’t know what conservative means, as we’ll see.



1. Sawyer: Josh Holloway’s Southern con man, James “Sawyer” Ford, is the best conservative character on television, bar none.


Really, Ben? That’s what you got, Sawyer? A third-rate con artist filled with self-loathing who’s constantly getting outsmarted? He’s the best? Okay then.

But he votes Republican – in Episode 16 of Season 1, Outlaws, Sawyer admits that he has never voted Democrat.


Actually, we have no idea if he votes Republican; he just says he doesn’t vote Democrat. My guess is that he doesn’t vote at all.

He’s a proud gun-toter, carrying rifles and pistols with equal authority.


He’s also a lousy shot, and one of his most notorious bits of gunplay is to shoot a dying man from point-blank range in a would-be mercy killing – and miss.

He’s a true capitalist, buying and selling like Warren Buffet at a flea market.


And, like a true capitalist, all the things he buys and sells are stolen from other people. Also, in season 3, he wants to stay in the Others’ village and “play house” with the free food and shelter instead of going back to good ol’ free-market America.

Sawyer is the first to engage in racial profiling – he labels fellow crash survivor Sayid a terror suspect in Episode 1, Season 1 – but he also develops a deep friendship with Sayid as the show progresses.


Uh…Sawyer’s racial profiling was wrong. That was kind of the whole point. He drummed up distrust against a dark-skinned person who hadn’t done anything wrong, and covered up his own criminal past. How is this a defense of profiling? Saying it’s okay as long as you befriend the guy you wrongly accused later?

And boy is he tough. In Season 2, he rips a bullet out of his shoulder with his bare hands. Ask Al Franken to do that.


Aaaaand, there’s the obligatory cheap shot at wimpy liberals. How many bullets have you ripped out of your body, Ben?

2. Locke: John Locke is the most mystical character on TV.


That’s true enough. He’s also an easily hoodwinked chump, though.

He’s explicitly labeled a “Man of Faith,” as opposed to Jack Shephard’s “Man of Reason.” And he’s proved right, time and again.


Whaaaat? Is Ben even watching the same show as the rest of us? The Lost I know has Locke being proven wrong time and again – he got Boone killed, he murdered Naomi in cold blood, he blew up Mikhail’s house, he blew up the submarine, and he constantly falls for Ben Linus’ manipulation. Also, he’s delusional (remember his imaginary phone-sex girlfriend), he’s a former dope dealer, and he can’t hold down a job.

3. Benjamin “Henry Gale” Linus: AKA Benry. Benry is evil to be sure – but he’s pure, solid, wonderful evil in the mold of Dick Cheney.


Oh, okay, so he’s the good kind of evil. That’s all right then.

He’s a conniving, backstabbing, brilliant leader, a guy who will do anything to win – and anything to save the Island.


Of course, Shapiro does not mention that Benjamin Linus is allied with the aboriginals of the island, and he is fighting to save it from intrusion by a conglomerate of Western mega-capitalists. That’s not very conservative.

He’ll even speak Turkish, then kick Tunisian ass.


Ben likes this enough to link to a video clip, because if there’s one tried-and-true way to prove you’re a real conservative, it’s to brutalize a Muslim.

He’s also a family man. Which also leads him to kick ass after his daughter is killed in Season 4.


This one is super-hilarious, because (a) Alex is not Ben’s daughter and (b) the only reason she is killed is because Ben won’t give himself up. Very noble.

Liberals would never try this tactic. They would sit there wondering why the Arabs don’t understand them or why the bad just guys just killed their daughter.


And there’s cheap shot at wimpy liberals #2: no liberal would ever contemplate avenging a murdered family member! They’re born without the love-your-child gene.

He’s dangerously nuclear. But he’s also nuclear awesomeness.


I don’t actually know what this means, but I do know that no adult should be saying it.

4. Mr. Eko: Mr. Eko is the conservative icon. He’s a former drug dealer who repents due to his brother’s religiosity.


Well, actually, he repents due to having indirectly caused his brother’s death, but why split hairs?

But when he’s challenged, he doesn’t back down. After drug dealers try to steal medical supplies from the village where he has taken over as priest, he takes them out … machete-style. His super-cool line: “You do not know who I am.” They know a bit better after he chops off their arms.


Here we find Ben wandering through a cluster of trees, wondering where the forest is. He seems to have forgotten that Eko’s guilt over his many murders -- including those of the drug dealers -- led him to repentence and pacifism as a Catholic priest. Killing those drug dealers only made things worse for Eko's village, and in fact the people of the village drove him out after he did it. In fact, when he finally dies, it’s an act of penance after he’s been haunted by his violent past.

Eko maintains religious righteousness on the Island, using a stick marked with Scripture – as Charlie Pace calls it, the “Jesus stick” — to beat up evildoers.


Again, is Ben even paying attention? Eko is so shattered by his violent acts on the island (which are pure self-defense, not any kind of religious law enforcement) that he takes a vow of silence, after which he never acts violently again, up until his death. Eko is admirable for his pacifism, not for his violence, as he constantly makes clear. As hipsterdetritus said in a different context, it’s like Ben watched the show without actually watching it.

Charlie actually helps him build a church on the Island.


Which they both eventually abandon; it never gets built. Bravo, Ben! Bravo!

Comments

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brandawg
Jan. 9th, 2009 08:04 pm (UTC)
By his estimation, Sayid should be on his list for all of the torture and Hurley for all of his money and Mr. Friendly for all of his secret machinations in the name of his leader since Ben here obviously selectively watches the show. Never mind that Sayid regrets his past, Hurley finds his money leads to no good and Friendly is gayer than gay.
ludickid
Jan. 9th, 2009 08:09 pm (UTC)
Well, Hurley is Mexican, so he didn't EARN his money. He WON it. That's the only way ethnics can get rich.
brandawg
Jan. 10th, 2009 06:55 am (UTC)
Also, I would love for this dude to always use Locke as his conservative poster boy because, as you said, Locke is always wrong about everything always.
shekb
Jan. 9th, 2009 08:06 pm (UTC)
nerve touched!
Whoa! Adoptive dads are dads too, even if they suck.
ludickid
Jan. 9th, 2009 08:11 pm (UTC)
Re: nerve touched!
Fair enough. But I wouldn't exactly say Ben "adopted" Alex. More like "kidnapped" her.
shekb
Jan. 10th, 2009 02:23 am (UTC)
Re: nerve touched!
Oh, you mean aggressive adoption.
drownedinink
Jan. 9th, 2009 09:31 pm (UTC)
I don't watch "Lost", but I could still see Shapiro's ideological stupidity through my fog of ignorance. I look forward to further installments from Shapiro, like how "Doctor Who" is conservative because the Daleks probably have socialized health care.

hipsterdetritus
Jan. 9th, 2009 09:56 pm (UTC)
An aside, in case anyone's wondering about the context of my above-mentioned quote, it was in response to this AV Club commenter:

"The problem is, that so far it's relentlessly unvaried, and in that sense I find it depressing. It splits time between two equally bleak settings in the company of not very sympathetic characters. The cops are drunks and assholes and backstabbers yoked to this Sisyphean investigation, and the dealers, with few exceptions, are unrepentant thugs and killers. I'm having a hard time finding a rooting interest in any of it. As with most network police procedurals, it's all job all the time, with precious little allowance into the character's personal lives. And maybe that's it: it's just playing for me like a glorified NYPD Blue-type cop drama."

This comment was about The Wire.
happinesstogo
Jan. 10th, 2009 12:14 am (UTC)
Wow, your Jackface icon makes me happy. And I really enjoyed this post, as I am getting all excited for the Lost premiere later this month. Plus, you're spot on with all your counter-points to Shapiro.
writebrain
Jan. 10th, 2009 02:46 am (UTC)
And Claire didn't choose not to have an abortion. Her dumbass boyfriend got her all psyched about starting a family then dumped her when she couldn't have made that choice.

THANK YOU for linking to this. My husband and I have just gotten hooked on Lost -- we're almost through with season 3. So this is all very fresh in my mind. I'm forwarding this link to Mr Brain -- he'll get a good chuckle out of it.
thaitea
Jan. 10th, 2009 04:12 am (UTC)
His 'assessment' of Lost is baffling. I read some of the comments to his piece which were mostly supportive. Harrowing.
flying_blind
Jan. 10th, 2009 08:45 am (UTC)
Ben is either a parodist masquerading as a conservative, or he's a complete blatherskite.

Either way, he's also a jackanapes.
ortho_bob
Jan. 11th, 2009 12:58 am (UTC)
Why no Benny love for capitalist underlord Charles Whidmore, Sun's dad and Keamey (with his Blackwater tattoo), conservatives to a man?

This is the standard to which all wingnuttery must aspire in 2009. Hurrah.
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Leonard Pierce is a freelance writer wandering around Texas with no sleep or sense of direction. If you give him money he will write something for you. If you are nice to him he may come to your house and get drunk.

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