Monday, May 12, 2008

Boston Globe column looks at disability themes in "Lost"

Terry O'Quinn as John Locke on "Lost,"
whose spinal cord injury was cured by the island.

Robin Abrahams, a Boston Globe magazine columnist, blogged about disability and the TV show "Lost" on May 11, after she read the classic disability studies text by Rosemarie Garland Thomson, Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture.

She would like to hear from the disability community about their impressions of the disability themes in "Lost." (The John Locke character, pictured above, was a wheelchair user before the plane crashed on the mysterious island. But his spinal cord injury no longer existed due to the island's "magic" -- another character's cancer is healed by the island, Rose, who is also pictured above.)

Here's what Abrahams says about the Locke character: "For the first couple of seasons, the question 'How did Locke get paralyzed' was, like, THE question about Locke. And when you finally find out--it doesn't really matter. The able-bodied tend to see disabled people entirely in terms of their disability. Their disability is their story, what else in their life could possibly compare to that? Locke's character arc sets us off down that path, and then neatly diverges. Turns out Locke's story is that of a lonely, gifted yet vulnerable man desperate for something to believe in, something to belong to. The wheelchair just happened for a while. And his fierce desire to stay on the island that healed him isn't because he fears going back to the wheelchair, it's because he's finally found that thing to believe in and belong to. The disability has been pushed to the periphery of Locke's story, just as it is in the stories of many real-life disabled people. It's just the set and props, it's not the play itself."