Saturday, June 19, 2010

Just sayin' -- Subliminal messages in 'Lost'?

Is “Lost” a vile and reprehensible show sending subliminal messages that force you to keep watching anyway? That’s what one viewer claims in a complaint to the Federal Communications Commission.

“… well into season 2, I decided that I dind't (sic) like Lost anymore because the plot had gone stupid and it was getting worse with each episode. Yet I feel an urge to keep watching anyway,” lamented a viewer from Norway who filed a complaint. “ Why? Am I getting fed some mind-controlling subliminal messages saying something like, ‘Watch Lost! Watch every episode! Don't leave us!’ or could it be worse?”

Most folks I’ve encountered are either rabid “Lost” fans, or they can take it or leave it. But there’s another small group out there who just can’t stand the Hawaii-based show’s nudity, partial nudity, cuss words and/or violence.

Not to mention the subliminal messages. You don’t have to run the video backward to see these messages, but, according to our Norway viewer, the World Trade Center, an upside-down man riding a bicycle and other subliminal messages are easy to see if you slow down the show.

“One of the messages in this very clip is, ‘God loves you ... ‘ I am sure that non-Christians would not like hearing that, that they may have been brainwashed by watching Lost,” the viewer continues. “I am a Christian and I don't like it, because this is NOT the proper method in which to spread Christianity!”

The hit ABC TV show might have signed off on its last season, but the complaints linger on. You can find them on the Government Attic website, run by a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) group that, as it puts it, “rummages in the government attic,” to save government documents from the Washington D.C. bureaucracy, where things truly can get lost.

The “Lost” complaints document, titled “All informal complaints received by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding the television show 'Lost' between January 2003 and May 2010,” contains 15 complaints and runs some 30 photocopied pages.

The FCC duly logged all the complaints, assigned them numbers and codes, but generally found the complaints without merit, or as translated into FCC-speak, “Denial. Broadcast outside of subject matter definition.”

The government has redacted all identifying information about the complainant except the city and state, or country.

Oh, and it includes the mandatory butt-covering language: “The FCC receives many complaints and comments that do not involve violations of the Communications Act or any FCC rule or order. Thus, a complaint or comment does not necessarily indicate any wrongdoing by any individuals or entities named in the complaint or comment.”

I’ve taken the liberty of transcribing and/or describing the complaints below.


From Whitmore, Calif.
Two complaints about the Lost - character Sawyer
2-21-08 Lost! ABC/profanity (SOB)
Sawyer uttered “son of a bitch.” This is not the first time.
A follow-up complaint came from the same city about the 4/17/08 show, where Sawyer apparently said, “bastard.”

From Bear, Delaware: “This episode showed a man being hung and his murderer enjoying the action and destroying all evidence.”

From somewhere in Norway:
“I would like to report something 1 have found alarming in a "sneak-peak" of the new series of Lost, which I have found on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v 4bTvAUVPyLI. If that link does not work, the title is "New Lost Season 4 Sneak Peak!!! New Hatch!, The Orchid". The following are scenes that are flashed at lightning speed-subliminally-so you have to play at very slow speeds to find them ... At 0:39 there is a scene of a man watching you, at 0:49, is a scene of a building that looks a lot like building 7 of theWorld Trade Center just before it went down, however, Lost fans say it is some building owned by "the Dharma Initiative" which is supposedly in Narvik, Norway. Then, at 01:09 is a message saying, "God loves you as He loved Jacob", at 0 1 :42 is an upside-down image of someone riding a bicycle. These are four subliminal images in just two minutes! How many do they put in an hour-long episode? I don't like that. Isn't that illegal? I know these are just silly things, but I don't like what they could be doing. For example, well into season 2, I decided that I dind't like Lost anymore because the plot had gone stupid and it was getting worse with each episode. Yet I feel an urge to keep watching anyway. Why? Am I getting fed some mind-controlling subliminal messages saying something like, "Watch Lost! Watch every episode! Don't leave us!" or could it be worse? One of the messages in this very clip is, "God loves you ... " I am sure that non-Christians would not like hearing that, that they may have been brainwashed by watching Lost. I am a Christian and I don't like it, because this is NOT the proper method in which to spread Christianity! If 1 have not sent this to the proper department, please forward it to them. Please investigate.P.S. I am an American citizen, but I am currently living in Norway. That is why I thought of filing a complaint with You.”

From Rock Valley, Iowa:
“At the end of the commercial a topless woman is standing on the ocean front. Waves are crashing in the background. I thought the showing of nudity was prohibited on public channels, in any context?”

From Orange, Maine:
“There was a commercial on before the Rolling Stones preformed at the halftime show of the Super Bowl. It was a commercial for the TV show “lost.” Near the end they show the TV screen they are looking at in the commercial and you can clearly see a naked woman with both breasts openly exposed. I would think after the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction incident of years past they would have put an end to this. Thank you.”

From Lawrenceburg, Indiana:
“Jack and Sawyer were speaking to each other about another character that Sawyer had sexual relations with and Sawyer said to Jack ‘I screwed her,’ referring to having sex with her.”

From Lolo, Mont.:
“I’m disturbed by the graphic violence, physical and psychological torture displayed on lost to humans and animals in the 10/18 and 10/25 episodes. Beating Sawyer to a bloody pulp, killing a rabbit, using tasers on people, beating them with sticks. I loved this show and am angry that I have to stop watching it now.”

From McDonough, Ga.:
“I was trying to watch the Country Music Awards last night with my two children (8 and 10) when ABC kept running the commercial for Lost that comes on Wednesday night. The commercial showed and (sic) man and a woman in a steamy sex scene. They were standing up, kissing and pressed against each other while the man pulled the woman’s shirt off. They did not show nudity but you could see the sides of her breast. This is unacceptable for a commercial. They do this all the time. Desperate Housewives, Sex and the City, any other show. The commercials and entirely too racy for children. It doesn’t matter what children are watching. I try to make sure that my children are not exposed to sexual material as much as possible. It makes me sick that I cannot even let my children watch a regular, clean TV show because I have to be careful of the commercials.  signed .. concerned parent.”

From Durham, N.C.:
“Dear FCC: In all my 25+ years of TV watching, I have never been inspired t complain to you until tonight. ABC’s season finale of Lost employed a plot device that has become too common on today’s television: the feel-good murder. It’s time you put a stop to it: when Sawyer killed one of the others tonight with righteous indignation, justifying himself by saying this is for when you took the boy off the boat – he succeeded in befriending the entire viewing audience. No doubt, all of America agreed with him. The just sentence for so bizarre a kidnapping as we witnessed on the high seas during season one was the death penalty. Regardless of the fact that this particular ‘other’ was so merciful that he choose to disobey orders and NOT kill the three good guys who carried out the anti’other’ operation with dynamite explosions; what I am arriving at is the following conclusion: it’s one thing when the TV airways ALLUDE to killing, for the sake of plot development. But it’s quite another when the airwaves teach the masses how and when to kill in order to gain a pleasurable senses of justice. It is likely, unfortunately, that tonight’s television entertainment will encourage unnecessary violence in our society. Please enact and enforce regulations that will prevent such a misuse of the public airwaves.”

From Kissimmee, Fla.:
“I wish to register a complaint to you against the ABC Television' network. While I am aware the ‘so-called’ adult language on network television has become more crude (and. sad1y accepted, even by your commission) an incident has occurred that I  must bring to your attention. I was highly offended by it and I hope that your organization will see fit to look into it. On the September 29th episode of the new series "LOST" at about, 45 minutes into the show, the Iraqi character, Shahid, very clearly  says the word f..k.! I played it back several times and it is unmistakable.    My family and I were mortified. This, of course, is a new low in television. After hiking up a cliff to try to get better reception for an airplane transponder this character is shocked and amazed when. the radio sudden1y comes to life. It is at this time when he utters ‘f..k!" I am certain that there are a hundred words or phrases that would have been appropriate other than that ·vulgarity. I have personally erased the ABC network from all of my TV sets. I hope that you will look into this matter and show some fortitute (sic). The network should be held accountable and be fined to the fullest extent. If your Commission allows this to slip by, then you are nothing but a pawn to the entertainment industry. The majority of the public does not want  to hear
F . . k on its airwaves!  It is unacceptab1e! ! !”

From Norfolk, Mass.:
“I wish to file a complaint against the ABC network for indecency. On January 12, 2005 at 8 p.m. ET, ABC (via affiliate WCVB channel 5 in Boston) aired the show Lost. During the broadcast a male character and his legal sister were shown French kissing and it was implied that they had sex. My wife, myself and my 8 yr old daughter were (up until last night) fans of this show and watched it weekly. We were disgusted that ABC would air such immoral filth during a family viewing time knowing full well that many children are fans of Lost. I demand that ABC be fined and be reprimanded for this outrage; I am confident that you will come down on ABC and punish them with a hefty fine. Please let us know if you have any questions."

Sometimes, truth is indeed stranger than fiction. Just sayin’.