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Hornswaggle is an alternate spelling of hornswoggle, an archaic word that means to bamboozle or hoodwink. I take my pronunciation from the late Harvey Korman in "Blazing Saddles" --

"I want rustlers, cutthroats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, conmen, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswagglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass kickers, shit kickers and Methodists!"

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Lost again

In my post yesterday I mentioned the online game the "Lost" producers have put together and how it's annoying and time-consuming to follow all the developments. Thanks to Lostpedia, a Wikipedia site set up exclusively for "Lost," I've caught up on most of it.

Though it's described as a plot that runs parallel to the central developments on the island, it's critical to understanding, in my opinion, the overarching dealio.

The whole game revolves around the Hanso Foundation, which is the group, supposedly dedicated to advanced scientific research on the most "pressing problems" facing the human race, that provided the original funding for the Dharma Initiative in 1970, but which, if you're to believe a fictitious spokesman for Hanso, discontinued that funding in 1987, around the time an "incident" of some sort that occurred there.

The foundation was created and run by Alvar Hanso, who is billed as being a groundbreaking philanthropist etc. What the "Lost" online game is suggesting is that Hanso may have gone missing and may, in fact, have been usurped by his "heir apparent," an evidently unscrupulous researcher named Dr. Thomas Mittelwerk, who seems to be the kind of doctor who would have felt right at home at the Dachau Konzentrationslager.

"Lost" junkies are theorizing: Is either Hanso or Mittelwerk actually on the island? Is Mittelwerk the "Him" to whom the Others refer?

One point here. The Hanso Foundation is engaging in life-extension research. It's quite possible that Hanso himself is a subject in that research, because he is getting up there in age. (Hanso first "made his mark," according to his "Lost" bio, providing weapons for the resistance movement during World War II. Let's say that he was 30 years old in 1940. That would make him 96 now and yet, until he purportedly went missing, he was still actively running his companies.)

Incidentally, keep in mind that Dharma is just one of many projects that Hanso is funding/developing.

Okay, so then there is Charles Widmore, the father of Penelope, the ex-fiance of Desmond. Penelope is theorized to be a "Persephone," a character in the online game who is trying to expose Hanso's evil doings. Widmore's company, Widmore Corporation, is a far-reaching and extremely powerful multinational corporation that, among other things, is known to have researched new and exciting ways to reinforce concrete. Lostpediates have theorized, and it seems pretty much dead-on, that Widmore was tasked with building the hatches and bunkers on the island, especially in light of Sayid's observation that he had never seen reinforced concrete like the stuff in the hatch that blocked the electromagnetic Oopsy area.

Widmore may also be making a power play related to Hanso. Perhaps he is intrigued by what he knows of the island. For instance, if his company was called in following the "incident" to shore up the hatch, then he would have had the opportunity to learn about some of the island's unusual properties and may have decided to try to harness the dark side of the force, as it were.

Here is my guess as to how the Hanso situation is unfolding. Hanso himself evokes someone like Robert Oppenheimer, Mr. A-Bomb, a well-meaning scientist fellow who wound up dabbling in the scientific black arts. My guess is he is a "good guy" who has made mistakes, gone too far, made a Faustian bargain of sorts. His institution was such that, with just the right push, it could swing from performing advanced yet ethically questionable research to being downright naughty. Mittelwerk and Widmore are the two main culprits here.

Here's another thought. Let's operate on the presumption that Hanso is possessed of a conscience. When the "incident" occurs on the island, he says, "that's it," and stops funding the program. Perhaps less scrupulous people thought this was a bad idea. (Was the "incident" an accident or deliberate sabotage? We have no way of knowing, but it will go a long way towards explaining what's going on.)

Also, I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this, but don't forget about Korea. Paik Heavy Industries, a Korean mega-corporation, figures prominently in the Hanso story, along with Widmore Corp., and it seems quite likely that Paik himself is none other than Sun's father (for whom Jin worked). There are other hints at the big role the Korea connection could play; for example, there is the fact that the logo of the Swan (the hatch) contains some of the same I-Ching symbols as the Korean flag. (Also, Korea makes sense geographically. We can kind of triangulate where the island is, somewhere in the South Pacific, based upon the clues we've gotten. It would put the put the island not far from (relatively speaking) South Korea, to the south and east.)

Okay. Also in the online game, we learn of a 105-year-old orangutan named Joop who is presented by Hanso as proof that its life-extension project works. Related to that is the apparent outbreak in Tanzania of a bacterial disease that crossed the ape-human barrier and appears to have originated from a Hanso station on the island of Zanzibar. (You see, this plot isn't complicated at all.)

This gives us some kind of an idea of what the "sickness" is on the island that the Others are so preoccupied with innoculating themselves against. (Here's the thing though: Rousseau's description of the sickness hints not at a mere illness but a kind of personality transformation, more like the virus that turns people into flesh-eating zombies in "28 Days Later." I'm not saying zombies are involved, just that I'm holding out that whatever the "sickness" is, it doesn't just kill you, it makes you dangerous to those who are uninfected in a more sinister way.)

Also, at this point I'm convinced that the "whispers" on the island are related to the parapsychological research that took place under the Dharma Initiative. It's something between ESP and a haunting. (If that pins it down for you.)

I've mentioned all of this and I still haven't gotten to "Bad Twin," a fictitious novel that was writte as part of the show that relates to the Hanso Foundation. There are suggestions relating to the book that Sawyer or Locke could be a long-lost member of the Widmore family.

Basically, if it weren't for the people contributing to Lostpedia, who have the time to compile all this stuff for the rest of us who, like, have jobs, there would be a number of "Lost" fans who would want to have J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse killed right now.

.: posted by hornswaggler 9:45 AM

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