Lost and Found

Vanity Fair currently has a book excerpt on Lost and The Untold Story of the Hit Show’s Poisonous Culture. The article calls out my friend Damon Lindelof and hints at racism in the making of the show. For his part, Damon admits failures on the set. People should tell their stories and share their experiences, but I worry when it seems like we’re spending less of our energy fighting the opponents of civil rights and more on allies in that fight who aren’t always perfect (and apologize when they’re not). Freud called this the narcissism of small differences, which is “the idea that the more a relationship or community shares commonalities, the more likely the people in it are to engage in interpersonal feuds and mutual ridicule because of hypersensitivity to minor differences perceived in each other.” Just this week, the right wing, BudLight-fearing mob is targeting Chick-fil-A (“a fast food restaurant they’ve often supported in the past given its Christian roots and its prior donations to anti-LGBTQ groups”) because of their crime of appointing a VP of diversity, equity, and inclusion. In short, we’ve got bigger fish to fry (and bigger chicks to fil-a). Second, any mention of Damon Lindelof’s connection to issues of race should by default mention his much more recent show, Watchmen, that focused on the 1921 Tulsa Massacre. As one of show’s stars, Regina King, explained, for many, this “was the first time they heard about Black Wall Street and had no idea that our opening depicted the [real] Tulsa Massacre which had not been taught in US history classes.”

If someone’s going to read the above book excerpt from Vanity Fair, I’d ask that they also read this excerpt from my book, Please Scream Inside Your Heart.

My favorite of the 2020 Emmy winners was Watchmen. First, because my friend Damon Lindelof created an amazing show and helped bring awareness of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre to a broader audience as we entered a year when people would pour into the streets demanding racial justice. And second, because I was able to share a very important review with him.
My brother-in-law Douglass Fitch happened to see some Watchmen fan art I had purchased for my son and said, ‘Oh, I love that show.’ He told me that during one of his monthly meetings with a group of fellow Black pastors, the group’s organizer advised all the attendees to go home, get HBO, and start watching Watchmen because it was one of the first shows that told the story of Tulsa and really got race right. Doug was especially interested because his mother survived the massacre as a child and had shared stories with him over the years.

When the pandemic hit, Damon sent Doug one of the yellow gaiters worn by some of the Watchmen characters, and Doug wore it as his viral protection throughout the year.

Making Watchmen doesn’t make Damon a hero, but making mistakes as a much younger showrunner on Lost doesn’t make him a villain, either. There are plenty of those to focus on.

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