'Lost' (S5): Name theory
Doc Jensen dives into a quest for the hidden meaning of Island-related monikers: Dan Norton, Jughead, C.S. (Charlotte Staples) Lewis, and John Wheeler. Plus, your names -- when you sign reader mail, which the Doc answers here
Editor’s note: In this installment, Doc Jensen offers an invocation for the new season of Lost theorizing; suggests that the Greek god Pan, whose name means ”involving all members” and whose two faun feet total four toes, might have something to with ”Live Together, Die Alone” thematics and other arcana; and finds a possible Lost link for Dan Norton (played by Tom Irwin, a.k.a. Angela’s dad on [sigh] My So-Called Life), the lawyer who demanded Aaron’s blood from Kate.
In Lost, names mean something. So when the season premiere included a fleeting scene involving a new character who made a point of identifying himself, I began searching the Web for ”Dan Norton” in hopes of unearthing a connection to Lost. But after a few weeks, the best I could do was find a comic artist named Dan Norton who has such a wide array of credits, one of them was bound to have something in common with a time-travel TV show with a blood-seeking lawyer. (Vampire By Night, perhaps?) I wasn’t satisfied, so I kept digging, and just when I was about to quit, I stumbled upon a 1952 academic tome called Classical Myths in English Literature, co-authored by…Dan S. Norton. More than that, my Google search took me to one page in particular, and I was electrified by a sense of Eureka! discovery. It was like stumbling across a hidden hatch in the middle of the jungle and finding my purpose inside.
Now, to be clear, I don’t quite understand all of the following passage, mostly because it involves poetry, and Doc Jensen doesn’t do poetry that well. But the rest of it seems to make sense for a show that traffics in allusions and Easter egg clues both highbrow and lowbrow. So consider it my eye-rollingly pretentious, smarter-than-I-really-am, but passionate and well-intentioned invocation for a new season of earnest (yet not-so-serious) Lost decoding. And I dedicate this following excerpt from Norton’s book to Joley ”Nick Fury” Wood, who does this stuff better than anyone. Persevere, my friend.
”Many readers or students of poetry in this latter day undoubtedly consider the use of Greek myth by English poets merely an annoyance. A poet’s references to unfamiliar and rather absurd tales and persons as if they were known to every reader may serve to exhibit his erudition, but they are a hindrance to the full enjoyment of his poetry. Either they interrupt the music until they can get themselves explained, or they are passed over and discounted as unintelligible. Or so it may seem.
NEXT PAGE: The great god Pan is dead!