May 14th, 2003

rivka as ww

Shallow thoughts

The Truth is out there, but so are secrets.

Does that sound as weird to you as it does to me? SV has this anvilicious opposition going on: Truth/secrets. To me, two more fit oppositions have been mushed together: truth/lies and knowledge/secrets, or perhaps exposure/secrets. Clark doesn’t always need to lie to protect his secrets. Sometimes he just shrugs, fails to explain, and accepts the consequences. It’s his unwillingness to do that with Lex that’s getting him into hotter and hotter water. The writers seem to have fallen into what I think is a logical fallacy – all lies are a kind of secret, so all secrets are a kind of lie. That is, frankly, a frighteningly totalitarian concept.

I can see why Lex would believe it, though, especially since he doesn’t feel any need for reciprocity. It’s nice to be the man behind the curtain, all-seeing and never seen, but it’s not so nice to be observed. (Insert here discussion of “the gaze” and the subject, Laura Mulvey-style, and the oddity of the pure object Lana insisting on being the one to see. Is that going to be her fatal flaw? I have the sinking feeling she’s going to end up being punished for wanting to use that pedestal to see a little better.)

Lana says people who are close shouldn’t have secrets from each other, and maybe the truth/secrets opposition is intended to be limited to people in intimate relations. I’m still uneasy about that. I think there’s room for a little mystery in the human or Kryptonian heart. Also, truth is different from knowledge, which implies understanding. That Lana wants truth makes her less appealing to me than Lex, who wants knowledge. On the other hand, knowledge seems much more susceptible to misuse than truth, and I can see why giving Lana the truth is a lot safer than giving Lex the knowledge. Truth can reveal secrets, but knowledge can exploit them.

Knowledge/secrets is traditionally a gendered opposition, written on the body as it were; truth/lies is somewhat less so unless we look to overt misogyny. I’m not sure how that fits in, but I have a feeling that it does.

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Also, Farscape. It’s neat to find a good show that doesn’t demonize or erase the father. John Crichton’s relationship with his father isn’t exactly smooth, but it is loving and he didn’t start out his journey broken. I’m really enjoying watching the show in order, though my TiVo is groaning with all the stored episodes.

Mary Ellen, would you be willing to take another hack at "Tempest"? I've added a bunch and, I hope, improved the ending.