The Nothing Curriculum
Just when you thought reality-TV had sucked the life out of your every brain cell, the creators of the TV show “Lost” figure out a way to wring out the last drop. They think of it as a way to keep the show’s cult following intellectually engaged. It’s called Lost University, a virtual college whose curriculum delves into various academic fields woven into the show’s plot lines, and features professors from U.S.C. and U.C.L.A. Current offerings include PHI 101: I’m Lost Therefore I Am (taught by three philosophy professors), PHY 101: Introductory Physics of Time Travel (taught by one CalTech researcher and two physics professors), HIS 101: Ancient Writing on the Wall (taught by a Professor and a PhD student who specialize in Egyptian hieroglyphics), and SCI 101: Jungle Survival Basics (taught by the cast and crew of the show, who are no doubt “experts” in such matters). Students are assigned rigorous reads on topics like quantum physics, the works of ancient philosophers, and such titillating page-turners as Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why. You can’t make this stuff up. But what about a primer in medical science for ER fans? A bit of history about the Korean War to explain old M*A*S*H episodes? Or explain American frontier living for Little House on the Prairie? Parse issues of race and poverty with Good Times? Investigate astronomy and space exploration à la Star Trek? Alas, the number one on the list of the top-50 shows of all time, Seinfeld, leaves us scratching our heads…with nothing.
“Lost University Aims to Help Fans Find the Way,” by Patrick Kevin Day, LA Times, December 8, 2009
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