Lost in Estonia
Arvamus 26 May 2010  EWR
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Kristopher Rikken, Blue, Black and White Alert
I have barely even finished watching season 4 of Lost, so please don't tell me what doesn't happen, and take into consideration that this allegory may be imperfect.

Estonia, says my friend on FB, IS the island, and he made a persuasive case. This guy, who, for what it's worth, will one day kayak around all 8 continents and whom I'm sure I remember from somewhere, has a point, and he's not the first to go down this path. The name of a e-zine which didn't pan out, Baltlantis, brilliantly encapsulated this quality from another, pre-Lost perspective.

Estonia as the Island... It may seem a consolation for an elusive ending, or obvious, and it may be breaking the Rules to put it out there like this, but it's tantalizing to consider the evidence.

First of all, Estonia doesn't really show up on cultural radar or maps. Have you noticed? This extends to all attempts to represent the country. Statistically improbably, we have had more foul-ups (15 of them) with the national flag being raised wrong at international ceremonies than any other country; and more than any other region, the country's outlines on newspaper maps are often distorted, there might as well be a permanent watermark over it reading "not quite to scale", or even "mappa mundi".

No matter how many Financial Times profiles are run about Estonia's economic success, you will still get a blank look from most ordinary people -- I don't mean uneducated schmoes but people on the ground in the US who have real jobs and participate in the real economy. More than 16 years after the country got normal Western banks, I still follow an elaborate set of personal superstitions whenever I arrive back in the hopes that the rental car company will not recognize my credit card as a debit card or as not being issued yet.

Not to belabor the point, but if you tell someone that cafes in Estonia had WiFi a full 2-3 years before the US, back when libraries in the US still required you to sign up for time slots and show your ID, people will look at you funny. I have this slip of paper from the earlier part of the decade reading, "Estonia had WiFi before the US. No matter what happens, this is true. Remember this. K". I don't remember writing it anymore.

Go on at any greater length about Estonia and it's not out of the question you will get committed in an old-school mental ward -- certainly this is true when travelling in Russia.


So, if you wanted to hide a island, disappear a country, or an El Dorado, or bottle an evil spirit, you wouldn't put it in an exotic location like the South Pacific where it would be tourist-infested in no time flat, though I do see the wisdom in an obscure location in Indonesia. No, you would put it in a backwater, some arm of a shallow quasi-inland sea, where a guy on a boat could barely see the land over the tops of the reeds.

Come to think of it, this whole region -- sort of like a Europe-Ext. or auxiliary Europe -- is so convenient, it facilitates later additions. In much the same way as the geography of Lost is somewhat open-ended, accommodating ancient temples, you could create a whole new town somewhere in south central Estonia and you could claim that it was there all along, and probably get away with it.

We're wired, but almost too wired. You could go days without talking with a living person in Estonia, just punching numbers into a computer that there is no data anchor. A slogan for Estonia could be: Small enough to fake. Multiply surprising.

As for Dharma, well, as we know, Estonia was pretty much deprived a true hippie era by the Soviets . We had an AM radio garage band sort of 1960s at best, followed immediately by the bad hairstyles and fashions of the decades that followed. Still, the Soviets are like the Dharma Initiative in so many ways, basically putting the island -- I mean, Estonia -- in a deep freeze for years, keeping some lush nature unspoiled, while they erected hatches and ugly pylons in other places to keep themselves safe in an uneasy truce with the indigenes.

But does Estonia even exist, or are we all dead? Säästumarket is probably hell. A grey April 23 can be hell. Is it Hell?

And if it's Hell, why can I get to Tunisia anytime without booking a charter flight and with no more trouble than an occasional nosebleed? Why are local tour operators going bankrupt -- they could really run with this technology?

Anyway, most of this is blitheringly obvious. Some of it is also idle speculation of the kind aristocratic intellectuals used to engage in. Is it a door or a perception of a door? I don't know, pal -- hit the door with your fist.

But I find the curious coincidences and synchronicity irresistible.

While researching local alternative newspapers back in March, I came across pictures of Giustino and Mingus wearing Soviet-issue jumpsuits participating in a cornerstone laying for a Karksi-Nuia cultural centre in the 1970s. I knew there was something suspicious about how those two picked up Estonian. It was faster than Jin's English improvement in the actual Lost. And Giustino is always talking about returning.

Then there's AnTyx, who goes one better than Ricardo Alpert -- he seems to have reverse-aged while the rest of us put on extra pounds and wear and tear. Think about it indeed. I look like I'm 41 or 42 thanks to life in Estonia, while this mysterious consigliere figure is pulling a Benjamin Button. Who is he? Who is responsible for manipulating these players? Who put Estonia where it was, and why?

Watch the video again, is all I can say.

Visit Blue, Black and White Alert regularly here: http://www.camprikken.blogspot...
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