Leonard Cohen vs. the Smoke Monster from Lost

National Magazine award-winner Kaitlin Fontana is regular contributor to Hazlitt, where...

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Sometimes seemingly disparate parts of our culture intersect. These intersections are not meaningless. In fact, they might be the only thing that means anything. This week’s Venn:

Remember 2004? A lot happened, mainly in American politics. You’d be forgiven if all you remember from 2004 is Bush’s re-election and the word “insurgency.” 

Also in 2004? Leonard Cohen released his next to last studio album, Dear Heather. And the television show Lost premiered on ABC.

Lost ended last year. And this summer, Leonard Cohen released Old Ideas. What do we take from this? We take pause, friends, and consider the Smoke Monster.

For the uninitiated, the Smoke Monster was a recurring “character” that appeared on the island and (spoiler alert!) wrecked the place, slayed folks, and showed people images of their past. No one knows what it was, only that it was powerful and could ruin you. 

Does this not sound like Leonard Cohen’s music, particularly after a breakup or when you have drunk a lot of whiskey? Or both? And don’t forget the convenient Clark Kent/Superman absence of new Cohen music when Lost was on the air. The show ends, and he reappears (with a single called “Darkness”. Ooh). Think about it. 

And if you’re going to mention Cohen’s 2010 tour or his high-profile legal battles, to you I say: even a Smoke Monster’s gotta pay the bills. 


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