Have you watched the sometimes trippy, sometimes baffling, but intriguing Netflix show The OA?
I did. My husband gave it one episode and gave it a pass. I completely unfairly accused him of not liking entertainment with a woman protagonist. So I watched the rest of the episodes myself. It was decidedly strange, often silly (those dance moves), but occasionally unsettling in a good way.
Warning: Spoilers below.
The fact that the protagonist was a delicate looking blonde woman was a bit eye roll inducing. I'm not against blonds. My son-in-law is blond. I have a lot of (fake) blond in my hair. But if you know of any brunette, delicate, ethereal angelic types in popular media, please tell me.
Also, while there are some essential nonwhite cast members (which is great!) there are NO African-American people on the show until we see a black high school kid speak at almost the very last minute of the the whole series. This I found irritating. The story took place in the US. There are over 70 million people who are at least partly African American here in this country. Apparently I was not the only person who noticed. There's an excellent essay on the whole unbearable whiteness of being in The OA on io9. But the essay, by Evan Narcisse is about far more than The OA. It also explores a spiritual experience he witnessed many years ago. Just read it. Here it is:
Narcisse's story takes place in Haiti, although he is a New Yorker. In it, he mentions a book he devoured in college: When Night Falls: Kric Krac--Haitian Folktales. It seems like it is expensive and hard to find, but Narcisse is a good writer, so if he liked it, it's worth looking for. Here are the Amazon details: http://tinyurl.com/z3kykzn
Back to The OA. What really grabbed me about the show was that Near Death Experiences, or NDE's, are a very important element in the story. So I started reading about them. The scientific evidence is sketchy, but the fact is, since resuscitation and other forms of bringing people "back from the (near) dead" are very common nowadays, they have also been around since well before the advent of modern medicine.
I'll admit it: I'm now fascinated by NDE's. I'll be 55 in a few weeks. You start wondering about this kind of thing at my age.
So I wondered, are there Near Death Experiences in fairy tales? I can think of at least one: Snow White essentially dies three times and is revived. I wonder what she saw when she was dead. Apple trees? Angels? White light? Her deadbeat, out-of-the picture father?
And what about "The Juniper Tree"? If you don't know it, I won't spoil it, but you can find it HERE: http://tinyurl.com/d9pnfvb
Can you think of any others? Have you seen The OA? Do you know anyone who has had an NDE? Are they worth discussing? What did you think of Narcisse's story?
I want to read what you think!
Image is of Brit Marling who co-created The OA and stars in it, as Prairie.