January 4, 2017

The OA, Haiti and NDE's

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.

7 comments

  1. Surely "Sleeping Beauty" can be thought of as a story about a near-death -- or certainly deathlike -- experience.

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    1. Yes! Agreed. I was hoping someone would mention it.

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  2. I haven't seen this, but I will check it out. Thanks!

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    1. I'd love to know what you think. It's getting a lot of buzz.

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  3. I loved the show (even if I giggled every time interpretive dance reared its head). Marling's stuff always makes me think. I'm considering your question regarding brunette ethereal/angelic types. I think Michaela Conlin as Angela Montenegro on Bones would qualify. Alicia Vikander in several roles--her physicality is often very delicate because of her dance background. Same with Summer Glau except she's normally shown being an asskicker in addition to fragile (but Prairie had her moments of toughness). Jaimie Alexander in Blindspot and Megan Boone in The Blacklist: both these women play law enforcement yet they have a "take care of me" vibe running underneath. Juliet Landau as Drusila way back in Buffy and Amy Acker in Angel/Dollhouse also, I think, qualify. :)

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    1. I'm so old. I only really know about Drusilla. I will love Buffy forever. It's one of the greatest shows ever. Perhaps Anya is an example of a not-blond type who is strong, yet ethereal. I know she's not wispy, and her hair was not exactly dark, but she's a bit of the type.

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    2. Agree about Buffy. The first three seasons can stand against any show ever for quality programming. Anya had every color hair LOL, so you're good. I didn't count gals who would be called sassy or spunky before angelic LOL but if I had Ksenia Solo on Lost Girl would count.

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