Saturday, January 6, 2007

Quit Callin' Me James (Sweet Baby James, James Taylor)

Back when I started watching LOST, Sawyer immediately emerged as the apparent antagonist. It seemed Abrams and the gang were gearing us up for a Lord of the Flies-style showdown between Jack and Sawyer. But I wasn't buying it. I just knew there had to be more to Sawyer than met the eye, so I was gratified that it didn't take long at all for him to emerge as a sympathetic character boasting a number of surprising traits, among them his linguistic cleverness and tendency to be a bookworm. He became so likable, in fact, that a recent poll asking fans their favorite male character showed Sawyer way out in front with twice as many votes as any of the other fellas. I won't go that far, but I like Sawyer. I think he's a really good guy despite his best attempts to convince us otherwise.

He reminds me a lot of Han Solo. There's the fact that two of the nicknames he gives out are not only Star Wars related, but close personal associates of Han, but beyond that there is just his whole self-centered, cynical persona that gradually melts into consideration and heroism as the saga wears on, largely due to Kate. On that score, their last scene together in the fall finale gave me a major flashback to the Empire Strikes Back carbonite deep-freeze scene that unsettled me so greatly as a youngster. I don't know whether that sense of deja vu was intended; I do know that I like it but will begin to severely question the writers' creativity should Jack suddenly turn out to be Kate's long-lost brother.

Anyway, this parody is another that has to do with pseudonyms. I love Locke, but he's a bit of a busybody, albeit well-intentioned. Landing upon this island has allowed him to embrace his true nature, and he wants everyone else to throw off the ugliness that built up in their lives up to the point of the crash, to start off with a clean slate. Of all the characters, he seems to have the least interaction with Sawyer. I don't think this is an accident; Sawyer does not want to be mentored, and I would think he would find it very irritating that Locke insists upon calling him by his birth name rather than the moniker he deliberately appropriated for himself. So this is the protest I imagine Sawyer launching.

Though I didn't really think about it at the time, I like the fact that I settled on a lullaby - Sweet Baby James - for this parody, since in some sense it is indicative of the fact that Sawyer's bark is usually worse than his bite...

Quit Callin' Me James

I live like an outlaw. That's not gonna change.
I won't save the day like a Samwise or d'Artagnan.
I'm bound to betray all of my closest companions.
With what I've been through... well, that shouldn't seem strange.

So don't act surprised that you've found I'm a liar.
My crimes are as big as these glasses I wear.
And some fresh horizon won't spark a desire
To start acting selfless. See, I just don't care.
But just in case you're not aware...

How can a guy be shady
With Mr. Clean calling 'im James?
I have no use for this kind of abuse,
Though I'm eager to dole out nicknames.
I'm Sawyer; quit callin' me James!

I don't wanna remember that night long ago
When my life was ruined. From then on, I've figgered
What to do when I'm cornered is just make my cons bigger.
Can't leave that behind me; I'm just warmin' up, you know.

There's a con that I pulled to grab hold of a fortune,
A con that I pulled on a gal who loved me,
A con that I pulled for the guns... Oh, I'm sure
Freckles may have a secret or two up her sleeve,
But she ain't got nothin' on me.

But how can a guy be shady
With Mr. Clean calling 'im James?
I have no use for this kind of abuse,
Though I'm eager to dole out nicknames.
I'm Sawyer; quit callin' me James!

Sweet Baby James

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