Open Levinson

Paul Levinson's Open Salon Blog

Paul Levinson

Paul Levinson
Location
New York City, New York, USA
Birthday
March 25
Title
Professor
Company
Fordham University
Bio
Paul Levinson's The Silk Code won the 2000 Locus Award for Best First Novel. He has since published Borrowed Tides (2001), The Consciousness Plague (2002), The Pixel Eye (2003), The Plot To Save Socrates (2006), Unburning Alexandria (2013), and Chronica (2014) - the last three known as the "Sierra Waters trilogy". His science fiction and mystery short stories have been nominated for Nebula, Hugo, Edgar, and Sturgeon Awards. His eight nonfiction books, including The Soft Edge (1997), Digital McLuhan (1999), Realspace (2003), Cellphone (2004), New New Media (2009, 2013) have been the subject of major articles in the New York Times, Wired, the Christian Science Monitor, and have been translated into twelve languages. Paul Levinson has appeared on "The O'Reilly Factor" (Fox News), "The CBS Evening News," the “NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” (PBS), “Nightline” (ABC), and numerous national and international TV and radio programs. His 1972 album, Twice Upon a Rhyme, was re-issued in 2010. He reviews the best of television in his InfiniteRegress.tv blog, and was listed in The Chronicle of Higher Education's "Top 10 Academic Twitterers" in 2009. Paul Levinson is Professor of Communication & Media Studies at Fordham University in New York City

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MARCH 30, 2012 11:19PM

Fringe 4.16: Walter Likes Yiddish

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We learn in Fringe 4.16 that Walter's no fan of Sumerian - "not my favorite ancient language," he explains, "I prefer Yiddish."  Of course, Yiddish is a medieval language - a combination of ancient Hebrew and high German that arose in the shtetls in Europe, but zayr gut, anyway.  That's part of the charm of Walter.

By the way, maybe it was just my imagination, but did Walter look a little younger to you at the end of tonight's episode?  Just sayin'.   And Astrid looked different, too.

The story was a cool return visit to an episode from Season One, with a souped up DNA turning its carriers into porcupine creatures.  Tonight the bad guy behind this is David Robert Jones, which my wife realized is played by the same actor who plays Lane on Mad Men (Jared Harris).  Fine acting - two wildly different, excellently played characters.

Otherwise, Olivia is in danger of losing her job at the FBI - she's lost 40-percent of this season's (world with Peter erased after Reiden Lake) memories, and which the 10th Floor (FBI brass) finds an insufficient amount of the Olivia they hired.   By the end of the episode, Broyles nobly stands up for her, figuring that Olivia's better than 90% of the agents, so 40% of her is still a good number.  Admirable algebra.


But there's something about this, our world, minus Peter after the lake, to which Peter has now returned, which may still need a little explaining.   How come Peter's absence has changed so many things in the world, including all kinds of events with which he had nothing to do in the original world, such as, for example, Lincoln Lee being such a major character in this world that developed without Peter?


Wait a minute - maybe Peter did have something to do with Lee's prominence - Lee moved into the void that existed in Fringe in Peter's absence.  And the porcupine people - why did they take a different path in the without-Peter-world?  Because without Peter, without Peter and Walter as antagonists, Jones became more powerful. The indirect effects of Peter's absence being so great show how important Peter was in that world, in ways we didn't realize.

And so the shook-up kaleidoscope is gradually reassembling ....


Hey, check out my essay The Return of 1950s Science Fiction in Fringe in this new anthology



See also Fringe Returns for Season 4: Almost with Peter ... Fringe 4.2: Better and Worse Selves ... Fringe 4.3: Sanity and Son ... Fringe 4.4: Peter's Back, Ectoplasm, and McLuhan ... Fringe 4.5: Double Return ... Fringe 4.6: Time Slips ... Fringe 4.7: The Invisible Man ... Fringe 4.8: The Ramifications of Transformed Alternate Realities ... Fringe 4.9: Elizabeth ... Fringe 4.10: Deceit and Future Vision ... Fringe 4.11: Alternate Astrid ... Fringe 4.12: Double Westfield / Single Olivia ... Fringe 4.13: Tea and Telepathy ... Fringe 4.14: Palimpsest ... Fringe 4.15: I Knew It!

See also Fringe 3.1: The Other Olivia ... Fringe 3.2: Bad Olivia and Peter ... Fringe 3.3: Our/Their Olivia on the Other Side ... Fringe 3.5: Back from Hiatus, Back from the Amber ... Fringe 3.7: Two Universes Still Nearing Collision ... Fringe 3.8: Long Voyages Home ... Fringe 3.10: The Return of the Eternal Bald Observers ... Flowers for Fringenon in Fringe 3.11 ... Fringe 3.12: The Wrong Coffee  ... Fringe 3.13: Alternate Fringe ... Fringe 3.14: Amber Here ... Fringe 3.15: Young Peter and Olivia ... Fringe 3.16: Walter and Yoko ... Fringe 3.17: Bell, Olivia, Lee, and the Cow ... Fringe 3.18: Clever Walternate ... Fringe 3.19 meets Inception, The Walking Dead, Tron ... Fringe 3.20: Countdown to Season 3 Finale 1 of 3 ... Fringe 3.21:  Ben Frankin, Rimbaldi, and the Future ... Fringe Season 3 Finale: Here's What Happened ... Death Not Death in Fringe 
 
See also reviews of Season 2: Top Notch Return of Fringe Second Season ... Fringe 2.2 and The Mole People ... Fringe 2.3 and the Human Body as Bomb ... Fringe 2.4 Unfolds and Takes Wing ... Fringe 2.5: Peter in Alternate Reality and Wi-Fi for the Mind ... A Different Stripe of Fringe in 2.6 ... The Kid Who Changed Minds in Fringe 2.7 ... Fringe 2.8: The Eternal Bald Observers ... Fringe 2.9: Walter's Journey ... Fringe 2.10: Walter's Brain, Harry Potter, and Flowers for Algernon ...  New Fringe on Monday Night: In Alternate Universe? ... Fringe 2.12: Classic Science Fiction Chiante ... Fringe 2.13: "I Can't Let Peter Die Again" ... Fringe 2.14: Walter's Health, Books, and Father ... Fringe 2.15: I'll Take 'Manhatan' ... Fringe 2.16: Peter's Story ... Fringe 2.17: Will Olivia Tell Peter? ... Fringe 2.18: Strangeness on a Train ... Fringe 2.19: Two Plus Infinity ... Fringe the Noir Musical ... Fringe 2.21: Bring on the Alternates ... Fringe 2.22:  Tin Soldiers and Nixon Coming ... Fringe Season 2 Finale: The Switch

See also reviews of Season One Fringe Begins ... Fringe 2 and 3: The Anthology Tightrope ... 4: The Eternal Bald Observer ... 7: A Bullet Can Scramble a Dead Brain's Transmission ... 8. Heroic Walter and Apple Through Steel ... 9. Razor-Tipped Butterflies of the Mind ... 10. Shattered Pieces Come Together Through Space and Times ... 11. A Traitor, a Crimimal, and a Lunatic ... 12, 13, 14: Fringe and Teleportation ... 15: Fringe is Back with Feral Child, Pheromones, and Bald Men ... 17. Fringe in New York, with Oliva as Her Suspect ... 18. Heroes and Villains across Fringe ... Stephen King, Arthur C. Clarke, and Star Trek in Penultimate Fringe ... Fringe Alternate Reality Finale: Science Fiction At Its Best


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The Plot to Save Socrates

"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book




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