Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return

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starmand
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Re: Lynch, Frost and women

Postby starmand » Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:31 am

Troubbble wrote:
starmand wrote:I was of the mind that folks might be getting too wound up about its treatment of women as compared to the rest of the series. But after reading the frankly sickening responses in the other topic, I'm not sure. If people can watch David Lynch's work and still come away with the mindset that "PC culture is terrible" and "SJWs are ruining the world," then I have to wonder if the violence he portrays against women (which I've always found to be decidedly not glorified and presented through a somewhat feminist lens) might actually be as irresponsible as some critics claim it to be. Perhaps it's not worth putting art like that into the world if one runs the risk of firing up these egoistic man-children with their "politics have no place in art" diatribes, who seem utterly incapable of discussing the merits of a work through any sort of social filter except their own (which they conveniently pretend does not exist). Typical white male positioning white maleness as the "default" ideological position and anyone else bringing their lens to it is "politicizing" a work.


This rant is misguided on MANY levels. Embarrassing.


Let me get this straight: gender analysis was moved to its own thread so you didn't have to look at it. Then, you're coming into the thread that you don't want to look at and continuing to antagonize the discussion in here? Or perhaps you think you're adding to the discussion by calling my "rant" "embarrassing." (Who's embarrassed in this scenario?)

As has been repeated ad nauseam, art is political, it exists in the world, and critiquing Lynch's work through the lens of gender is about as "on topic" as you can get. I'm not the one who brought PC culture and "SJWs" into the discussion, those clown comics in the other thread did. I was merely responding with frustration to what I saw as a capitulation by the mods.
Cipher
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Re: Lynch, Frost and women

Postby Cipher » Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:50 am

Little responses and clarifications:

whoisalhedges wrote:OK - "Without seeing the complete picture" - THIS is fair. Someone, on the other thread (I think it was Cipher), talked about part 10 being upsetting "in a vacuum" specifically. It remains to be seen what'll come of it.

"In a vacuum" was never a phrase I used (I generally see that brought up to say that art does not exist within a vacuum, and that it offers commentary whether it wants to or not), but yes, I have been careful to stress that The Return isn't over, and it may find a way to justify its largely uneven gender portrayal yet, even for those who don't feel it quite works. That's one of the reasons I really didn't want it split out of the episode 10 thread; conversation can only tackle how it's operated for its first ten hours, as highlighted by that particular tenth.

3) Part 10 is my favorite episode so far. Yep. Even with all the abuse. Because I see a point to it, I think it's going somewhere. I am trusting Lynch and Frost to tell this story. I don't think the women harmed in this part suffered in vain (yes, I'm aware they are fictional characters ;) ), I think we're gonna see something more from Becky, maybe from Sylvia - and even poor Miriam might have a measure of comfort to come. I don't think there were any accidents in this show. The rapeyness of the Dougie/Janey-E scene was intentional - she didn't know he was... um, "compromised," he didn't know he wasn't actually her husband (which in turn would've made him a rapist by fraud) - I think this was a very deliberately scripted and shot almost-hour, that Coopie and Janey-E absolutely without the least intent did violence to each other, and despite that, ended the scene in a loving embrace, both much more joyful than they started. That Carl permitted violence to continue, that Johnny wanted, more than anything, to stop the brutal attack on his mom, but physically couldn't intervene.... It was not an easy part to watch; but I truly think that it WAS done respectfully and responsibly. Some people disagree, and that's fine - we won't really know where we stand until it's over.

To be fair, I don't think anyone has been arguing that the violence in part ten, or any other episode, is supposed to be easy to digest.

That Lynch and Frost are coming down on the idea of violence against women or showing it in a negative light was (hopefully!) never up for debate.

Whether they've sufficiently and honestly shown women outside of their being responses to that highlighted abuse is where some don't feel it's working. And it does feel like it's in a slightly odd spot right now where it, through its bleak portrayals, is saying women shouldn't have to exist as victims of abuse, but at the same time doesn't seem nearly as interested in portraying them when they don't. We're missing the windows into female-female friendships of the original run, or the close personal perspective of, say, Inland Empire, for this focus to feel totally honest or like it fully works.

So the question that came up in the other thread, as a response to the first ten hours, wasn't "Do Lynch and Frost think abuse is bad?" (they do!, and Lynch has put out some films that I agree are really successful in portraying this), but "Does that justify tying its female cast so consistently to abuse? Is that still honest, and does that actually work with the theme?"

Or at least that's always what I was trying to get at.

At the end of the day, maybe it does all work, but at the very least I sense it operating in a different mode in its gender portrayals than his films, and one that I feel at this point just slightly more reductive. But there are still eight hours to go and plenty that could be done.

On a different note, the Janey-E/Dougie scene is something I haven't even begun to work out my reaction to, but I like your commentary on it there!
Last edited by Cipher on Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
whoisalhedges
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return

Postby whoisalhedges » Wed Jul 19, 2017 8:33 am

They're in an admittedly tricky spot. Their original script would've been 9 episodes, they felt the need to flesh it out... and thus far, it's hard for a lot of us to see the benefits - that came out wrong. I think we are well on pace for TPTR to possibly be the best television series ever; it's just that I don't see where the plot has been doubled in length. Take out the bands, the Roadhouse sweeping scene (which I think are essential for pacing; I didn't care for part 7 until the broom appeared to slow down the exposition) and you cut like half an hour from what we've seen so far. Each minute is precious, they still have a lot of story to tell - and I'd like very much for the brutality we saw in part 10 to be "earned."

Maybe it won't be. I also see a certain "unified Lynch field theory" at play here, not that every detail has to be consistent, just that TPTR really is making me think that all of his films are in the same general universe - and in that, maybe the "earning" has been done elsewhere. Besides, as you know, nobody is saying that Lynch/Frost MUST "earn" it in any case. (I hate this phrase, but) It is what it is. And you can like it or not like it, and nobody *else* should be losing any sleep over what you or I or anyone not themselves thinks about the show.

I absolutely, FWIW, think your response (and mine) to the gendered violence in the episode was exactly what L&F intended. We were not supposed to be comfortable watching it, the Clockwork Orange callback in the Sylvia scene absolutely had me wondering how far he was going to take it; and in that - in that we did not "enjoy" these fucking scenes AT ALL, I think they were quite successful and effective.

Thinking of it that way, maybe 10 wasn't my "favorite" part, but maybe I consider it the "best" so far (taking 8 out of the discussion; they're all referred to as "parts" rather than "episodes," but part 8 really exists on its own level; and I don't think my silly opinions of "favoritism" do justice to What It Is). I truly did love the aftermath of the sex scene; and I 100% think that Coop's "... love you" was more than an echo. Does he [i]really love[/i] Janey-E? Does he know her - let alone [i]himself[/i] - well enough yet? Pretty sure not. But he [b]remembers[/b] love. And love and fear open the doors.
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dustoff
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return

Postby dustoff » Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:16 am

Agent Earle wrote:"Gender analysis"... Yeah right.


Good grief. The level of irony that someone who...

--called for the discussion of gendered violence to be moved to another thread, so he wouldn't have to deal with it,
--is wary of being labeled a "serial sex slayer," because others have different opinions than him, and
--is referring to those he disagrees with as "maniacs" with "unhealthy obsessions,"

...is both accusing others of "reactionary" behavior and STILL trolling this (now-separated) thread, is OFF THE CHARTS.
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I'm the Muffin
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby I'm the Muffin » Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:18 am

anthoto1 wrote:Analyzing is not a problem, obviously. Analyzing a work of art with a political agenda and seeing it through this lense only is. It's very sad as it prevents these people for appreciating these works for what they really are as they're trying to make them look as they want them to be.


Yes, I think this is the crux of the matter. The show isn't interested in whether or not, for example, a character like Candie has 'agency'. That is a 3rd wave feminist preoccupation. The show is not better or worse for conforming to commodified social justice standards. The relevance of these issues, while maybe worth touching upon--well, their importance has been blown out of all proportion, to put it mildly.

Yes, it is political. I suspected, before the season aired, that the SJW crowd would inevitably watch the show through this lens, that Lynch would be scrutinised for how closely he conforms to recent trends in social correctness--but I actually expected the lack of 'diversity' to be the sticking point. I'm happily relieved to have not seen much of that--but instead we have this. It's a barrier to actual aesthetic discussion.
Agent Earle
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return

Postby Agent Earle » Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:26 am

dustoff wrote:
Agent Earle wrote:"Gender analysis"... Yeah right.


Good grief. The level of irony that someone who...

--called for the discussion of gendered violence to be moved to another thread, so he wouldn't have to deal with it,
--is wary of being labeled a "serial sex slayer," because others have different opinions than him, and
--is referring to those he disagrees with as "maniacs" with "unhealthy obsessions,"

...is both accusing others of "reactionary" behavior and STILL trolling this (now-separated) thread, is OFF THE CHARTS.


I've since removed my quoted post as I realized it's not worth it (it never is when it comes to certain types); I still think it's not, so let this be my final post on this subject (in light of this, your oblivious tirade just now isn't worthy of my correction). Good luck to you on your crusade!
Cipher
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby Cipher » Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:30 am

I'm the Muffin wrote:Yes, I think this is the crux of the matter. The show isn't interested in whether or not, for example, a character like Candie has 'agency'. That is a 3rd wave feminist preoccupation. The show is not better or worse for conforming to commodified social justice standards. The relevance of these issues, while maybe worth touching upon--well, their importance has been blown out of all proportion, to put it mildly.

Of course, no one in either this splinter thread or the original episode 10 one was critiquing Candie's agency. She doesn't have it, but you're right; her character doesn't need it. She's one of my favorite parts of the episode.

Since I had someone question this in the other thread as well -- my two favorite Lynch works, Eraserhead and Inland Empire, don't feature a female character with agency between them. They remain honest and affecting nevertheless, and that's part of how they operate.

The Return, however, taken as a work on its own, feels like it badly wants to be address the lack of agency women have, but also isn't interested in showing them outside of abuse. The collective pattern leads to a feeling that something isn't quite successful in a way no single instance does. At this point it feels like a blindspot that doesn't quite jive with its own goals.

Or at least that's my reading, with only the first ten parts to go on; I wish people would address the actual readings here rather than the straw-men of third-wave feminism they seem so intent on invoking.

Yes, it is political. I suspected, before the season aired, that the SJW crowd would inevitably watch the show through this lens, that Lynch would be scrutinised for how closely he conforms to recent trends in social correctness--but I actually expected the lack of 'diversity' to be the sticking point. I'm happily relieved to have not seen much of that--but instead we have this. It's a barrier to actual aesthetic discussion.

Who's doing this? Where? The show is concerned with gender, so people are going to focus on how its portrayals work. The fact that people seemingly can't view this fundamental part of how a piece works, let a lone a Lynch piece in particular, is more telling about social/political preoccupations to me than anything else.

Everything can be on the table except how the series operates in regard to one aspect of humanity Lynch's work, and The Return itself, have always kept a keen eye on. Why?
Last edited by Cipher on Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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I'm the Muffin
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby I'm the Muffin » Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:39 am

Cipher wrote:Of course, no one in either this splinter thread or the original episode 10 one was critiquing Candie's agency. She doesn't have it, but you're right; her character doesn't need it. She's one of my favorite parts of the episode.


Just an example--and one that I certainly have seen discussed. I could have said Becky, or Darya, etc. I'm talking about the general conversation surrounding the show, not that thread in particular.
Cipher
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby Cipher » Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:41 am

I'm the Muffin wrote:Just an example--and one that I certainly have seen discussed. I could have said Becky, or Darya, etc. I'm talking about the general conversation surrounding the show, not that thread in particular.

So why not do yourself and all of us a favor by addressing particular veins of discussion, rather than pulling third-wave feminism out of the ether? It's hard for anyone to engage with your post when it doesn't seem to engage with a specific conversation itself. That post basically just amounted to asking people to defend ideas they haven't really indicated they're interested in defending.

Or, if you have your own reading to offer on how The Return is operating with gender, and how it may or may not be working, offer that.

Edit -- I also fail to see how this can be a "barrier to aesthetic discussion" (whatever that means, removed from one of the work's principle fascinations), when it's already been shunted off from the main threads to protect everyone's sensibilities.
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I'm the Muffin
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby I'm the Muffin » Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:49 am

Cipher wrote:
I'm the Muffin wrote:Just an example--and one that I certainly have seen discussed. I could have said Becky, or Darya, etc. I'm talking about the general conversation surrounding the show, not that thread in particular.

So why not do yourself and all of us a favor by addressing particular veins of discussion, rather than pulling third-wave feminism out of the ether? It's hard for anyone to engage with your post when it doesn't seem to engage with a specific conversation itself.

Or, if you have your own reading to offer on how The Return is operating with gender, and how it may or may not be working, offer that.


It's not 'in the ether', it's splattered all over the place. It's not hard for you to engage with my post, it's hard for you to find a short-cut to dismissing it--e.g. my happening to mention Candie as an example. Anyway, I've said my piece, I don't want to contribute to this vortex any further.
Cipher
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby Cipher » Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:56 am

I'm the Muffin wrote:It's not 'in the ether', it's splattered all over the place. It's not hard for you to engage with my post, it's hard for you to find a short-cut to dismissing it--e.g. my happening to mention Candie as an example. Anyway, I've said my piece, I don't want to contribute to this vortex any further.

You popped into this thread under the pretense of wanting to talk about this, but it seems like what you really wanted to do was say, "I've seen some people, somewhere, talk about individual characters needing agency, and I don't like that," when no one here, in all the many pages of discussion this has been dragged through, has made those claims.

So, sure. I agree that anyone demanding every female character have total agency and empowerment is off the mark. Glad that important distinction is out of the way.

You're welcome back if you actually want to contribute or discuss a specific post, article, etc. whose reading you want to address.
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ScarFace32
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return

Postby ScarFace32 » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:39 am

I just don't get why posters are referring to this as "reckless" or "irresponsible"? How can art be those things? An artist has no responsibility
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return

Postby Hester Prynne » Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:06 am

I share others' sentiments about this thread being created. I know mods aren't always in an easy position, and you can't please all of the people all of the time, but I wish it had been handled differently.

I've been enjoying The Return, but when did women become an endangered species on this show? Come on - where are the Catherine Martells, the Audrey Hornes, and the Josie Packards? I lived for those characters!

Of the new female characters we've seen, five have already been killed off (Tracy, Daria, Phyllis, Lorraine, Miriam - did I leave anyone out?). It feels like their only purpose in the storyline is to get killed off and advance the narrative (Mr. Reindeer had a great post on the other thread that went into this some.). I think that is why I was so exasperated with Candie's character the other night - I was hoping for more because I know Lynch and Frost can deliver more, but to me it fell short.
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Troubbble
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Re: Lynch, Frost and women

Postby Troubbble » Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:10 am

whoisalhedges wrote:
Troubbble wrote:My personal belief is that all human beings deserve fair and equal treatment, regardless of differences in race, gender, or sexuality. I also tend to think this is the mindset of nearly everyone participating in the discussion of this show. With that being said, these beliefs don't preclude someone like me from thinking that the continuing focus on gender issues and representation in the show is not particularly interesting--nor is it really even appropriate, without seeing the complete picture being painted in The Return.

It makes as much sense to me as it would to critically analyze Fire Walk With Me having only seen the first half of the movie.

OK - "Without seeing the complete picture" - THIS is fair. Someone, on the other thread (I think it was Cipher), talked about part 10 being upsetting "in a vacuum" specifically. It remains to be seen what'll come of it.


Thanks! Yes, the biggest problem for me with these arguments is how misguided I feel it is to make these evaluations NOW, or about any one part in a vacuum. It just doesn't make a lot of sense!

Speaking in a larger sense about the entire show–-it is obvious that certain storylines are still only starting to take shape. Several of the most important returning characters have not even been seen yet, or seen only in brief glimpses when we KNOW they will have more to do very soon. Many other new characters based in the town itself, with the exception of Richard, seem guaranteed to be fleshed out once they become more involved in the plot (Red, Becky, Stephen, Beverly, etc). Especially Beverly! I mean, the scene with her husband from a few weeks ago all but PROMISED another layer of depth to her character. It simply has yet to be revealed...

That being the case, and with so little screen time having been spent with characters like Becky, I think it's wrong to think we have any grasp of who they are and how they will function in the story.

If the remaining episodes add no depth to characters like these, and are simply "more of the same" as far as gender portrayals go—while I can't honestly claim it would reduce my enjoyment of the show—Lynch's "blind spot" would certainly be harder to defend.

I'll grant everyone that much, but encourage them at the same time to stay open-minded and wait a little longer before drawing these type of conclusions.
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Troubbble
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return

Postby Troubbble » Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:16 am

Hester Prynne wrote:Of the new female characters we've seen, five have already been killed off (Tracy, Daria, Phyllis, Lorraine, Miriam - did I leave anyone out?). It feels like their only purpose in the storyline is to get killed off and advance the narrative (Mr. Reindeer had a great post on the other thread that went into this some.). I think that is why I was so exasperated with Candie's character the other night - I was hoping for more because I know Lynch and Frost can deliver more, but to me it fell short.


So far, the story has demanded that several characters die. But would it have been preferable to have those brutalized characters be males, if it meant five fewer roles for women in the series?

Just spitballing here. Wondering what people think...

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