Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return

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wxray
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby wxray » Tue Jul 18, 2017 1:59 pm

Whatever. Time to take a break. See you in a few days. I came here to discuss Part 10, not get into some social discussion. It is impossible to wade thru right now.
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Ragnell
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby Ragnell » Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:00 pm

All right, I've passed on this because I'd rather discuss Candie, Lucy, Dougie and Johnnie but I do have something to add to the gender discussion. And that's this, violence against women is one of the core themes of Twin Peaks. The show was launched on Laura Palmer's death, and her victimization was echoed in several subplots that featured women in violent situations. The movie delved deep into her abuse and the effect it had on her sexuality. The Return has the tagline, "It is Happening Again" and features several events where women experience violence in a way that echoes Laura's story, and of course includes the next chapter of Laura's story.

We have to be able to discuss the subject of sexism, violence, and how it affects men and women differently to discuss this series. It's not a subplot or a sidebar, it is one of the core themes of the story. Laura herself is an amalgamation of the Madonna/Whore archetypes because this is specifically a story about taking the dead girl trope and exploring it until it is turned inside out.

It's not politics, it's not political correctness, it's the story. Some people are going to think it fails at capturing a full picture or or examining this experience, some people are going to think it crosses a line into trivializing it, some will think it does one or the other from time to time and others are going to think it's absolutely perfect at it. We can't just ban this discussion from the main threads, though, because it's pretty clear to me Lynch doesn't want to trivialize it or present an incomplete examination, so we need to take this into account when discussing the value of the episodes. Did they support the core themes of the series or not? Do they get across what Lynch and Frost want to get across? It's not the ONLY theme, but it's one of them and it's germane to the discussion. Even if it gets its own thread, we can't simply banish the subject to that thread or we're cutting both the themes and the plot short in these threads.

Furthermore, we're going to have to figure out how to discuss these themes without getting personal about it. Some posters will need to stop being offended when someone thinks that the episode didn't capture this properly. People need to understand its not a personal criticism of Lynch, Frost, anyone who felt the ep was fine, or anyone who's just uncomfortable discussing gender issues. We can't devolve into ranting about "SJWs", "Redditors", "MRAs", "Feminists"...etc... just because someone's taken one side or the other of it. We can't just write off someone's response as "politically correct" when they are giving their honest reaction to the discussion or we just end up with this, going in circles insulting each other.

The big thing is if you want to avoid politics, stop ascribing politics to race and gender analysis. Just disagree with the reading of the scene and move on.
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Ragnell
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby Ragnell » Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:02 pm

dustoff wrote:
anthoto1 wrote:As always, SJW trying to take over and polluting the debate. That's very sad.


"Now you listen to me. While I will admit to a certain cynicism, the fact is that I am a naysayer and hatchetman in the fight against violence. I pride myself in taking a punch and I'll gladly take another because I choose to live my life in the company of Gandhi and King. My concerns are global. I reject absolutely revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method... is love. I love you Sheriff Truman."


You're wonderful, and for this quote I have a gift for you. This mental image: Candie explaining cell phones to Lucy.
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counterpaul
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby counterpaul » Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:13 pm

Cipher wrote:This conversation would have been contained to a handful of posts every few pages if people were comfortable just not engaging in discussions that don't interest them, by the way. Breadcrumbing for backwards shots or the plot-level significance of Andy's Rolex seem off the mark for me, so those posts just get scrolled over.


This is really the crux, isn't it? Thank you for all that you do, Cipher.

I'm always incredibly hesitant to jump into these meta-message-board arguments, even when they interest me, but it's hard to ignore a certain, saddening strain of anti-intellectualism here. I mean, gender comes up all the time on this board (as it must!--how else can one possibly discuss a work as fundamentally concerned with gender as Twin Peaks), but it only generates these kinds of conflicts when it's discussed with a certain level of rigor and when that discussion employs some of the language of academia.

It's real easy to just skip passed a topic that doesn't interest you, even when it dominates for a few pages (as discussion of the "rules" of the "mythology"--which doesn't interest me--often does). To stop and harangue people for having an on-topic conversation about the themes and imagery of the show we're here to discuss seems really strange to me. It's also curious that it's only the folks who bring up concerns over "moral censorship" who are actually proposing censorship as a solution to the "problem."

I mean, I guess we could make a separate "TPTR for the Academically Minded" thread, but how sad is that! What harm does it cause to let different conversational styles and preoccupations flourish side by side? Especially on a board dedicated to David Lynch, who, say what you want, is not a conventional, commercial artist, and who naturally attracts intellectuals and academic types in a way that most show runners working on a major cable network never would, it seems just backwards to me.

And, sure, David Lynch is not a message-driven artist. I agree with that. As he's said many times, "If I wanted to send a message, I'd use Western Union." I get that. But, he is an artist profoundly interested in what it feels like to be a human being living in the world. His focus is on that subjective experience, but you can't just ignore the "world" part, at least not without being left with a profoundly shallow reading of the work. The world is in the mix, here. So, an honest discussion of the work is likely to take that into account.

When Margaret says that "Laura is the one," gender is part of the mix. Twin Peaks, as an ecosystem encompassing its several iterations, revolves around Laura and what happened to her. To ignore gender and how it works in the larger narrative is to ignore a major theme that is built in to the DNA of the show. It's unavoidable, and thank goodness it is! I'm not interested in skating on the surface. I don't need to spend time writing posts to do that.
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dustoff
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby dustoff » Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:19 pm

Ragnell wrote:
dustoff wrote:
anthoto1 wrote:As always, SJW trying to take over and polluting the debate. That's very sad.


"Now you listen to me. While I will admit to a certain cynicism, the fact is that I am a naysayer and hatchetman in the fight against violence. I pride myself in taking a punch and I'll gladly take another because I choose to live my life in the company of Gandhi and King. My concerns are global. I reject absolutely revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method... is love. I love you Sheriff Truman."


You're wonderful, and for this quote I have a gift for you. This mental image: Candie explaining cell phones to Lucy.


Thank you! I'm very grateful for that :)
anthoto1
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby anthoto1 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:27 pm

counterpaul wrote:
Cipher wrote:This conversation would have been contained to a handful of posts every few pages if people were comfortable just not engaging in discussions that don't interest them, by the way. Breadcrumbing for backwards shots or the plot-level significance of Andy's Rolex seem off the mark for me, so those posts just get scrolled over.


This is really the crux, isn't it? Thank you for all that you do, Cipher.

I'm always incredibly hesitant to jump into these meta-message-board arguments, even when they interest me, but it's hard to ignore a certain, saddening strain of anti-intellectualism here. I mean, gender comes up all the time on this board (as it must!--how else can one possibly discuss a work as fundamentally concerned with gender as Twin Peaks), but it only generates these kinds of conflicts when it's discussed with a certain level of rigor and when that discussion employs some of the language of academia.

It's real easy to just skip passed a topic that doesn't interest you, even when it dominates for a few pages (as discussion of the "rules" of the "mythology"--which doesn't interest me--often does). To stop and harangue people for having an on-topic conversation about the themes and imagery of the show we're here to discuss seems really strange to me. It's also curious that it's only the folks who bring up concerns over "moral censorship" who are actually proposing censorship as a solution to the "problem."

I mean, I guess we could make a separate "TPTR for the Academically Minded" thread, but how sad is that! What harm does it cause to let different conversational styles and preoccupations flourish side by side? Especially on a board dedicated to David Lynch, who, say what you want, is not a conventional, commercial artist, and who naturally attracts intellectuals and academic types in a way that most show runners working on a major cable network never would, it seems just backwards to me.

And, sure, David Lynch is not a message-driven artist. I agree with that. As he's said many times, "If I wanted to send a message, I'd use Western Union." I get that. But, he is an artist profoundly interested in what it feels like to be a human being living in the world. His focus is on that subjective experience, but you can't just ignore the "world" part, at least not without being left with a profoundly shallow reading of the work. The world is in the mix, here. So, an honest discussion of the work is likely to take that into account.

When Margaret says that "Laura is the one," gender is part of the mix. Twin Peaks, as an ecosystem encompassing its several iterations, revolves around Laura and what happened to her. To ignore gender and how it works in the larger narrative is to ignore a major theme that is built in to the DNA of the show. It's unavoidable, and thank goodness it is! I'm not interested in skating on the surface. I don't need to spend time writing posts to do that.


Gender is being used as a cheap analyzing grid. Each time had its analytical paradigm : 40 years ago, most scholars in Europe and a good amount in the USA, analyzed every piece of art through the marxist grid. Everyone is entitled to it, obviously, but the only problem is that, most of the time, art ends up being a a tool for oversimplifying political analysis. I think that art should be analyzed as art, for art. It is not a tool or a mean, it is an end, especially as Lynch is everything but a commited artist.
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby ScarFace32 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:30 pm

djsunyc wrote:the physical violence against the women were tough to watch. hope there's a justice b/c those visuals are a bit reckless if there's no payoff.


Reckless how? It's reckless to depict violence unless the fake killer is caught, in which case there is a "payoff"?
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby Agent Earle » Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:34 pm

counterpaul wrote:
Cipher wrote:This conversation would have been contained to a handful of posts every few pages if people were comfortable just not engaging in discussions that don't interest them, by the way. Breadcrumbing for backwards shots or the plot-level significance of Andy's Rolex seem off the mark for me, so those posts just get scrolled over.


This is really the crux, isn't it? Thank you for all that you do, Cipher.

I'm always incredibly hesitant to jump into these meta-message-board arguments, even when they interest me, but it's hard to ignore a certain, saddening strain of anti-intellectualism here. I mean, gender comes up all the time on this board (as it must!--how else can one possibly discuss a work as fundamentally concerned with gender as Twin Peaks), but it only generates these kinds of conflicts when it's discussed with a certain level of rigor and when that discussion employs some of the language of academia.

It's real easy to just skip passed a topic that doesn't interest you, even when it dominates for a few pages (as discussion of the "rules" of the "mythology"--which doesn't interest me--often does). To stop and harangue people for having an on-topic conversation about the themes and imagery of the show we're here to discuss seems really strange to me. It's also curious that it's only the folks who bring up concerns over "moral censorship" who are actually proposing censorship as a solution to the "problem."

I mean, I guess we could make a separate "TPTR for the Academically Minded" thread, but how sad is that! What harm does it cause to let different conversational styles and preoccupations flourish side by side? Especially on a board dedicated to David Lynch, who, say what you want, is not a conventional, commercial artist, and who naturally attracts intellectuals and academic types in a way that most show runners working on a major cable network never would, it seems just backwards to me.

And, sure, David Lynch is not a message-driven artist. I agree with that. As he's said many times, "If I wanted to send a message, I'd use Western Union." I get that. But, he is an artist profoundly interested in what it feels like to be a human being living in the world. His focus is on that subjective experience, but you can't just ignore the "world" part, at least not without being left with a profoundly shallow reading of the work. The world is in the mix, here. So, an honest discussion of the work is likely to take that into account.

When Margaret says that "Laura is the one," gender is part of the mix. Twin Peaks, as an ecosystem encompassing its several iterations, revolves around Laura and what happened to her. To ignore gender and how it works in the larger narrative is to ignore a major theme that is built in to the DNA of the show. It's unavoidable, and thank goodness it is! I'm not interested in skating on the surface. I don't need to spend time writing posts to do that.


I never proposed to censor anything or anyone. I merely expressed my opinion - by which I stand - that screaming blue murder whenever violence towards women appears on screen is, to paraphrase and expand myself, a sad and reactionary way to be discussing works of art. And no amount of "academia" can disguise what is, at its heart - there, I'll say it again -, moral censorship and panic.
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby firefly2193 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:41 pm

The irony in a group of people trying to shut down discussion about gender issues in TPTR by saying they are trying to 'stifle' (what?) debate is off the charts. The irony in a group of people thinking there is zero role for discussions of gender in a series who's core subject matter was the abuse of girl at the hands of a man is also off the charts. You're allowed and encouraged to disagree with people who have a different view on these matters, you're also allowed to ignore it completely.

The gender violence discussion was fine, the multiple pages of people arguing whether you should be allowed to talk about their feelings about the violence against women was very off-putting.
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby Agent Earle » Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:43 pm

"Violence against women" ON FILM should be the key term here.
4815162342
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby 4815162342 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:45 pm

Agent Earle wrote:"Violence against women" ON FILM should be the key term here.

So every thing we say about the series should end with "...ON FILM"? What is the point of that exactly? I think the context is clear, this is dugpa.com.
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby counterpaul » Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:48 pm

anthoto1 wrote:Gender is being used as a cheap analyzing grid. Each time had its analytical paradigm : 40 years ago, most scholars in Europe and a good amount in the USA, analyzed every piece of art through the marxist grid. Everyone is entitled to it, obviously, but the only problem is that, most of the time, art ends up being a a tool for oversimplifying political analysis. I think that art should be analyzed as art, for art. It is not a tool or a mean, it is an end, especially as Lynch is everything but a commited artist.


You might have a point if Twin Peaks wasn't such an explicitly gendered work (see Ragnell's post above). Art, if it means anything, is by and about humans and humans live in a world that includes politics. I agree that art (or, to be more precise, art that I personally respond to most) is not a tool or a means to an end. Art is a language. All analysis is at least a little bit reductive--if the art is great, it speaks for itself. But here we are, on a message board, discussing art. We can watch the show and say nothing because it speaks for itself, or we can accept that what we're doing is a little reductive and discuss it, taking as much of its complexity into account as we can manage. The choice you're positing here, it seems to me, isn't between discussing it with or without potentially politicized elements, it's between discussing all the issues it brings up or not discussing it at all.

Of course, I also don't see any problem with Marxist or feminist analysis--I don't think either is "cheap" and I don't see a problem with viewing an artwork through any particular lens. The fact is we're always, every single one of us, looking at the art we're viewing at least partially through a political lens. It's part of being human and we're, none of us, immune. The point of rigorous analysis is to confront that fact and make the process explicit. It's about being more, not less, honest.
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby Agent Earle » Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:48 pm

4815162342 wrote:
Agent Earle wrote:"Violence against women" ON FILM should be the key term here.

So every thing we say about the series should end with "...ON FILM"? What is the point of that exactly? I think the context is clear, this is dugpa.com.


Tell that to Jerry Falwells and Roger Eberts of our critical academia.
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby alreadygoneplaces » Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:52 pm

I did want to let go of this (life’s too short) but it’s frustrating to see posts of mine and others so misrepresented, to the extent I wonder if they’ve actually been read, or whether the mere sight of the word gender was enough to provoke these kind of reactions without the arguments being processed in any way. If you’re not interested in it, that’s fine, but it’s starting to feel like a forest of straw men here.

A question is being raised: If for whatever reason you don’t want to look at it as a gender issue or consider the social aspect, it might be more palatable to just look at it as this: at what point in a work can a theme be overstressed, or a device be overused? Plenty of people have expressed this concern about the Dougie-Cooper plotline without getting hammered for it.

My argument was never that Lynch was a misogynist; never advocated artistic censorship directly or indirectly. It’s this- Lynch: as you well know, wants to create immediate, visceral and powerful experiences. He wants to make us actively feel something. He does it brilliantly, and that’s why we’re all here. But… the pitfall in this is that he has a tendency to use abuse of women as a go-to, failsafe device for getting a powerful reaction from the viewer. And sure, it works. Like I said, if you take the Becky scene from this week, the Miriam scene, the Sylvia scene- all of them are great scenes in isolation, all of them hit hard. But at the same time, when this technique is fallen back upon time and time again, it gets tiresome for me and makes me wonder whether it's just a core theme or a more unpleasant obsession. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt on it, but there's a strong argument there to be made on that. I just brought up a full character list of the whole of Twin Peaks and get an idea of what ratio of its female characters have been abused, and a significant majority had been. If you reduce that to (so far) significant female characters between, say, 14 and 25, by my count only Heidi has remained unscathed and the remaining 10 have all either been beaten, sexually assaulted or murdered. Even if you don’t see anything wrong with that, it does a pretty good job of highlighting my point about the writers’ reliance on this as a device, core theme or no. And this can get pretty sketchy when it’s presented as entertainment- and Lynch certainly makes any line between notions of ‘art’ and ‘entertainment’ disappear. To his credit, I think he negotiates this.and handles these scenes a LOT better than Game of Thrones does, which someone mentioned.

I just saw Cipher quoted me as anonymous in a post slightly earlier, I’ll take ownership of that one- the Bechdel test thing. It can help me clarify. Concerning the world-building of Twin Peaks, do even the most anti-gender critique of you not think that the show would be better if female characters talked to each other more regularly than they get murdered? Do you really think it ‘ideologically motivated’ to want or expect something as basic as this? It is political (as is all art to a degree, one way or another), but it is also inseparable to immediate experience i.e. mine, which I share here as others do theirs. I think it’s a rare weak point in what I think could still turn out to be the best show on TV ever. Why is this different from people complaining about something like… the old characters not being used more?
Last edited by alreadygoneplaces on Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:15 pm, edited 3 times in total.
anthoto1
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby anthoto1 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:52 pm

firefly2193 wrote:The irony in a group of people trying to shut down discussion about gender issues in TPTR by saying they are trying to 'stifle' (what?) debate is off the charts. The irony in a group of people thinking there is zero role for discussions of gender in a series who's core subject matter was the abuse of girl at the hands of a man is also off the charts. You're allowed and encouraged to disagree with people who have a different view on these matters, you're also allowed to ignore it completely.

The gender violence discussion was fine, the multiple pages of people arguing whether you should be allowed to talk about their feelings about the violence against women was very off-putting.


I see no interest in people arguing about what kind of violence against woman should be shown or not, what kind of imagery is shocking or not. This kind of discussion is hardly about the show itself, it uses the show as a mere tool to determine what's socially valid or not. As someone else just said, it's borderline censorship (which, to me, is the chore of gender studies or, at least, they're used by poor man's academics) and, above all, it totally misses its point. To me, there are a million of things in TP:TR that are vastly more interesting to analyze. I'd really like to read and learn things about the masterful staging.

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