Season 4? Or is it over after this?

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ringbearer
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Re: Season 4? Or is it over after this?

Postby ringbearer » Wed Dec 09, 2020 5:40 am

this ^^
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Re: Season 4? Or is it over after this?

Postby Rhodes » Wed Dec 09, 2020 5:48 am

I can get very emotional about this.

To think that Lynch really starts believing that he has to "improve" and correct the mistakes from Jade/Asian prostitute from IE, and that he deliberately includes a role for a minority that is also empowering and not stereotypical...... the thought is so heartbreaking and saddening.

How can true art exists if the climate is so 'play it safe' and people are so scared not to be approved by society? Honestly, I would even prefer Lynch being slightly racist (which is of course complete nonsense) than him becoming a fellow-traveller of this diversity-trend that's spreading all over the world. It would make him just a bit more interesting and less predictable.
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Re: Season 4? Or is it over after this?

Postby Mr. Reindeer » Wed Dec 09, 2020 8:51 am

I think there’s a middle ground. It’s possible to be cognizant of long-term systemic problems in our society and in the entertainment industry, and of the broader impact one’s work will have, without being a so-called “snowflake” or pandering, or compromising one’s vision in any way. That doesn’t mean casting people of color just for the sake of it, but rather perhaps identifying and acknowledging one’s own implicit biases (in Lynch’s case, perhaps, the fact that his first instinct tends to be a Norman Rockwell-esque all-white 1950s Americana), and realizing that just because his first instinct is perhaps to envision every character as white doesn’t mean that a person of color might not be as good or better for the part. Lynch is my favorite living director, and it feels like sacrilege to say he should ever second-guess his vision because he is such an instinct-based creator, but this is one area where I think it might be productive for him, like any other employer, to examine whether he might be limiting himself, and limiting opportunities for actors of color, just because he was raised in a certain time and thinks a certain way. In terms of gender, Lynch has grown a great deal from his early male-centric films like Eraserhead to becoming what I would consider a feminist filmmaker with works like Mulholland Drive and INLAND EMPIRE. It’s sort of a shame that he hasn’t grown a bit where it comes to issues of race, especially since he undeniably thinks about these issues (his efforts with the TM foundation in inner-city schools, the BLM banner in his weather report, etc.). To paraphrase Avenue Q, I do believe everyone is inherently a little bit racist (I’m not just talking about white people—everyone), and we should all be self-aware and try to improve.
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Re: Season 4? Or is it over after this?

Postby Stavrogyn » Wed Dec 09, 2020 9:36 am

Well said, Mr. Reindeer.

Rhodes, I can certainly understand where you are coming from and why would this bother you - oftentimes it gets on my nerves too - but as Mr. Reindeer said, there is a middle ground. And since we are having this discussion, I have an even better example: Woody Allen (whom I admire very much). I have seen all of his directorial work except Crisis in Six Scenes (which is on my to-do list) and Rifkin’s Festival, which is not yet available. During the whole of his career as a film director - we are talking about around 50 films from a director very much focused on intellectual urban circles, jazz music, etc. - he has used so few African-American or any non-white actors that it has to make you wonder a bit. However, I highly doubt he is racist (even his wife is of Asian ancestry, which also has to mean something); I just think that, like Lynch, he sticks to his vision and topics that interest him and doesn’t even think of race when casting his projects.

By the way, regarding Twin Peaks, let’s not forget Roger Hardy, he was cool :wink:
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Re: Season 4? Or is it over after this?

Postby Rhodes » Wed Dec 09, 2020 9:44 am

@Reindeer: we know that this desire to include people of colour and promote diversity doesn't come naturally for Lynch. He is influenced by his environment. And not just a random environment, but the respectable opinions that are taught be decent people from decent outlets such as Eastcoast Universities and the NYT.

I would say that this almost 'proves' that there is a huge problem. Because he isn't the creative genius that he is for being like other people. For filling out his income tax and dressing up for visiting his mother in law at sunday afternoon. In this respect, it worries me a little bit that you speak of him as "an employer".

The very fact that he's "working" on himself and improving himself (100% in accordance to latest fashion) makes him (almost by definition) less avantgarde, less interesting and maybe even less of an artist. Self-improvement and PC is fantastic when it comes to ones personal life, but when it comes to art, it makes me feel mweehhhh. Boring, lame, disappointing.
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Re: Season 4? Or is it over after this?

Postby Rhodes » Wed Dec 09, 2020 9:49 am

During the whole of his career as a film director - we are talking about around 50 films from a director very much focused on intellectual urban circles, jazz music, etc. - he has used so few African-American or any non-white actors that it has to make you wonder a bit. However, I highly doubt he is racist (even his wife is of Asian ancestry, which also has to mean something); I just think that, like Lynch, he sticks to his vision and topics that interest him and doesn’t even think of race when casting his projects.
So what is the problem with that? Lynch works with red curtains, not green. Why shouldn't Allen or Lynch work exclusively with white actors, whether out of habit, out of esthetic preference or with no justification at all?
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Re: Season 4? Or is it over after this?

Postby LateReg » Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:03 am

I think there’s a middle ground. It’s possible to be cognizant of long-term systemic problems in our society and in the entertainment industry, and of the broader impact one’s work will have, without being a so-called “snowflake” or pandering, or compromising one’s vision in any way. That doesn’t mean casting people of color just for the sake of it, but rather perhaps identifying and acknowledging one’s own implicit biases (in Lynch’s case, perhaps, the fact that his first instinct tends to be a Norman Rockwell-esque all-white 1950s Americana), and realizing that just because his first instinct is perhaps to envision every character as white doesn’t mean that a person of color might not be as good or better for the part. Lynch is my favorite living director, and it feels like sacrilege to say he should ever second-guess his vision because he is such an instinct-based creator, but this is one area where I think it might be productive for him, like any other employer, to examine whether he might be limiting himself, and limiting opportunities for actors of color, just because he was raised in a certain time and thinks a certain way. In terms of gender, Lynch has grown a great deal from his early male-centric films like Eraserhead to becoming what I would consider a feminist filmmaker with works like Mulholland Drive and INLAND EMPIRE. It’s sort of a shame that he hasn’t grown a bit where it comes to issues of race, especially since he undeniably thinks about these issues (his efforts with the TM foundation in inner-city schools, the BLM banner in his weather report, etc.). To paraphrase Avenue Q, I do believe everyone is inherently a little bit racist (I’m not just talking about white people—everyone), and we should all be self-aware and try to improve.
This is very well put. I can see the middle ground, but I think it's very slippery. Isn't a large part of the question you're asking one of responsibility? From a perspective of artistic purity, I don't think the artist has any responsibility in this sense. I also think that as soon as someone like Lynch starts to think about some of these other things that don't organically enter into his vision, then that vision is indeed compromised. To me it's all about what you see in your head, and getting it out there, based on your own experience. Not out of some larger prerequisite to think about the entirety of the world (or the industry), but your own history or the history of the exact story you're trying to tell.
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Re: Season 4? Or is it over after this?

Postby Rhodes » Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:13 am

[quote="LateReg"]This is very well put.

Agreed.

Just as you explain very nicely how artistic purity and societal considerations do not mix.
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Re: Season 4? Or is it over after this?

Postby LateReg » Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:30 am

Don't get me wrong: Thinking about some of these things can strengthen one's vision and artistry as one's scope widens. But it all depends on the story you're telling.
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Re: Season 4? Or is it over after this?

Postby ringbearer » Wed Dec 09, 2020 11:45 am

a couple of thoughts;

Lynch has consistently spoke of his process for decades now, perhaps the most important thing for him is to try and create the idea as true to how it came to him from his subconscious. As it's been pointed out, his 50's upbringing and aesthetic feeds that, so is that xenophobic or racist?

Also, which is worse - a largely diverse cast so as to stay relevant, or a 'token' character/s?
I haven't heard any complaints about Paul Thomas Anderson for example, who has had Sam Jackson, Don Cheadle, Michael K. Williams give amazing performances in predominantly white casts, which may illustrate a middle ground as Mr Reindeer has said, but will everyone see it that way?

It's a tough one...
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Re: Season 4? Or is it over after this?

Postby Mr. Reindeer » Wed Dec 09, 2020 11:47 am

This is very well put. I can see the middle ground, but I think it's very slippery. Isn't a large part of the question you're asking one of responsibility? From a perspective of artistic purity, I don't think the artist has any responsibility in this sense. I also think that as soon as someone like Lynch starts to think about some of these other things that don't organically enter into his vision, then that vision is indeed compromised. To me it's all about what you see in your head, and getting it out there, based on your own experience. Not out of some larger prerequisite to think about the entirety of the world (or the industry), but your own history or the history of the exact story you're trying to tell.
I for sure see both sides of this. With Lynch in particular, I know he is notoriously superstitious about any type of self-analysis of his process, and indeed of himself (that one aborted therapy session), for fear that it would spoil the magic and dilute his intuitive abilities. And for all any of us knows, his fear might actually be grounded in truth...at the very least, as a sort of “placebo effect” where he convinces himself that some piece of self-analysis has spoiled the process and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In terms of an artist’s “responsibility”...it’s also a complicated question that I can see both sides of. I pretty much agree with what I imagine is your opinion (based on prior conversations we’ve had—hopefully not putting words in your mouth) that an artist’s primary responsibility, as it were, is to remain as true as possible to his or her own vision and create a work that speaks to his or her personal truth without compromise. However, there are undeniably other responsibilities—practical ones involving budget, shooting schedules, safety of cast and crew, etc. I think we all probably agree that no director should, for instance, throw a child out of a plane, even if his personal muse is screaming that this is the only way to capture the truth of the moment. There are also some undeniable responsibilities regarding social decency and morals: not to keep harping on kids as the low-hanging-fruit example, but child pornography is pretty undeniably a no-no. The argument is there to be made that, in some small measure, artists should also be thinking about the impact their work will have on the world. Art shapes sensibilities, society, and personal viewpoints. Art can be volatile and dangerous. By no means am I saying artists should kowtow to cultural mores or dilute their vision, but there arguably should be some general awareness that the work is going to have an impact. Again, I’m not saying art has any responsibility to improve the world, or that dangerous work should be avoided because it is dangerous. But arguably the artist should acknowledge the life the work will have after it leaves his or hands and give some minor consideration to that. Maybe. Again, I see both sides of this, and am not necessarily picking one, just playing devil’s advocate. (Yes, that’s a copout, but I genuinely don’t know the answers to these very complicated questions.)

I don’t want to nitpick or put too fine on a point on this, and I truly hope you won’t take this the wrong way, but your use of the word “purity” is interesting given the connotations that word has in a racial context. Is purity always a good thing? In an artistic sense...maybe, usually? There are some truly terrible directors whose films probably were improved by being taken away and edited by the studio. Ditto some authors having their overlong word count hacked down by an editor. Does the fact that those works became qualitatively better mean that artistic purity isn’t always the clear ideal? Or is the qualitatively worse, but more “pure” version, still preferable merely on the basis of its purity alone, because it is “truer”? Again, no answers here from me (and I’m really getting off topic!). Anyway, back to the main point, I can certainly see why the idea of valuing the “purity” of Lynch’s all-white (or mostly-white) vision is potentially a little problematic to some people. Whether that means he should try to consciously change is a thornier question.
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Re: Season 4? Or is it over after this?

Postby Mr. Reindeer » Wed Dec 09, 2020 1:19 pm


By the way, regarding Twin Peaks, let’s not forget Roger Hardy, he was cool :wink:
Also, the two Air Force colonels played by two wonderful actors: Col. Reilly (Tony Burton) and Col. Davis (Ernie Hudson).
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Re: Season 4? Or is it over after this?

Postby enumbs » Wed Dec 09, 2020 1:20 pm

@Reindeer: we know that this desire to include people of colour and promote diversity doesn't come naturally for Lynch. He is influenced by his environment. And not just a random environment, but the respectable opinions that are taught be decent people from decent outlets such as Eastcoast Universities and the NYT.

I would say that this almost 'proves' that there is a huge problem. Because he isn't the creative genius that he is for being like other people. For filling out his income tax and dressing up for visiting his mother in law at sunday afternoon. In this respect, it worries me a little bit that you speak of him as "an employer".

The very fact that he's "working" on himself and improving himself (100% in accordance to latest fashion) makes him (almost by definition) less avantgarde, less interesting and maybe even less of an artist. Self-improvement and PC is fantastic when it comes to ones personal life, but when it comes to art, it makes me feel mweehhhh. Boring, lame, disappointing.
I don’t believe that great art is in any way sabotaged by introspection. Lynch’s life and thoughts have certainly influenced his work, even as he draws from his subconscious. If he is influenced by the BLM movement to some degree, and starts seriously thinking about why the characters he envisions are almost exclusively white, then that is surely a good thing? Art is an expression of how one relates to the world, and a developing sensibility is an inevitable part of that.

I am wary of people who use the phrase “political correctness” and complain about diversity, but especially in this instance, when we are not talking about a cynical corporate mandate but the artist’s own inclinations. Was it ‘PC’ when Lynch made Fire Walk With Me, and decided to focus on the inner-life of a female sexual assault victim, rather than continuing to use her as a MacGuffin and a catalyst for the plot?

Good art is generally the product of open and inquisitive minds, and your suggestion that Lynch ignore the world and refuse to broaden his aesthetic seems entirely wrong-headed to me. It is that approach which leads to art becoming “boring, lame, and disappointing”.
Last edited by enumbs on Wed Dec 09, 2020 2:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Season 4? Or is it over after this?

Postby enumbs » Wed Dec 09, 2020 1:47 pm

It would be fantastic if Lynch gave more roles of depth and prominence to people of color in whatever he is doing next. It doesnt have to be all out PC, but Jade the prostitute, the comic relief cop in the Las Vegas scenes is a little minstrel-y, the homeless woman in Inland Empire, and so on, there's def. room for improvement.
Please.... :?

It seems so innocent. Let's include more people of colour. Let's not make the prostitute a black woman. Let's write empowering roles for females.

But this is such a slippery slope. Before you know it, artistic choices are based upon irrelevant factors. Arya Stark who must kill the Knight King because it is feminist and badass and woke (although it doesn't make any sense, and it is clear that Jon is the person with a personal history with this villain). The actress playing Jade being perfect to play Jade, but not chosen for that role because it stigmatizes black women. (Sidenote: disproportiantely many prostitutes ARE ethnic minorities)

"It doesn't have to be all out PC". Glad to hear you say this, but it still IS all out PC what you are saying. So no, this is not fantastic. I was always glad that Lynch was one of the few artists who had the guts to make beautiful arts without worrying about this utter BS that is so characteristic of nowadays Hollywood.

I’d like to also point out that Arya did not kill the Night King because it was a “feminist” or “woke” choice. She killed the Night King because she was a fan favourite character, because it was deemed a surprising twist, and because Arya did not have any other major moments in the final half season which would justify the time spent showing her training. Like much of the last few seasons it was the result of cheap and lazy writing, but the trend of blaming everything bad on this sinister Woke brigade is not one I can get behind.
Last edited by enumbs on Wed Dec 09, 2020 7:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Season 4? Or is it over after this?

Postby LateReg » Wed Dec 09, 2020 2:07 pm

...
Good questions. It's all very complicated, for sure. Especially nowadays, it seems that there is no way be sure you're right about anything you say. And no, I don't take any of that the wrong wa...aaaait a minute, don't think I didn't catch this dig at me: "Ditto some authors having their overlong word count hacked down by an editor." :D

Seriously, though. I hesitate to wade into these waters because I know that anything I say may be misconstrued or used to judge in facile ways. I know the exact "right" thing to say and I know what might come across as "problematic." I love art, and I love it for its purity of vision, and think of that purity as primarily the expression of a single individual, who should not have to think of other factors beyond the truth of their vision. That would be a perfect world, art-wise. When I look at Lynch's works, I see no reason to call negative attention to the lack of color, or to even think of them as primarily white - there's something else going on there. That racial element, as a qualitative judgment of the work and how it is lacking, is simply not on my mind as being relevant to a discussion of its worth. If I say that old cliché "I don't see color" in Lynch's type of art, or that I'm simply pro-art, then I might be labeled as a closeted racist or privileged enough to not have to think about those things. But I simply don't see it as an area of criticism when it comes to Lynch's art, or an area in which he needs to show progress. And the reason I believe this to be true, beyond the psychological topics and spiritual currents of Lynch's films and the insulated world he creates and the power they possess while being primarily white and even political via that gaze, is because I raised myself on international cinema. I know a lot of us are familiar with cinema from around the globe, but I'm just saying that on a personal level, whether it's right or wrong, I believe the reason why I have never much thought about race in casting (unless it is a glaring issue, which it is not in Lynch's films, which are casted with precision and daring that makes perfect sense in their setting) is because my favorite films come from all over the globe, and I therefore, without even thinking about it, see people of all colors across all my favorite films. Again, do Lynch and Scorsese and the rest have some responsibility to broaden their horizons when it comes to casting and even more so the specific types of stories they tell? I just don't believe that to be on them as artists, and shouldn't be doing anything different unless they are passionate about a story they want to tell that calls for certain people in certain roles. I do, however, believe that the end goal of getting people to think about these things and to push for diversity is to get us all to a place where this kind of stuff is no longer even a question - a place where everybody has equal opportunity, and there are more artists of all colors and creeds, so that everything is organic and natural and free and equal. Right now, judging by discussions like these, we're not there yet and are in a period of transition that is filled with obviously good intentions and prickly questions regarding an artist's responsibility to the bigger picture.

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