David Lynch should not get away by declaring TP as a "dream"

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Cipher
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Re: David Lynch should not get away by declaring TP as a "dream"

Postby Cipher » Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:07 am

Okay, 1) I agree that "it was a dream" is a pat approach to fiction, as it denies the weight of arcs and exploration and the simulation of feeling. Let's get that out of the way right of the bat. This is also why I don't love Mullholdand Drive (sorry!), as while it's an intimate emotional portrait, it yields to that reading a little too easily (fair enough, given that it had to salvage material meant for serialization).

Even under the most generous interpretations, I don't think that's what can be going on here at all.

Maybe the angry dream crowd will be happy to read this interpretation. While I don't stand by it as the singular explanation, and think it completely misreads at least one part of the finale in a way that doesn't affect its overall take, it's quite good, and certainly employs all the information left with the viewer more fully than the "it was all a dream" take does.
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Re: David Lynch should not get away by declaring TP as a "dream"

Postby Novalis » Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:15 am

RetconMetatron wrote:The problem is that all of fiction is basically a dream.

You could end literally any book and film with "and it was all a dream". There's nothing clever about it, it's a lazy problem-solver, except if the dream-world plays an integral part of the plot, something like Total Recall for example. But there's nothing in S1 and S2 which requires or needs that resolution.


Let's think about this. Ending a story in that abrupt way is something a child typically does in early attempts at creative writing. I agree with you there. But that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about how the whole season (and arguably, some moments in FWWM and even the original run, to a very minor extent) are suffused with a hovering 'self-awareness' of the characters that they are not entirely flesh-and-blood, and a certain self-consciousness or knowingness in the absurdity of the choices of what we are shown. Certain things are shown to us with an air of knowingness, a knowing acknowledgement of us. This is something very different to it 'all being a dream at the end'. Maybe it's these dramatic apostrophes and moments of parabasis that are somehow being felt as a middle finger. But I would argue that they are destined to acknowledge us rather than insult us.

Where what you're saying falls apart for me is in how you claim TP S3 does the first thing, the child's story of 'I woke up and it was all a dream'. I see little evidence of it doing that. There's not some scene at the very end where someone wakes up and dries their eyes, brushes their teeth, and the visions all fall away. We've had a nod to that with Audrey, but it did not come at the end or feel to be particularly relevant. If anything that played like a good fat red herring, although it could be brought to bear.

On the contrary, for me, the final part with Richard, Linda and Carrie, has us if anything going deeper and deeper into a dreamlike world, with lots of familiar little clues that we are still very much in-universe. It's just an unfamiliar universe, where things are changed.
As a matter of fact, 'Chalfont' was the name of the people that rented this space before. Two Chalfonts. Weird, huh?
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Re: David Lynch should not get away by declaring TP as a "dream"

Postby 4815162342 » Fri Sep 08, 2017 6:22 am

Yeah, apart from the line "we live inside a dream", I see no indication that most of the story is a dream. It clearly seems like time travel/parallel worlds type stuff happening. We don't see anyone "wake up"(apart from Audrey, but there is no indication that she was dreaming the whole story).
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Re: David Lynch should not get away by declaring TP as a "dream"

Postby referendum » Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:44 am

I agree. I think L&F just wanted viewers to get mindf*cked and start arguing about their theories.


ha.
this chimes with something i was wondering about. Whether it is alternate realities, or time-lines, or dreams, or multiple subjective points of view, or unreliable narratives, or meta-fiction, or whatever, all of these are possible explanations of the same thing. If you asked eyewitnesses to describe the same event, you would get descriptions that broadly overlap, but differ in detail. The sum of their descriptions is the best evidence we have for what happened, but if what happened involves a VICTIM, or victims, none of those POV's alter the victim's perspective, or illuminate it. No one lies like an eyewitness, as they say. All those onlookers when the car hit that boy in ep #6, none of them can see what happened through the mother's eyes. Her suffering and her kid's death remain intact. It resists theory or explanation. The best you can do is as Carl Rodd did, show abit of human sympathy, be there, in the scene, by her side, not stand over there as an observer. But that doesn't CHANGE what happened.

Twin peaks at it's core has a detective, who solves crimes apparently by a mix of intuition and reasoned logic - perception rather than deduction. He can see the same information as we can, but finds a path through the forest of different theories or readings. At the end of many Agatha Christie books the detective gets everyone in the room and goes round the room one person at a time explaining how THEY could have done it, all the possible explanations. ( then at the end we are told the right answer). In episodes of Columbo, a similar thing often happens, but the solution has been exposed at the start - we, the viewer, have been shown the guilty party in the first ten minutes. For the rest of the programme, the interest is in the process of how Columbo arrives at that answer, exposes the mechanism.

So you could see Twin Peaks as a kind of psychological detective story which subverts itself. Laura died. Ruth Davenport died. We know the victims. We have all these clues. There are some story lines that are not resolved that are red herrings. But was it Judy, was it Bob , was it Leland, who is Sarah, who is Billy, what will bad C do when he meets good Coop, will part will Cole and Albert play, what's up with Audrey, blah blah,all these questions surround the victim, and then we have all those theories too. Sure you can kill the bad guy. You can explain the alternate realities. You can solve the surface mystery. But you can't change Laura's pain. That is hers, an hers alone. You can't get inside other people's heads, or change their experience, or see through their eyes. And you can't go back and rewrite history or pretend the the bad thing never happened, either, however much you'd like to. It's cyclical. You always end up back where you started. At the end we're left with this yin yang of Cooper and Laura. The detective and victim. The living and the dead.
Last edited by referendum on Fri Sep 08, 2017 8:16 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: David Lynch should not get away by declaring TP as a "dream"

Postby Novalis » Fri Sep 08, 2017 8:06 am

I might not have made myself very understandable in that last post, especially w/r/t romantic irony. It's a difficult and little-understood term that is sorely in need of better definition in the Anglo-american world. In one authoritative definition, romantic irony is defined as 'Mittel der Selbstrepraesentation von Kunst' ('the means whereby art represents itself"). Theorists argue endlessly over the proper scope (especially historically) of this term but it has a lot of application to cinema, as Richard Allen's exceptional book on Hitchcock has shown.

Upon listening to the soundtrack albums which arrived today, I had a thought that it might be easier to think about season three of Twin Peaks by analogy with the way David Lynch remixes 'American Woman' for the Muddy Magnolias. Here's a snippet of what he does:

I know my worth and who I am
Mister if you're hard up, I can spare a few grand
Hell will freeze over and I'll be damned
'Fore I take orders from any ol' man

Do I look like
[rest of verse omitted]

I'm a whole lotta, show stopper
Mississippi, New York City, you better treat me proper
[parts of this now play reversed, replacing the rest of the verse]

To all my headstrong women
[this line repeats several times, sometimes in reverse, rather than appearing once]
Single mamas with the children
Three jobs and something to prove
[parts of this now play reversed, replacing the rest of the verse]

... and so on


As you will see (and hear) Lynch exercises his artistic ability to play with the raw material, i.e. the power to create and the power to destroy. What has become known as 'romantic irony' is often defined this way -- as a never-finalised oscillation between creation and decreation. You make something then partly unmake it, then carry on making it, then partly unmake it again, and so on ad infinitum. Even when the work is finished, it's never really finished; sometimes you get signals pointing in one direction and sometimes in another; there are conflicts of interpretation embedded into the very arrangement or sequencing of events themselves; just when you think you know where things are going they reverse and undo themselves; the identities of the separate parts (verses) becomes confused and corrupted, and often isolated elements are doubled or replicated; there is a celebration of the fractured, unfinished, unsaid and fragmentary over the complete and whole; the 'intrusive' marks and traces of editing are incorporated into the text/song/film because they are now as much the story/song as the other parts.

I think 'remixing' is a fitting analogy to the way Lynch works with narrative these days (and maybe always has, even before this was made much easier by the digital age). He creates and decreates (and creates by decreating). Moreover, his primary object has never been interpretation or story, but sensation / experience / effect. The aim is not to lay out something that can be ironed out and translated back into a linear narrative (with the first one to do it winning some kind of prize for cleverness).

A famous example of romantic irony was given by Anne Mellor when she used an artist's drawing partially smudged into unintelligibility by the artist's own thumb-print as the frontispiece of her treatise. In aesthetic terms it represents the dialectic between creation and decreation sublated into a higher form of creativity. It's not a 'fuck you' to anyone ('the authentic romantic ironist is as filled with enthusiasm as with skepticism' says Mellor). The 'fuck you' reception of art like this is a red herring, a tulpa.

All that said, dreaming is one of the thematic regularities from top to bottom, so it would be unwise to completely ignore it.
As a matter of fact, 'Chalfont' was the name of the people that rented this space before. Two Chalfonts. Weird, huh?

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