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David Lynch: Sympathy for the Donald
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David Lynch is the “Eagle Scout from Missoula, Montana” who has directed Eraserhead, Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, and Mulholland Drive, one of the more distinctive bodies of work in movie/TV history. Now, at 72, coming off a long fallow period followed by a successful sequel to his famous Twin Peaks TV series, he’s promoting his memoir Room to Dream. From The Guardian:

David Lynch: ‘You gotta be selfish. It’s a terrible thing’

Rory Carroll
Sat 23 Jun 2018 05.00 EDT

… Politically, meanwhile, Lynch is all over the map. He voted for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primary and thinks – he’s not sure – he voted Libertarian in the presidential election. “I am not really a political person, but I really like the freedom to do what you want to do,” says the persecuted Californian smoker.

He is undecided about Donald Trump. “He could go down as one of the greatest presidents in history because he has disrupted the thing so much. No one is able to counter this guy in an intelligent way.” While Trump may not be doing a good job himself, Lynch thinks, he is opening up a space where other outsiders might. “Our so-called leaders can’t take the country forward, can’t get anything done. Like children, they are. Trump has shown all this.”

To say anything this moderate and open-minded out loud in the entertainment industry in 2018, you have to be, more or less, David Lynch.

My impression has been that the Hollywood political monoculture is less stifling to individual thought mostly at the living legend level. But it’s rare for the minions below that rank to notice that the auteurs they idolize often don’t share their obsessive political conformism. The masses just can’t comprehend such a heretical possibility.

 
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  1. He’ll surely get into some trouble for this, if his admirers let it get out. No decent person one can be “undecided” on Nazis.

    • Replies: @Anon
  2. syonredux says:

    The film’s [Erasherad] tone was also shaped by Lynch’s time living in a troubled neighborhood in Philadelphia. Lynch and his family spent five years living in an atmosphere of “violence, hate and filth”.[10] The area was rife with crime, inspiring the bleak urban backdrop of Eraserhead. Describing this period of his life, Lynch said, “I saw so many things in Philadelphia I couldn’t believe … I saw a grown woman grab her breasts and speak like a baby, complaining her nipples hurt. This kind of thing will set you back”.[5] Film critic Greg Olson, in his book David Lynch: Beautiful Dark, posits that this time contrasted starkly with the director’s childhood in the Pacific Northwest, giving the director a “bipolar, Heaven-and-Hell vision of America” which has subsequently shaped his films.

    Liberals typically fail to understand the conservative nature of Lynch’s vision. They cannot grasp the fact that he feels deep affection for small-town WASP America.

    • Replies: @Nathan
    , @Anon
    , @SunBakedSuburb
  3. syonredux says:

    But it’s rare for the minions below that rank to notice that the auteurs they idolize often don’t share their obsessive political conformism. The masses just can’t comprehend such a possibility.

    Yeah, I’ve had countless conversations with SJWs who simply fail to grasp the conservative nature of much of Lynch’s work, that, at its base, it has to do with his genuine love and aesthetic reverence for the Old America, the realm of small towns and Currier and Ives prints.The most obvious expression of this love is, of course, that most atypical (yet very Lynchian) of Lynch films, The Straight Story. But those sentiments can be discerned in even his darker works.Note, for example, how the aesthetic of Twin Peaks is firmly rooted in the ’50s, with the male adults wearing suits and the High School girls wearing dresses.And then there is the threatening darkness, personified by Bob, a jeans-wearing quasi-Hippy drifter. Note, too, how evil is associated with sexual freedom (Bob possessing a father and making him rape his daughter) while goodness is associated with restraint and self-control ( Kyle Maclachlan’s FBI agent turning down the sexual overtures made by a High School girl, etc)

    • Agree: Nathan
    • Replies: @Anon
    , @Svigor
  4. Nathan says:

    I’ve often suspected David Lynch of being a closeted right-winger, and that his films have been wildly misunderstood by left-leaning film snobs. Apart from his very sincere belief in transcendental meditation, there’s nothing about him at all to suggest the typical Hollywood liberal. All of his films portray male authority figures in at least a sympathetic, if not always effectual light. Think of Agent Cooper, MAJ Briggs, and Sheriff Truman from Twin Peaks. Evil is a real force in Lynch films, and preys on the weak and degenerate. Moral depravity is always depicted as repulsive and crude. His most memorable villains always have some sort of physical abnormality, like Frank Booth and his ether mask or the bloated Baron Harokonen.

    It’s also interesting to consider who in Hollywood would have been forced out of PC-lockstep as leftist culture became ever more strident. Could you imagine a Sam Peckinpah going along with any of this? He would have been ridden out of town on a rail if he had lived longer.

  5. Nathan says:
    @syonredux

    @syonredux

    This. It seems like liberals read a lot of irony and condescension into his movies that just isn’t there.

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
  6. Anon[144] • Disclaimer says:
    @syonredux

    Yeah, I’ve had countless conversations with SJWs who simply fail to grasp the conservative nature of much of Lynch’s work, that, at its base, it has to do with his genuine love and aesthetic reverence for the Old America, the realm of small towns and Currier and Ives prints.

    But he also subverts them and looks beneath the ruse. He tears through Norman Rockwellism and unearths the Dali-Bunuelism of the subconscious and the underground.

    So, if Lynch has rightist tendencies, it has less to do with nostalgia for good clean America but awareness of powerful sexual and pathological tendencies that drive people to madness. That makes him a pessimist who strives for some kind of order in a world of repressed chaos. He lacks the naivete of save-the-world optimism. He’s peered into the sewers of the human soul. Granted, he doesn’t wallow in the gunk like Robert Crumb does.

    There is some of this in Wolfe too though he was more of a nostalgia-ist. He looks past the ruse of official liberalism and conservatism and finds something more more primal and darker.

    More than meets the eye in Lynch.

    http://fq.ucpress.edu/content/54/1/26

    • Replies: @syonredux
    , @Nathan
    , @El Dato
  7. Having an interest in retro WASP aesthetics isn’t necessarily a sign of being socially conservative. Plenty of SWPL types are into retro aesthetics. Look at all the British period dramas produced by liberals. The main difference between conservatives and liberals in regard to aesthetics is that conservatives like consistently and liberals like eclecticism. A conservative who likes modern aesthetics will tend to dislike old stuff, while a conservatives who likes old aesthetics will tend to dislike modern stuff. In contrast, social liberals tend to like a mixture.

    For example, my conservative relatives tend to have tidy houses with restrained, coordinated furnishings, while my liberal relatives tend to have messy houses with an eclectic jumble of furnishings.

  8. Tyrion 2 says: • Website

    I know an older lady who is a pretty decent deal in the film industry. I don’t see her and her husband very often but they are well-disposed to me for various reasons.

    She is terrifyingly intelligent and socially aware. Talking to her is like to talking with a shark who has decided she likes you so will just play with you but not eat you.

    As they ply me with very nice drinks, I tend to get drunk and a bit embarrassing and incoherent. Nonetheless she seemed genuinely pleased when I let forth, in 2016, on my various basically moderate political views. Or as some refer to them, worse than Hitler.

    Indeed, she certainly encouraged me. There’s absolutely no doubt that her and her husband were big fans of Trump, like Coulter (and me), from the moment he descended the escalator and spoke plainly.

    I don’t know if she is open about such things in her work. They have a lot more than f*ck you money, so maybe.

    On the other hand, the gap between my and her ability to socialise was the biggest I’ve ever experienced; making her almost impossible to read.

    Hopefully I’ll see them soon, drink less and work it all out. I imagine though, that somehow I’ll end up not.

    Fun, lucrative industries often have a lot of outrageously bright people in them.

  9. syonredux says:
    @Anon

    But he also subverts them and looks beneath the ruse.

    Is it a ruse? Or a Burkean veil that protects us from horror….

    He tears through Norman Rockwellism and unearths the Dali-Bunuelism of the subconscious and the underground.

    He sees what lurks underneath, yes…..but he also sees value in those who fight against the darkness….

    So, if Lynch has rightist tendencies, it has less to do with nostalgia for good clean America but awareness of powerful sexual and pathological tendencies that drive people to madness. That makes him a pessimist who strives for some kind of order in a world of repressed chaos.

    Which is the definition of true conservatism….

    He lacks the naivete of save-the-world optimism.

    Save-the-world optimists are not conservative.

    • Replies: @Jefferson
    , @Anon
  10. syonredux says:
    @Nathan

    His most memorable villains always have some sort of physical abnormality, like Frank Booth and his ether mask or the bloated Baron Harokonen.

    I cannot imagine something like Lynch’s depiction of Baron Harkonnen being allowed today.The SJWs would riot….

    • Replies: @Nathan
  11. There are some elements of his later works which, if interpreted in certain ways, would absolutely see him face the modern inquisition.

  12. Flip says:

    Bill Bonner of Agora Financial has a similar take on DJT as a disruptor.

    https://bonnerandpartners.com/why-america-needs-a-barbarian/

  13. Tyrion 2 says: • Website
    @Anon

    Armond White is the only mainstream film critic to review Black Panther honestly. TLDR it was a snoozefest.

  14. Nathan says:
    @Anon

    “That makes him a pessimist who strives for some kind of order in a world of repressed chaos.”

    That is the most right-wing thing I’ve read all day.

  15. Nathan says:
    @syonredux

    Yes. I knew what clip that would be!

  16. @Anon

    Armond White is the most hated film critic in the country, widely seen as a purely contrarian troll. Did anybody else notable have the same reaction?

  17. His hairstyle looks like decoration squeezed from a pastry bag.

  18. Anonymous[299] • Disclaimer says:

    I like how Trump destroyed Beltway fashionable metropolitan identity… This was a boosterish chamber-of-commerce thing going back to JFK but really went into overdrive during Clinton/Bush/Obama’s regime (think “The West Wing” or “Scandal”). Of course there was always “running against D.C.” in local elections and a very repetitive, ineffectual style of complaining about profligate Washingtonians, which the objects of such criticism secretly enjoyed and were far too secure to be threatened by. It wouldn’t have been the same if another GOP had been nominated and had won, not that that was possible. You might say that the loathesome White House Correspondents Dinner would have faded out eventually, but I prefer the Trump method where he just dynamites the “grand tradition” of courtier affectation which had set in

  19. BB753 says:

    How long before Lynch is.. lynched by the #MeToo crowd?

    • Replies: @TheMediumIsTheMassage
  20. This is the same thing Tommy Chong has said, interestingly.

  21. Jefferson says:
    @syonredux

    “Save-the-world optimists are not conservative.”

    It’s not even realistic to save the entire world. A population of over 7 billion, the vast majority of which are dirt poor by Western Civilization standards.

    The U.S is rich but not THAT rich that we can lift most of them out of poverty, let alone all of them. That is why open borders is bat shit crazy banana republic voodoo economics.

  22. Anonymous[112] • Disclaimer says:
    @Nathan

    Transcendental meditation comes from the teachings of a Hindu Brahmin tantric guru, you don’t get much more right wing than that. It’s like Julius evola, but with greater clarity and more concentrated.

  23. Jefferson says:

    In Hollywood there is an underground group called Friends Of Abe. It’s an organization made up of Hollywood celebrities who are to the political Right of Peter Fonda.

    But we the public will never know who are the exact members of this group because they are afraid if they come out of the closet as Conservatives they will be Roseanne Barred from Hollywood and never get work in that industry again.

    In Hollywood not being a bat shit crazy Leftist is the equivalent of being a Homosexual in 1950s America, it’s best that you stay in the closet. Liberace went around telling media outlets in the 1950s that he was looking to find a special woman to marry one day, lol.

    • Replies: @Flip
  24. @BB753

    It doesn’t matter. He is one of the great auteurs of cinema in the crucial century following its birth as an art form. He is important to art history. In 1000 years people will be studying his films while #metoo is long forgotten. He is beyond their reach now, no matter what indignities they may visit upon him in life.

    • Replies: @BB753
  25. My favorite Lynch film would be Mulholland Drive. Saw it when I was younger and actually had time to watch films. First reaction upon seeing it–what the hell was that? Second viewing–this is an odd film but I think I see what he’s getting at. Third viewing–you realize why they call this guy a genius. Most stories can transition and be told in different media; a novel, a play, a movie, a TV series. MD is unimaginable as anything other than a movie, just as its hard to imagine Ulysses as anything other than a novel.

    The thing that’s so unique about MD is that he uses film not to give you a different physical viewpoint–most film sets the viewer up to be a fly on the wall, observing objective reality. Instead Lynch tries to put you inside a different consciousness, that is, put you inside someone to allow you to see all of their rationalizations and distortions of reality.

    And yes, deeply, deeply conservative. Fundamentally a tale about the fallibility of people, women specifically. Not a theme you see much in Hollywood where All People Have Dignity And Worth Particularly Women and Brown People. Sort of a bookend to Blue Velvet which looked at the ways males particularly come up short.

  26. I remember hearing rumors that Lynch supported Reagan, but the best that I could find was that Lynch basically liked Reagan’s sense of optimism and that perhaps he could be a force for good. Pretty much what Lynch said about Trump. Any change can be a force for good and if you think the system is broken, then only a radical change agent can shake things up. Lynch believes strongly in embracing change and serendipity which he sees not so much as serendipity, but the expression of something in the Universe. Change is not a goal, but simply the natural state of the Universe.

    As many have noted, the Liberal consensus on Lynch is that he undermines traditional Americana by showing the Dark Side, sort of like Sam Mendes attempted to do in the trash fire American Beauty. I see his films quite differently. Lynch accepts the Darkness or Shadow side as a function of the Universe itself. It cannot be eliminated, but that does not mean that it should be embraced either. Everything has a Shadow and without the Shadow, one would never know of or most importantly make the choice to embrace the Light.

  27. FKA Max says:

    Actually, I think it would be more accurate to call himself the “Eagle Scout from Spokane, Washington” ;-)

    The Lynch family often moved around according to where the USDA assigned Donald. It was because of this that when he was two months old, Lynch moved with his parents to Sandpoint, Idaho, and only two years after that, following the birth of his brother John, the family moved to Spokane, Washington. It was here that Lynch’s sister Martha was born. The family then moved to Durham, North Carolina, then Boise, Idaho, and then Alexandria, Virginia.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Lynch#Early_life

    Lynch said as much to the Chicago Tribune when Blue Velvet came out: “Lumberton is a little like Spokane. It was in Spokane that I became interested in things other than insects and the textures inside trees. It was there that the question of what’s inside the mind of a girl with red high-heeled shoes made me crazy.

    That girl in red shoes, whether she really existed or is merely symbolic of something intangible, has, in a weird way, manifested herself in all of Lynch’s film and television work. You could argue, then, that Lynch is an honorary Spokane filmmaker: Because so many elements of his art, from the doo-wop music to the clothing and hairstyles to the gee-whiz dialogue, are inextricably linked to the cultural iconography of the era when he lived here, one gets the sense that Lynch has been forever stuck in Spokane during the waning years of the Truman administration.

    https://www.inlander.com/spokane/building-a-mystery/Content?oid=4130683

    Maybe Lynch feels sympathy towards The Donald aka POTUS 45 because his father’s name was Donald?

    Lynch was born in Missoula, Montana on January 20, 1946.[9] His father, Donald Walton Lynch (1915–2007), was a research scientist working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and his mother, Edwina “Sunny” Lynch (née Sundholm; 1919–2004), was an English language tutor.

    “Blue Velvet is a very American movie. The look of it was inspired by my childhood in Spokane, Washington. Lumberton is a real name; there are many Lumbertons in America. I picked it because we would get police insignias and stuff, because it was an actual town. But then it took off in my mind.”

    “There is an autobiographical level to the movie. Kyle is dressed like me. My father was a research scientist for the Department of Agriculture in Washington. We were in the wood all the time.”

    “When I was little, my brother and I were outdoors late one night, and we saw a naked woman come walking down the street toward us in a dazed state, crying. I have never forgotten that moment.”

    - http://www.thecityofabsurdity.com/bluevelvet/bvabout.html

    • Replies: @Rohirrimborn
  28. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says:
    @syonredux

    The film’s [Erasherad] tone was also shaped by Lynch’s time living in a troubled neighborhood in Philadelphia. Lynch and his family spent five years living in an atmosphere of “violence, hate and filth”.[10]

    But I don’t think ERASERHEAD is a social commentary about urban decay. Instead, I think Lynch found in the industrial decay of Philadelphia a useful metaphor for the workings of the body.

    Society and a person have one thing in common. They both put forth a pretty face. So, every city has the nice parts with skyscrapers, museums, gardens, and etc. But what really makes a society work are the grimy factories, slaughterhouses, warehouses, sewage systems, and etc.
    Likewise, a woman will try to look pretty and stylish with nice dress and makeup. But she consumes dead animals that turn to shi* inside her gut. And all that ritual of looking nice is to find mates with whom to have animal-sex with. Even in the nicest and cleanest nations, look into the factories, slaughterhouses, sewage systems, and trash dumps. All that stuff may be well-hid but no society can function without that ugly stuff.

    And ERASERHEAD is a work of surrealism that approximates consciousness arising from the bilious juices of sex, digestion, and excretion.

    Trump is a Lynchian character. He is both the hero and villain of BLUE VELVET. He talks of making America great again, serving the workers, and restoring order. But he’s been a sleazo all his life, even paying big bucks to bang Stormy Daniels. MAGA is a like a combination of Norman Rockwell and Penthouse. He is a dream wrapped in a nightmare wrapped in a dream and etc.

    And when we look at Trump, Kim Jong Un, Macron, Dennis Rodman, Merkel, and etc., it’s almost like a world imagined by Lynch.

    • Replies: @black sea
  29. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says:
    @syonredux

    Is it a ruse? Or a Burkean veil that protects us from horror….

    So much of ‘conservative’ norms and aesthetics are a ruse. They are amnesiac and ‘family-friendly’. The opening image of the perfect idyllic suburb in BLUE VELVET lulls one into believing that there was no history, no struggle, no conflict. Everything is just so sunny and bucolic. It’s as if this Nice Ideal America had always existed.

    This is why so many ‘conservatives’ were ill-equipped for the Struggle. They were complacent in their beliefs and convictions. They took things for granted. They believed in Nice America of Nice People doing Nice Things. So, we just need to be Nice and More Nice and all will work out. But in fact, the US was founded through massive violence on other peoples and on nature. It was not some dream but a reality created by struggle and violence. But the ruse of Nice Conservatism makes one naive and simple-minded. It’s like how Buddha was raised in the false Eden by his father. So, when he saw real reality, he freaked. And so many ‘conservatives’ who were raised on Nice Myths either remain simple-minded or become so disillusioned that they turn hard-radical.

    It’s like we take health for granted, but illness can hit us at any moment. So, the man collapses in the Nice Suburbs in the opening of BLUE VELVET. And then we see the Dali-Bunuelian-Kafka-Burroughsy ants crawling all through the grass, reminding us that humans too are organisms caught in eternal struggle and conflict… something that soon involves the young hero in lust, fear, dominance, revenge. He has to save a woman from a man who is a ‘baby who wants to f***’. Milius went there too but with more mythology than psychology.

    Lynch is part of counter-culture that used drugs. But if some people went flaky and new age with the experience, Lynch found something dark and morbid from the experience. In this, he shares something with David Cronenberg who is also ideologically ambiguous. Cronenberg fears the ‘Aryan Right’ but is also intensely tribal and paranoid. And very pessimistic and skeptical about human nature. David Mamet is the same way. Being oddball and bohemian, they obviously have liberal tendencies because creativity, especially following modernism, is about originality and strangeness, which have been more welcomed by Liberals than by Conservatives who are, culturally, either traditionalist or totally philistine. It’s a fact that even profoundly conservative artists will have a bigger audience among Liberals than among Conservatives. Many more Liberals than Conservatives care about Bresson and Tarkovsky.

    Unlike Nice Conservatives, Lynch is fascinated with the ‘degenerate’. He sees it part of existence. Our bodies are filled with germs and decay and rot. Niceness is necessary as a ruse but is a ruse just the same. Delve into reality, and it’s a chaotic mess. And religions are the same way. Conservatives prefer a ‘family values’ religion, but read the Bible closely and it’s one hellish tale.
    Scorsese’s LAST TEMPTATION isn’t very good, but it gets to the heart of something that borders on the Lynchian. If Jesus was Man(as well as God), then he had to overcome all the biological processes of man that is filled with lust, hate, anger, and terror. Christians take for granted that Jesus is the holy Son of God whose image and story should be handled with respect. But before Jesus became the Holy Myth, what did he have to go through to rise above biology? Such question puts off many Conservatives. It’s like Pat Buchanan just dismisses LAST TEMPTATION as satanic. He did like PASSION by Gibson that is bloody and gory but still a very conventional telling of Jesus story. It’s all about Jesus was so tough he could take one hell of a beating. There is little in the sense of inner struggle.

    Which is the definition of true conservatism….

    What is true conservatism according to most people who profess to be ‘conservatives’? It’s usually confused. Most ‘conservatives’ in the US want to keep it Nice, which is why people who ask deeper and uncomfortable questions like Richwine and Derbyshire have been fired by Heritage and National Review. It’s gotten so ridiculous that the socialist George Orwell now seems more conservative than most people who call themselves ‘conservatives’.

    ANIMAL FARM should be re-read as HBD tale. Humans are so much like farm animals. Humans differ according to ability and personality. Some people are more able in certain areas than in other areas. And people have wide range of personality from passive to aggressive. And we see these differences not only among individuals but among races and ethnic groups.
    In the end, why do pigs come out on top in ANIMAL FARM? It isn’t so much because they are evil. It’s just their nature that favors them. Without humans to maintain control, the logic of biology plays out and favors certain animals for domination and control. Pigs are highest in mental ability and more obsessive in appetite. Pigs are the smartest farm animals and the most hungry/voracious. In the end, nature takes over and favors certain groups over others. End of History is the same way. It’s no surprise that globalism favors those with the most hunger and most ability, those who are most piglike in IQ and ambition, those for whom enough is never enough; they want more and more and they got the brains and cunning to get it.
    And this return of biology is something Lynch dealt with too. Sperm and stomach dictate behavior in ERASERHEAD. Elephant Man cannot escape what he is. The main character’s heroism in BLUE VELVET is inspired by lust, revenge, and pride. He enters the Minotaur’s cave. Selywn cannot escape biology in MUL DR. Despite her fantasies, she is less talented and less attractive.

  30. Svigor says:

    He is undecided about Donald Trump. “He could go down as one of the greatest presidents in history because he has disrupted the thing so much

    THIS. I was thinking exactly this, again, the other day. That I love Trump just because he’s so up in TPTB’s shit all the time, that he has caused them to so thoroughly lose their minds, that he treats them all with the very little respect they deserve (he’s actually too respectful, but nobody’s perfect).

  31. Svigor says:
    @syonredux

    Twin Peaks is very retro and conservative. We’ve seen leftists set up the Stepford Wives schtick so many times, we expect it in Twin Peaks, but no, Lynch is playing it straight.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  32. black sea says:
    @Anon

    You’re comment is quite interesting. It reminds me in certain ways of the observations of Elias Canetti on the role in the human psyche of consumption and digestion. You can see a bit of what he has to say here:

    http://simorgh.de/niceswine/from-elias-canetti-crowds-and-power-the-entrails-of-power

    I think you’ve also made a interesting point about Trump, and a number of other political figures, as Lynchian characters.

    Think of what Lynch could do with the sexual and psychological labyrinth of the Clinton marriage, and of their at-times aligned and at-times antagonistic political ambitions. Or of the Bush family, for that matter, with George Senior as the emotionally disengaged, Olympian father to George W., the bumbling and painfully earnest prodigal son, who can never quite come to grips with the dark complexities of power, even as he leads his nation into a reckless war.

    Truth outpaces fiction.

  33. Mr. Anon says:
    @Nathan

    Blue Velvet could also be construed as a fundmentally conservative movie. The good characters are all mostly squares; the bad ones are obvious weirdoes and degenerates. Elephant Man included a fairly sympathetic portrayal of 19th century upper middle-class english society. And Dune was rather reactionary.

  34. “I hacked around in St. Petersburg
    when I saw it was a time for a change.
    (who, whom)
    (who, whom)”

  35. @Clifford Brown

    Nice people from small towns are mired in orginal sin, too.

  36. @Anon

    Provocative essay, as usual.

    “Our bodies are filled with germs and decay and rot.”

    Comments here, interesting as always, speak of the terror, the discord and emotional upheaval that lies just below the veneer of civilized life. This is our 20th-century, Freudian insight into psychic life.

    But what constitutes health and subdues the “germs, decay and rot”, what spins the veneer–and the veneer is not just a coverup–is the harmonic integrity of the organism. Well-being is a verb. There is no protection, no safety except in strength. Strength is health. Health is good habits. Good habits = square = fundamentally conservative since conservatives believe there is something worth preserving and are willing to act on that belief.

    Liberalism is all about living in the moment. Eliminating the gap between knowing subject and self as object. It is a reaction against consciousness because consciousness implies responsibility and that entails accepting guilt for having caused suffering in the other. The Liberal is tormented by anxiety of condemnation and seeks to live a guilt-free existence. A conservative recognizes that guilt is implicit in being human; that to live is to eat, to eat is to murder. And we all need a place to live and that means that someone else isn’t going to get to live in that place. A cannot be both A and non A. It’s simple Aristotelian logic. The basic Law of Identity. So scram, buddy. There’s just some guilt involved in being an organism going about its own business of living.

    Liberals favor psychic experiences that erase the conscious Self. They’re into rowdy partying, drugs, trances, rock concerts, anything that puts the self into the Eternal Now. Conservatives recoil from the Eternal Now because they don’t want to forsake control; they fear that “germs, decay and rot” will take over if they let go. Liberals trust in life itself, like a concert goer who throws himself into the air, trusting that the crowd will catch him before he falls to the floor. Conservatives trust and protect their hard-earned integrity.

    Liberalism is fun, a kind of dream, but it is no place to spend a lifetime if one wants to accomplish much. Accomplishing much requires concerted effort and the tyranny of concerted effort is precisely what liberals want liberation from. They want to be in the NOW and concerted effort involves foresight, a downer. “I don’t want to hear that” or “I don’t have to listen to this” are liberals’ defenses against anything that threatens their taking child-like pleasure in the moment.

  37. I love David Lynch. He’s the closest we have in this barren age to a Beethoven or a Dickens – perhaps most comparable to the former. On the question of left-right sympathies, it’s worth looking at the idea of ‘conspiracies’ in his movies and TV.

    Mulholland Drive and and Twin Peaks the Return are full of ‘elite conspiracy’ imagery and thematic fragments. (the espresso spewing producers in MD, the unseen billionaire trying to capture the transdimensional being in TPR). What makes Lynch’s treatment of these conspiracies politically more interesting than in Hollywood/academia is that they are presented simultaneously as ‘fantasies’ of marginalized characters and as absolutely ‘real’ aspects of our culture. Lynch is aware of how marginalization warps the “deplorable’s” consciousness but he also knows how predatory elites really are trying to capture the spiritual energies of the universe and turn them into cash.

    These things are hard to articulate but I think, as others here have pointed out, that Lynch’s conservatism comes from a respect for the dialectic of Apollo and Dionysus that comprises the universe – a respect that one finds in the great conservative minds – Aeschylus, Shakespeare, Nietzsche, Carlyle, that borders on nihilism, but retrieves from the ‘dark side’ great negentropic energies. ‘Bad’ elites are all fake Apollo, while unleashing anarchy. The good ones harness chaos for order.

  38. @Simple Song

    And yes, deeply, deeply conservative. Fundamentally a tale about the fallibility of people, women specifically.

    My past ‘defense’ of Mulholland Drive. (#110)

    My conclusion then [Spoilers ahead!] :

    [MORE]

    One exquisite thing about Mulholland Drive’s perfect ending is the elegiac empathy Lynch shows to Diane/Betty in the montage of (imagined) starlet glory and true love, a particular soul’s highest hopes and dreams, echoing somewhere after having been dashed in a crashing arc overwatched by dark, knowing, otherworldly beings in the form of the Winkie’s creature (God?) and the baroque dame in the theater balcony.

    Diane has done terrible things (to possibly terrible people), having come to the inescapable, unbearable conclusion that sometimes you can’t always get what you want, nor what you desperately need. For those initial innocents who ‘awakened’ fully to life and utterly lost all, even going so far as to fall headlong into murderous, self-annihilating damnation, Lynch hints there may still be a chance to sleep and dream sweet dreams.

    “And yet we hear a band.”

  39. Anon[399] • Disclaimer says:

    Degeneration Gap sounds about right.

  40. JL says:

    I’ve always been a huge David Lynch fan. The original Twin Peaks was brilliant, as was the Return. How refreshing it was to watch a TV series with an all-white cast, free of the trans racial, trans gender representations that seem today obligatory and ubiquitous.

  41. @FKA Max

    Maybe Lynch feels sympathy towards The Donald aka POTUS 45 because his father’s name was Donald?

    I think that may have something to do with it. Also consider that they’re almost exactly the same age. Both born in 1946.

    Regarding the name Donald I can share a little family gossip about how our POTUS came by the name. My father had just come to this country from Canada after WWII and was a resident doctor in NYC. After the future president was born the mother needed emergency surgery to stem internal bleeding. My father’s mentor Dr. Donald Davis performed the surgery and the grateful parents named their newborn after him. I knew Dr. Davis all my life. Funny thing is he never used Donald. His nickname was “Ding” and everyone knew him as Ding Davis. When Dr. Davis paseed away about 15 years ago my father called Trump to apprise him of his passing.

    • Replies: @FKA Max
  42. Flip says:
    @Jefferson

    Was Abe Lincoln really a conservative?

  43. Hodag says:

    Back in the 80s when he made Dune, I read an interview of Lynch in Rolling Stone where he said he Naired a mouse. Peculiar lad.

    Great taste in starlets, tho. The original set in Twin Peaks stand out in the memory.

    • Replies: @syonredux
  44. Anonymous[777] • Disclaimer says:
    @Svigor

    Twin Peaks is from the 80s, so of course it’s retro.

    Rewatching it brings out the mystery of “reduced horizon” which existed before mobiles and twitter-twatter and internet-in-every-device and GPS in your pocket. Maybe ironically, it influenced quite a few video games.

    You don’t know what’s going on. Maybe there is nothing going on. Maybe to know what’s going on you need to have help from paranormal forces. Who knows! It’s a great soap, which should never have had any reveal.

    • Replies: @Svigor
  45. BB753 says:
    @TheMediumIsTheMassage

    Next you’ll tell us Dune and Twin Peaks were masterpieces too!

  46. @syonredux

    ” … the fact that he feels deep affection for small-town WASP America.”

    Yes, the affection is there. But Lynch also presents the skeins beneath these towns; the scarlet threads of madness and murder.

    • Replies: @syonredux
  47. @Nathan

    ” … liberals read a lot of irony and condescension into his movies that just isn’t there.”

    So true. Lynch is incredibly sincere, which is something poseurs and hacks can’t comprehend.

  48. @Simple Song

    I believe Mulholland Drive, a reworked TV pilot, is Lynch’s masterpiece.

  49. “But it’s rare for the minions below that rank to notice that the auteurs they idolize often don’t share their obsessive political conformism.”

    For many minions, conformism, while soul-destroying, is the key to vocational survival. Lynch is a creator whose primary interest is metaphysics. He is beyond parochial politics.

  50. syonredux says:
    @Hodag

    Great taste in starlets, tho. The original set in Twin Peaks stand out in the memory.

    Indeed:

    • Replies: @Svigor
  51. Svigor says:
    @Anonymous

    It was retro when it came out. Cooper is from the fifties.

  52. Svigor says:
    @syonredux

    And that’s leaving out delectable Heather Graham and Sheryl Lee. Not to mention the MILF waitress I’m not going to look up. Oh, and Joan Chen, who was never really to my taste (for Asian chicks Ariane Koizumi in The Year of the Dragon did it for me), but was played up as quite the beauty in the plot.

    • Replies: @syonredux
  53. syonredux says:
    @SunBakedSuburb

    ” … the fact that he feels deep affection for small-town WASP America.”

    Yes, the affection is there. But Lynch also presents the skeins beneath these towns; the scarlet threads of madness and murder.

    Which indicates his conservatism. The true conservative (Hawthorne, Kipling, Lovecraft) knows what lurks beneath the veil….

  54. syonredux says:
    @Svigor

    And that’s leaving out delectable Heather Graham and Sheryl Lee. Not to mention the MILF waitress I’m not going to look up.

    Peggy Lipton.Truly beautiful woman. Here she is standing next to the twenty-four years younger Mädchen Amick:

    Oh, and Joan Chen, who was never really to my taste (for Asian chicks Ariane Koizumi in The Year of the Dragon did it for me), but was played up as quite the beauty in the plot.

    Ariane vs Joan Chen. Quite a match-up:

    • Replies: @BB753
  55. BB753 says:
    @syonredux

    Didn’t Peggy Lipton marry Quincy Jones, of all people? WTF!

    • Replies: @syonredux
  56. syonredux says:
    @BB753

    Didn’t Peggy Lipton marry Quincy Jones, of all people? WTF!

    Yep. Their daughter is Rashida Jones:

  57. FKA Max says:
    @Rohirrimborn

    Amazing!

    Thanks very much for sharing this story with us!

  58. Svigor says:
    @syonredux

    Very reminiscent of 2001, even before the shot enters the cloud.

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