Thoughts on David Lynch and Attempting the Impossible

by huntgathersemiotics

What does reality really resemble?

Enculturations (?) Socializations (?) Dreams (?)

Is your reality more realer than my reality? Are our realities equally real? Or are they just pre-constructed elements of Time?

Is reality itself a series of illusions that we perform out of habit?

Colin McCabe writes that reality is made up of beliefs, relations, and knowledge.

If that is true, are we all just a bunch of surrealist poets? Dreamers?

Who knows how to respond to these questions?

Random fact: I have David Lynch on speed dial—- and last week I called him up, posing these same questions in hopes that he would give me all the answers I had been desperately searching for since the age of 2 (after I found Santa Claus the Tooth Fairy were just American Myths).Our conversation was short because I had a dentist appointment to go to…. And all Lynch did was repeat some Sufism scripture.

Lynch said, “Jessica Megan. The Logos is also Light: when chaos, the abysmal darkness, ended and moved toward order, Light came into being, of which wisdom is only a reflection.”

I wasn’t really enlightened by his response. It made no sense. But then, we have to ask ourselves what makes sense in this world besides the senses of cinema?

That is what I like about Lynch’s style. It truly doesn’t make the least bit of sense. And that is what makes it so real. Reality doesn’t sense make.

In Twin Peaks the dislocation of sound and image interpellate the cinematic spectator into the realms of visual familiarity and aural absurdity. The theme song evokes similar melodramatic theme songs heard on American day-time soap opera “One Life To Live” or “General Hospital”—-and the naturalistic setting of Twin Peaks becomes overly sentimental through this sound and through the over-romanticized visions of nature and industry. How many times in your life do you see a lumber saw represented in a delicate manner, sawing metal to the ambient sounds of chirping birds and melodic synthesizer keyboards?

Similarly, a scene from Mulholland Drive illuminates a film studio recording of a lip-synched version of the song “16 Reasons Why I Love You”. The song, sung by a 50’s looking A cappella group looks like they were plucked straight out the American sitcom Happy Days. The women singers are dressed in tangerine or pink-colored puffy-glamour-prom-gowns and the men singers are clothed in purplish-blue tuxedos with dark pants. The lighting gives everything a surreal feeling. The A cappella group sings with excessive sentimentality, they sing with little twinkles in their eyes, and as the camera pans backwards we are reminded, once again, that it is an illusion. They are just actors. And this is just a scene being recorded for a movie.

This is the Lynchian Pathos of Persuasion. As a cinematic spectator, I am driven by the desire to believe in the cinema’s image, but this belief grows from (my subjective belief) of what the tragedy of the image represents: the vicarious and superficiality of this world.

What does it mean to look?
What does it mean to have eyes?
Is cinema itself Kitsch art?
Is emotion itself a rendering of the imagination?
Are these questions just a self-created response to a self-created response?

The pondering of reality continues….