Download The Philosophy of David Lynch (The Philosophy of Popular Culture) PDF

TitleThe Philosophy of David Lynch (The Philosophy of Popular Culture)
PublisherThe University Press of Kentucky
ISBN 139780813133966
CategoryArts - Film
Author
Language
File Size1021.7 KB
Total Pages257
Table of Contents
                            Copyright page
Contents
Acknowledgments
Introduction
"The Owls Are Not What They Seem"
Intuition and Investigation into Another Place
The Horrors of Life's Hidden Mysteries
The Thing about David Lynch
The World as Illusion
All Roads Lead to the Self
City of Dreams
Constellations of the Flesh
David Lynch's Road Films
Lynch's Zarathustra
"There's a Sort of Evil Out There"
"In Heaven Everything Is Fine"
The Monster Within
Prophesies, Experience, and Proof
Contributors
Index
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 2

� e Philosophy of David Lynch

Page 128

City of Dreams 119

� e amnesia that a� ects Rita is also signi� cant. � ough it is a conven-
tion of the noir genre designed to created suspense, amnesia also has special
psychological signi� cance in Mulholland Dr. Clearly, it works to reinforce
the message that humans repress traumatic truths of their existence. It also
serves an important function in the context of Diane’s illusion. Keeping in
mind that Camilla is simultaneously the object of Diane’s a� ection and the
cause of her pain, one can read Rita’s amnesia as a psychologically satisfying
solution unconsciously cra� ed by Diane’s subconscious to overcome the
problem of her romantic abandonment. Speci� cally, if Camilla’s decision to
end the relationship with Diane can be attributed—in the context of the illu-
sion—to a problem in Rita (Camilla), as opposed to a lack in Diane, Diane’s
self-concept can remain intact. � e breakup with Camilla can be read as an
unfortunate consequence of the fact that she has literally forgotten who she
is and what is important to her, rather than a consequence of the fact that
Diane is no longer of interest or use to her.

Rita’s donning of a blond wig is also expressive of Diane’s deep-seated
desire to reunite with her beloved. Midway through the � lm, Rita playfully
simulates Betty’s appearance by putting on a cropped blond wig. Lynch
furthers the impression of doubling through quick edits and diminished
focus. Rita’s identity blurs with that of Betty. In Being and Nothingness,
Sartre o� ers a close analysis of romantic love and suggests that individuals
seek to “appropriate” the objects of their desire. � e visual assimilation into
self that Rita’s game of dress-up represents is expressive of Diane’s desire to
“possess” Rita, more speci� cally, Camilla. Interestingly, the visual collapse
of Rita’s identity that is facilitated by the charade also alludes to the fact that
the dominant plot is an illusion emanating from one character: Diane.27

Like Rita, Betty too ful� lls Diane’s psychological needs. Presented in
unequivocally positive terms, Betty represents Diane’s ideal self. Rather
than be delegated to the periphery as Diane is, Betty is center stage in a
life-and-death drama. She is the female lead in a compelling Hollywood
tale. She captivates producers with her acting talent, and rather than su� er
love lost, Betty commands the a� ections of her dark and deeply alluring
costar, a� ections that Diane was unable to control in life. In short, Betty
is the converse of Rita. She is the buoyant golden girl who embodies in-
nocence, enthusiasm, charity, and loyalty. Unlike Diane and Rita, Betty is
clear-headed and una� ected by any psychological weakness. She possesses
all the talent that Diane lacks. Her savvy and self-possession are qualities
Diane desperately wants.

Page 129

120 Jennifer McMahon

Rather than serve the purposes of self-consolation, other features of
Diane’s illusion serve as psychic substitutes for the truths that Diane seeks
to suppress. As mentioned previously, Rita’s adoption of Betty’s appearance
serves to suggest that the dominant plot is a dream stamped with Diane’s
identity. In addition, Rita’s portrayal as the dark mistress not only aligns
her with the femme fatale of noir, it also works in the context of Diane’s
illusion to express Diane’s ambivalence toward Camilla. Camilla is Diane’s
beloved, but she is also her betrayer. As such, Diane both loves and loathes
her. Rita’s dark portrayal and the suspicion and uncertainty that surround
her character eff ectively articulate the ambivalence Diane harbors toward
Rita’s real correlate: Camilla. As a psychological reading of the fi rst scene of
Rita’s attempted murder suggests, Camilla is the one that Diane wants—but
loves too much—to kill.

Another signifi cant feature of the vignettes is the horrifying fi gure of the
homeless man who appears repeatedly. No harmless tramp, this character is
menacing, even monstrous. He inspires anxiety in the audience not only by
virtue of his grotesque appearance, but also because he compels horror in
other characters. As the vignette in the diner illustrates, the homeless man is
the creature who haunts people’s dreams and whose presence is suffi cient to
rob them of consciousness. Th is latter fact is of particular interest when one
reads the homeless man in symbolic terms. Clearly, insofar as his appearance
is disheveled and his presence random, he both embodies the absurd and
represents its eff ects. He is both representative of the absurd and the man
made a stranger by absurdity, the individual who is no longer at “home” in
the world. As the diner incident reveals, the homeless man is who we want
to avoid lest we too become infected. He carries the germ of truth against
which we attempt to inoculate ourselves with lies.28

When one considers Diane’s illusion, the homeless man is also represen-
tative of mortality. He is a fearful character because he is representative of a
fearful truth. As death, the homeless man robs individuals of consciousness,
as he does the dark-haired man in Winkie’s diner. Supporting the notion
that the homeless man represents death is the fact that he is synonymous in
appearance to the decaying corpse that Betty and Rita discover. Th e earthen
tones and decay of the two fi gures are analogous and contrast sharply to the
pristine Technicolor in which Betty and Rita are usually presented. Th e visual
association between the two entities is also signifi cant because it allows one
to read the corpse that Betty and Rita discover as an unconscious represen-
tation of Diane’s suicidal impulse. While Betty represents Diane’s ideal self,

Page 256

Index 247

Pierre the Frenchman, 8–9
Plato, 75n1, 95
plot, 1, 117, 120, 122, 179, 181, 191, 193–94

See also narrative
pluralism, 95
point of view, 26, 66–70, 128, 130–34, 136,

139–40
postmodernism, 37, 113, 182
power, 51, 55, 58, 180

See also will
prajna, 98
pratītya-samutpāda, 88
premises, of an argument, 11–14, 16,

18–21, 78, 80–81
See also argument

Presley, Elvis, 146–48
pro-choice position, 192–93
prophesy, 122, 226–27, 234
psychoanalysis, 26, 61–63
Pulowski, Ronette, 31
purpose. See meaning

reality, 3, 12, 28, 37, 45, 48, 118, 122,
124–25n1, 175–76, 236

manipulation of, 7
real world, 11, 17, 43n28, 80, 159, 178
Rear Window (� lm), 45, 59n1
rebellion, 4, 143, 147–51
reciprocity, 140–41
religion, 4, 47, 53, 116, 163

beliefs and philosophy, 200, 223n9,
225–29, 231–36

Eastern, 175
revelation, 4, 178, 235
Rhodes, Camilla, 69, 78, 79, 81, 85–87, 118–20
Ripley, Sailor, 4, 11, 22, 145–55
Rita, 27, 31, 33, 43n28, 73–75, 79, 81–82,

85, 87, 116–21
Rodley, Chris, 27, 38, 185
Roquentin, 114–15, 124
Rosen� eld, Albert, 21, 182
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 211

salvation, 166, 218
samsara, 86
Śankara, 86
Sargeant, Jack, 147
Sartre, Jean-Paul, 50–51, 110n3, 113–16,

118–19, 123–24, 129, 145–48, 152–54,
200–202

satori, 99, 101, 109, 111n7
Saving Private Ryan (� lm), 76n10
Schindler’s List (� lm), 76n10

Schopenhauer, Arthur, 46, 48–50, 53–54,
59, 60n6

Scorsese, Martin, 96
seeing. See Look, the
self, 3, 77–78, 83, 88, 96–99, 101–5, 143,

145, 148–50, 164, 212, 220–22
awareness of, 225
becoming, 159–61
deception of, 3, 53, 57, 113–14, 116, 118,

121–24
and subjectivity, 135–36, 138–40

self-overcoming (Selbst-Überwindung),
159–60, 162, 165–69

self-reliance, 186, 200
Selwyn, Diane, 2, 26–27, 41n6, 43n28,

68–69, 73–74, 79, 81, 87, 117–24
sex, 1, 7, 48, 51–52, 54–55, 71–72, 74, 76n8,

105, 152–53, 196, 204–5n8
drives, 46, 50

Shaddam Corrino IV, Padishah emperor,
225, 231

skepticism, 34, 36, 38, 102
Slim, 8–9, 18
slippery slope, 21–22

See also fallacy
social contract, 211
socialization, 210–13, 215
social order, 208–15, 221
society, 4, 98–99, 210, 212, 214, 218,

220–21
conformity in, 208–10, 212, 215–16
equality in, 209, 211, 213, 216, 221

soul, 20, 47, 75n1, 95, 115, 169, 183–84,
186, 208–9, 220

See also spirit
space, 7, 66–68, 72, 78, 80, 84, 97, 107, 130,

132, 141, 144, 172n7, 225
Spencer, Henry, 2, 13–14, 28, 62, 67–68,

76n8, 190–98, 200–204, 204n1, 204n6,
204–5n8

spice melange, 225, 234–36
Spielberg, Steven, 76n10
spirit, 46, 54, 118, 160, 164, 176–77, 181,

184, 186, 213–14
See also soul

statements, in arguments, 11–13, 21
Stein, Edith, 137, 140
stereotypes, 8–10
Sternwood, Judge, 180
Straight, Alvin, 1, 4, 20, 127–28, 131, 133–34,

137, 141–55, 159–60, 165–66, 170
Straight, Lyle, 22, 127, 132–33, 150, 155,

159, 167

Page 257

248 Index

Straight Story (fi lm), 1, 4, 20, 127, 131–34,
137, 140–41, 144–45, 149–55, 159, 171

subject, nature of, 77–78, 86–89, 91n15
subjects and objects of desire, 101–5, 109
sublime, the, 3, 63, 75n1
“Success” (Emerson), 180
suff ering, 3, 54, 59, 60n6, 101–3
suicide, 115–17, 120, 122, 183, 193

philosophical, 114
supernatural, the, 25, 28–29, 32, 37–38,

223n9
surrealism, 7, 17, 20, 52, 113, 121
Suzuki, D. T., 95–96, 110, 111n7, 112n23
Suzuki, Shunryu, 98–99, 101, 106, 111n7
symbolic order, 70, 75

Talmud, 181
Tao-Te-Ching, 181
theology, 95, 200, 205
Th ing, the, 3, 61–75
Th omas Aquinas, 200
� us Spoke Zarathustra (Nietzsche),

159–60
time, 84, 86–87, 97, 124

and space, 77–78, 80, 84, 86, 107, 130
Todorov, Tzvetan, 80
traditional ethics. See morality
transcendentalism, 4, 178
Transcendental Meditation, 111n9, 111n17,

148, 175, 186
transformation, 169, 209, 218–19, 227, 232,

234–36
Treves, Frederick, 19–20, 128, 135, 137–39,

207–9, 216–18, 220–21, 223n13
Truman, Sheriff Harry, 15, 19, 28, 33,

177–78, 182
Twilight of the Idols (Nietzsche), 199
Twin Peaks (TV series), 1–4, 13–15, 17–19,

21, 25–33, 35–40, 40–41n1, 43n26, 64,
99, 175–87, 189

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (fi lm), 18,
26, 35–36, 38, 175, 177, 185, 187n8

typecasting. See stereotypes

uncanniness, 65, 215
unconscious, the, 27, 68–69, 76n9, 80

collective, 163–65, 167–68, 170
personal, 163

unifi ed fi eld, 147, 149
unity, 96, 99, 103–4, 109–10, 147, 175,

178–79, 184–86, 210, 212–13
Upadeśa Sāhasrī, 86
Upanişads, 83

Vallens, Dorothy, 16, 43n28, 48–59
Vertigo (fi lm), 45
Vico, Giambattista, 172n8
Vinton, Bobby, 45
violence, 3, 43n28, 45–48, 51–52, 69, 74,

108, 129, 141, 182, 215
virtue (arête), 143
vision

aesthetic, 37
Lynch’s, 106, 147–48, 175–76, 185
philosophical, 96–97, 103, 108–9, 147,

184, 186
visions, 2, 17–18, 28, 32, 35, 91n15, 164,

225–27, 234–35
voyeurism, 16, 50–51, 128, 140

Wakefi eld, Alice, 79, 81–82, 87–88,
100–101, 105–7

water of life, 226–28, 230–31, 235–36
Wild at Heart (fi lm), 2, 11–12, 22, 61, 68,

74, 99, 144–54, 156n5
Wild Strawberries (fi lm), 190
will, 46, 49, 149–50, 163
Williams, Detective, 47–48, 56–59
Williams, Mrs., 48
Williams, Sandy, 33, 37, 42n17, 48–49,

52–54, 56–59, 66
will to power, 53, 60n4, 160–62
will to truth, 160, 171n4
Wittgenstein, Ludwig, 4, 198, 202–4

See also morality
Wizard of Oz, � e (fi lm), 22, 144–47, 151
woman in the radiator. See Lady in the

Radiator
Wonderful Wizard of Oz, � e (Baum), 159
world, 2–4, 7, 10, 12, 22–23, 26, 29, 32–33,

35–38, 48, 50–52, 59, 67–70, 97–98,
100–101, 114–15, 123, 129–32, 136,
155, 161, 170, 176–79, 184, 186–87,
227, 235

Lynchian, 3, 7, 18–19, 21, 62–63, 73, 75,
79–80, 87, 89, 90n2, 122, 176

phenomenal, 77–78, 80, 82–86, 89, 90n9

Yueh, Dr. Wellington, 229

Zarathustra, 4, 159–66, 167–69, 171
zazen, 99
Žižek, Slavoj, 62, 67, 69–72, 74–75

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