Mar 10, 2018

Claire Dolan

While it might sound like a crock of shit to most men (and women), I can say unequivocally that I would never under any circumstances voluntarily fuck a prostitute and there is a number of reasons for this, though it is mainly because I find few things less arousing than the prospect of penetrating an internally necrotic mess that has literally set a specific price to smash her overly used and abused gash.  Additionally, when it comes to vaginas, there is no fun in being able to open a lock that can be unlocked with any key.  On the other hand, I have developed a certain unexpected and misplaced (and probably delusional) empathy for these forsaken women, mainly due to my chronic cinephilia and affinity for filmmakers that have bravely tackled the subject in various ways, including Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Paul Morrissey, Paul Verhoeven, Walerian Borowczyk, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Federico Fellini, Andy Milligan, and Frank Henenlotter, among countless other examples. In fact, when it comes to streetwalkers in sinema, I think I have a pretty eclectic understanding of the subject and do not feel like I am being even remotely hyperbolic when I declare that Claire Dolan (1998) directed by underrated American auteur Lodge Kerrigan (Clean, Shaven, Keane) is indubitably one of the most intimately brutal, nuanced, and tightly constructed of these taboo-driven studies in carnal (self)degradation. In short, while the film might depict various sex acts and nudity, it is about as sexy as the prospect of masturbating with sandpaper or reusing a used semen-and-menstrual-blood-soaked condom, as Kerrigan’s film is an unconventionally humanistic neo-Bressonian experiment in the slow-burning despoilment of the soul as a strangely foreboding cinematic work where the viewer is forced to confront the fact that being a whore is more of a metaphysical affliction than a simple urban black market trade. As far as I am concerned, fucking a pussy-peddler is something akin to spiritual necrophilia, or so one might assume if they are fully willing to embrace Kerrigan’s keenly cold yet somehow strikingly empathetic and understated quasi-realist celluloid nightmare. 

 Undoubtedly, one of the most intriguing aspects of Claire Dolan is that the titular anti-heroine makes the valiant attempt to transform herself into her archetypal opposite by going from being a prostitute to a mother. As he detailed in his classic text Geschlecht und Charakter (1903) aka Sex and Character, suicidally self-loathing Viennese chosenite Otto Weininger regarded the dichotomous psychological extremes of femininity as being divided between the mother and the prostitute types, or as he wrote, “The fact that motherhood and prostitution are polar opposites can probably be gleaned from the simple observation that good housewives and mothers have more children, while the cocotte never has more than a few, and the streetwalker is mostly sterile. It must be noted that the type of the prostitute includes not only women who sell themselves, but also many so-called nice girls and married women, some of whom never commit adultery not because the circumstances are not favorable, but because they themselves do not allow things to reach that point. Therefore no exception should be taken to my using the term ‘prostitute,’ which is yet to be analyzed, in a much broader sense than that of women who sell themselves. The streetwalker is distinguished from the more prestigious cocotte and the more genteel hetaera only by an absolute lack of differentiation and a total absence of memory, which makes her live from one hour to the next or one minute to the next, without the slightest connection between one day and another. Moreover, the prostitute type could manifest itself even if there were only one man and one woman in the world, because it expresses itself in a specific kind of behavior toward a male individual.” In short, despite her aspirations towards motherhood, the film’s lead is and will always be a sort of spiritual prostitute, thus her rather ambitious efforts at rehabilitation are ultimately in vain, or so her baby-daddy concludes just before kicking her to the curb while she is still pregnant. Indeed, while the pussy-peddler does in fact manage to fill her womb with cum that leads to life, the mensch that plants the seeds ultimately decides to leave her after coming to terms with the harsh reality that she is a whore and will always be a whore whether she is peddling her meat curtain or pretending to be a proper housewife. In that sense, Claire Dolan is not the sort of film that would be deeply appreciated by the sapless sort of people that use pc terms like “sex workers” as it is a rather harsh and emotionally brutal film that unequivocally demonstrates that prostitutes are by no means typical women, but tragically damaged goods that no man—no matter how kind or well meaning—can ever hope to ‘save.’ For better or worse, the film follows Bresson’s cinematic dictum, “Neither beautify nor uglify. Do not denature,” though it gets pretty organically ugly. 

 Claire Dolan (English mischling Jewess Katrin Cartlidge, who previously worked with Mike Leigh and Lars von Trier, in what is indubitably the greatest performance of her fairly respectable career, which was tragically cut short when she died in 2002 at the premature age of 41) is a slightly swarthy Dublin-bred whore that is wise enough to peddle her puss to white collar corporate types instead of negro dope dealers, but she seems to loathe everything about her rather lonely life. Throughout the film, the viewer discovers bits and pieces about Claire’s dubious past, but it seems her sole reason for existing now is to pay off a hefty debt that she owes to a pimp named Roland Cain (Colm Meaney)—a stereotypical red-faced, curly-red-haired, and alcohol-addled mick bastard—who was ‘kind’ enough to pay for her dying mother’s expensive nursing home and medical bills. Not surprisingly, Claire decides to quit her trade when her mother drops dead and ultimately decides to betray her employer by running away and starting a new life in Newark, New Jersey as a lowly hairstylist. Needless to say, mad mick Roland hunts Claire down and forces her back into selling her gash for cash again during what proves to be a somewhat inauspicious point in her life. While Claire initially meekly abides and slavishly gets back into the loose-coat game, things become complicated when she meets and ultimately falls in love with a sloppy and somewhat neurotic taxi-driver named Elton Garrett (Vincent D'Onofrio in one of the many underrated and largely unseen performances of his rather singular acting career) who treats her a whole lot better than a blowup doll. In fact, not long after meeting, Elton reveals his keen sensitivity and strong altruistic sense of intimacy by performing cunnilingus on Claire, so naturally she is somewhat freaked out when a john attempts the same thing a couple days later and thus further compounds her rather schizophrenic sense of sexuality.  As demonstrated by a scene where she angrily kicks out a man that she had a soulless one-night-stand with, Claire has a lot of pent of (self)hatred, confusion, and anxiety when it comes to sex, yet Elton manages to completely change that, at least momentarily.

Undoubtedly an emotionally battered beta-male of sorts that seems to have a pathological compulsion to try to save forsaken women, Elton even opts to stay with Claire after discovering that she is a prostitute and is on prescription drugs to treat STDs, though he is certainly painfully self-conscious about the situation like any half-sane self-respecting man would be. Of course, to settle for such a damaged woman who literally cucks him for cash, Elton has to be an extremely wounded individual himself, which is probably, at least partially, the result of being a divorced father that only gets to see his adolescent daughter every once in a while. Indeed, if Claire and Elton have anything in common, it is that they are both decidedly debased and degraded virtual human-punching-bags that have mostly lived their lives serving others while failing to take of themselves in the process. Naturally, you cannot help people that do not want to help themselves, but Elton tries and almost immediately begins giving Claire money to pay off her debt to Roland. When Claire stoically declares to Elton on a rooftop, “I want to have a child” and he simply replies, “Are you sure?,” she demonstrates her seriousness by responding with the utmost stoicism, “Yes. We can make it work.” Naturally, as a relationship involving two terribly emotionally damaged individuals, it does not work, but Claire at least gets the baby, which was obviously her main motivation. Indeed, while she loses her mother at the beginning of the film, Claire still manages to continue the so-called ‘circle of life’ by creating a (bastard) child of her own. 

 Right from the get-go of the film when we are first introduced to Claire as she attempts to flirt with a nameless/faceless john on a payphone, it is immediately apparent that, on top of selling both her sex and soul, she lies for a living. Indeed, aside from pretending to enjoy having sex with strange men and dressing in a slutty way that she clearly does not enjoy, Claire spends her free time telling potential johns over the phone with a monotone dispassionate voice things like, “I wanna be with you. I can be at your hotel in ten minutes […] I want you to fuck me.” In fact, Claire has such a decidedly degraded and depressing essence that it is a surprise that any man would want to fuck her lest they succumb to the emasculating shame of erectile dysfunction.  In fact, Claire looks like she is more aroused at the prospect at castrating men than engaging in coitus with them. Of course, Claire is also not a particularly pulchritudinous pussy-peddler as she looks like she could be the emo big sister of Anne Frank and not like the sort of overtly lecherous chick that has a talent for downing Brobdingnagian dicks or engaging in the art of double penetration, but of course that is why she might appeal to certain strange men. In fact, Claire is sometimes stalked by sadists and degenerates that seem attracted to the special brand of degradation that she practically radiates. Luckily, Claire has managed to project a rough exterior. For example, when a young ugly hood approaches her at a diner and reveals his intent to sexually defile her, Claire emasculates the man by audaciously replying that she would prefer banging his friend because he is “better looking.”

Of course, Claire’s ‘tough bitch’ routine is nothing but a carefully crafted act and she is just like everyone else in the sense that she desires to be loved, hence her attraction to the inordinate sensitivity of Elton.  While Claire certainly gets to exploit her talent for extra wanton female wiles, she is also incapable of using classic feminine weapons, including the exploitation of the stereotype of female weakness, or as Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote, “The Strength of the Weak.—Women are all skillful in exaggerating their weaknesses, indeed they are inventive in weaknesses, so as to seem quite fragile ornaments to which even a grain of dust does harm; their existence is meant to bring home to man's mind his coarseness, and to appeal to his conscience.  They thus defend themselves against the strong and all ‘rights of might.’”  Not only does Claire work in a deleterious trade of the flesh that involves her customers, who technically engage in a crime or two just to procure her services, leaving their consciences at home, but she also cannot afford to show weakness as it could get her raped or even killed, or so the film hints in its rather unflattering depiction of everyday bipedal sidewalk scum.

 Undoubtedly, out of the three main characters of the film, mick pimp Roland—a man that unquestionably personifies everything that I find repugnant about the stereotypical Irish phenotype —is, in many ways, the most magnetic yet understatedly monstrous. While the viewer does not learn much about Roland aside from the fact that he is a proud traditional family man and that he uses a bourgeois bar as a sort of front/hang-out for his prestigious slut-slinging enterprise, the viewer is exposed to the imperative little detail that he has actually known Claire every since she was just a wee little girl, thus making his relationship with her seem all the more sick and morbid. As hinted by a random photograph that appears in the film, Claire’s mother seems to have been friends with Roland and was probably also one of his whores in the past, hence why he was probably helping to foot her hospital bills. Despite their deep-rooted history together, Claire seems to both deeply hate and fear Roland, hence her rather sneaky failed initial attempt to escape his wrath. Needless to say, Roland can be pretty emotionally brutal to the anti-heroine as demonstrated by rather rude remarks to her like, “You’re looking worn, Claire. How many years do you think you got left? Two, maybe three? What are you going to do when you start falling apart? Push your pussy on the street for 20 bucks a pop? You’re not a new girl.” Still, at the same time, Roland is a completely practical man that willing to honor a deal and freely releases Claire from her bondage when she finally manages to pay off her hefty debt.  Needless to say, Roland has very little faith that Claire could excel at anything aside from peddling heir puss, but she is fanatically determined to prove him otherwise.

While Roland certainly gives Claire some tough lessons about life, he ultimately provides poor hopeless sap Elton with the greatest lesson and gives some harsh yet true insights about life that seem to completely change his worldview, at least on the highly personalized level. Indeed, when Elton randomly approaches him in an aggressive fashion at his bar, Roland hits him in the family jewels and then angrily states whilst grabbing him in a rather painful position, “I don’t like to repeat myself, so listen carefully. She may have paid me off, but she’ll never quit. I’ve known Claire since she was 12-years-old and I knew then what I know now—that deep inside, she’s a whore. She was born a whore . . . she’ll die a whore.” After kicking his ass and doing his nice little perennial whore spiel, Roland, who is not an unreasonable man, proceeds to act friendly toward Elton by giving him some whisky and leaving him with the following thought, “I know it’s hard, but try to accept what I told you. You’ll have a happier life and be a better person for it. It’s time you started looking after yourself. You’re not a little boy anymore.”  Undoubtedly, had Roland not kicked his ass, Elton might have been made the biggest mistake of his life and settled down with a woman that seems to have a different STD every other week.

 While Roland clearly knows next to nothing about Elton, he, like any good pimp, is a highly intuitive individual and can clearly sense that he’s a broken emotional cripple that has the unfortunate self-destructive compulsion to want to help other broken emotional cripples, hence his dubious love for a godforsaken second-hand Sue like Claire. While it is immediately apparent after he discovers that Claire is a prostitute that he is extremely bothered by her curious choice of trade and that he should not be involved in such a decidedly deleterious and clearly foredoomed relationship, Elton is clearly a victim of his own low self-esteem and misplaced empathy. In short, getting the shit beat out him by a pimp was probably the best thing that ever happened to Elton as he probably would have lacked the testicular fortitude to break up with Claire otherwise. At the very end of the film, it is revealed that Elton ultimately made the right choice as he ended up with a much cleaner and ladylike woman. Indeed, in the very last sequence of the film, Elton is depicted a couple years later randomly running into Roland while he is with his new extremely nice pregnant blonde wife Madeline. Notably, Roland states to Elton in regard to kids, “It’s the best thing that’ll ever happen to you. It changes everything. You can’t stop with one! You gotta keep on having them.” When Elton’s wife asks how he knows her husband, Roland somewhat humorously states, “We knew each other years ago in another life. It’s funny how time passes.” Of course, it is doubtful that Elton’s wife knows that he has a bastard son with Claire.

Of course, as the bastard son of a whore, Claire and Roland’s son probably has a good chance of growing up to be a rent boy, tranny freak, druggie, and/or some other sort of irredeemable urban concrete-pounding degenerate. Additionally, even if Elton had not left Claire, their love affair would have undoubtedly been doomed to failure as it was built on extreme doubt and lies. After all, as Weininger once wrote when describing the mother and prostitute archetypes, “Whether a woman will meet a man who can make her the mother of his child through his mere presence is a matter of chance. To that extent it is imaginable that the destinies of many mothers and prostitutes could have turned out the opposite of what they have actually become. On the other hand, there are not only countless examples of women remaining true to the type of the mother even without such a man, but there are also doubtless cases in which this man does present himself and even his presence fails to prevent the woman from finally and irrevocably turning to prostitution.” In a sense, Elton acts as a sort of ‘emotional prostitute’ to Claire to the point of providing her with what she wants most but cannot seem to acquire: a child. Of course, Elton completely lacked the strength and sense to transform Claire into a real ‘mother,’ but then again even sub-literate rappers and gang-bangers know that you cannot turn a whore into a housewife. 

 As a sort of unintentional connoisseur of call-girl cinema of all sorts and someone with an interest in perversity and abnormal psychology in general, among other things, I do not feel I am committing puffery when I say that Claire Dolan is unequivocally one of the greatest and most effortlessly emotionally grueling depictions of a pussy-peddler ever committed to celluloid. Indeed, while there are a number of films ranging from Federico Fellini’s early classic The Nights of Cabiria (1957) to Andy Milligan’s gritty classic exploitation piece Fleshpot on 42nd Street (1973) to Ken Russell’s weirdly high-camp Crimes of Passion (1984) to Mike Figgis' endearingly pathetic Leaving Las Vegas (1995) that depict the seeming incapacity of prostitutes to find real lasting love or even simple emotional connections, Kerrigan’s underrated film is arguably more effective than any other cinematic work of the same sort in that it manages to intimately communicate the almost intolerably grating emotions associated with such abject romantic forsakenness. In that sense, the film is quite comparable to Kerrigan’s equally potent debut feature Clean, Shaven (1994) in terms of its gratingly viscerally authentic approach to the virtually never good, very bad, and uniquely ugly reality of living with a sort of metaphysical affliction. Also, like the director’s debut, Claire Dolan mostly shies away from any overt political subtexts aside from a mostly superficial critique of the evils of capitalism, though it could arguably be interpreted as left-wing or right-wing. Undoubtedly, the film's fairly obvious theme of capitalistic degradation is pretty much summed up when a random john acts inordinately empathetic towards Claire and makes the heartfelt speech just before, rather ironically, defiling her frail body, “It’s ok. I understand. I used to do a lot of things for money. Things that I hated. Things that got inside me and tore me up, but I learned to push it away and seal it off. The worst part—the thing that I kept coming back to—was that I couldn’t completely understand how I got into those positions. I couldn’t figure out what it was inside me that allowed me to accept those things. For years, I thought I was different from everybody—in a bad way. I had no one to turn to, to get myself straight. It took me years to realize that I wasn’t a freak. There are a lot of people out there that do things that tear them up—that they hate. Do you understand what I mean? Just try not to think about it.” Like Iranian auteur Sohrab Shahid Saless’ hard ghetto West German epic Utopia (1983)—a similarly painfully raw and gritty yet slightly less intimate portrait of pussy-peddling—the film cuts sharply into the soul with an acidic pathos-laced knife as wielded by the most forlorn of female fuck machines; or, tears of (anti)eros. 

 In the eyes of left-wing Nietzschean Georges Bataille, virtually all women have the capacity to be capitalists of the cunt that see their pussy as always having a very specific price, or as the degenerate frog once wrote, “Not every woman is a potential prostitute, but prostitution is the logical consequence of the feminine attitude. In so far as she is attractive, a woman is a prey to men’s desire. Unless she refuses completely because she is determined to remain chaste, the question is at what price and under what circumstances will she yield. But if the conditions are fulfilled she always offers herself as an object. Prostitution proper only brings in a commercial element. By the care she lavishes on her toilet, by the concern she has for her beauty set off by her adornment, a woman regards herself as an object always trying to attract men’s attention. Similarly if she strips naked she reveals the object of a man’s desire, an individual and particular object to be prized.” Of course, the great irony of Claire Dolan is that it is only through the very same prostitution that led to her personal debasement that the titular twat acquires her freedom and capacity for motherhood. Indeed, in a sick semitic sort of way, Claire owes her sense of personal sovereignty to selling her cunt to be used as a virtual all-purpose public porta-potty. On the other hand, Bataille believed that “Prostitution seems to have been simply a complement to marriage in the first place.” Still, Bataille—an unhinged mensch that married a Jewess at a time when it was less than vogue who seemed to fetish things simply because they were sick and repellent, including eggs-in-pussies and human sacrifice, among other things—might as well have been summing up the metaphysical employment resume of Claire when he wrote, “The lowest kind of prostitute has fallen as far as she can go. She might be no less indifferent to the taboo than animals are except that because what she knows about taboos is that others observe them, she cannot attain an absolute indifference; not only has she fallen but she knows she has. She knows she is a human being. Even if she is not ashamed of it, she does know that she lives like a pig.” After all, she does not seem all that terribly shocked when her special savior Elton eventually leaves her, but she probably first and foremost wanted him to knock her up, thus he arguably becomes the exploited whore in the end yet he still greatly pays for it, at least both emotionally and monetarily speaking.  In short, Claire Dolan contains the relatively simple but extremely imperative message that one should not dip their dick in a dirty dasher dame's dearest bodily part lest they seek cuckoldry and extreme emasculation, among other obscenely odious things.

 According to Weininger, “The prostitute is very different. She at least lives her own life fully, even if—in extreme cases—she is punished for this by being excluded from society. Rather than being brave as the mother is, she is a coward through and through, but she always posses the correlative of cowardice, which is impudence, and thus she is at least brazenly shameless.” Of course, the same could be said of artists, especially good ones. In fact, somewhat ironically, Weininger argues that prostitutes share much in common with great men/leaders of history—another obsession of artists—arguing, “The unique phenomenon of the great man of action has always had a powerful attraction for artists in particular (but also for philosophical writers). The surprising unanimity displayed in this respect will perhaps make it easier to approach the phenomenon by means of conceptual analysis. Mark Antony (Caesar) and Cleopatra are not altogether unlike each other. Initially, most people will probably regard this parallel as quite fanciful, and yet the existence of a close analogy seems to me to be beyond any doubt, however different the two persons may at first sight appear. The ‘great man of action’ renounces any inner life in order to express himself (the term is appropriate here) fully in the external world, and to suffer the fate of everything that expires, rather than achieving the permanence of everything that is internalized. He tosses his whole value behind him and keeps it at arm’s length with all his might. Similarly, the great prostitute flings the value that she would be able to obtain from being a mother into the face of society, not in order to take stock of herself and to embark on life of contemplation, but in order to give completely free rein to her sensual urges. Both the great prostitute and the great tribune are like firebrands which, when lit, illuminate vast expanses, pile corpses on corpses as they pass, and fad out like meteors, without contributing anything worthwhile and meaningful to human wisdom, without leaving anything permanent behind, without any sign of eternity—while the mother and the genius quietly work for the future. Both the prostitute and the tribune, therefore, are perceived as ‘scourges of God,’ as anti-moral phenomena.” Of course, this would explain why prostitutes, not unlike great men, are among the most intriguing and intricate female characters of cinema history, just as archetypical mothers tend to be the most banal and one-dimensional. Certainly, Peter O'Toole's performance as a great man in David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia (1962) has something particularly whorish and wonderfully immoral about it. By dedicating himself to the melancholy and even morose life and times of a walking and talking sex object, auteur Kerrigan, despite his modernist art fag cred and his fairly young age at the time of directing the film, reveals himself to be a timeless artist with a knack for depicting ancient perennial archetypes in a relatively idiosyncratic fashion.  Needless to say, I think I would rather enjoy seeing Kerrigan directing a film about a historical great man, though I think he is probably more fit for making a film about Nietzsche or even SS-Oberführer Oskar Dirlewanger.

It is undoubtedly fitting and even somewhat ironic that one of Kerrigan’s greatest cinematic achievements is a film about the metaphysical perils of prostitution as he has, rather unfortunately, been forced to spend the greater portion of his somewhat uneven filmmaking career prostituting himself out to projects that are surely beneath him. Indeed, aside from the singularly artistically tragic bad luck he suffered when his fully finished feature In God's Hands starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard was scrapped in 2002 due to what the director described as “technical issues with the negative” as a result of some insipid retard destroying it in a lab, Kerrigan has spent most of the 2010s directing episodes for lame and/or generic TV series like Homeland (2012, Episode: “State of Independence”), Longmire (2013, Episode: “Carcasses”), Bates Motel (2014; Episode: “Caleb”), and Starz' patently pointless TV adaptation of Steven Soderbergh's pretentious turd The Girlfriend Experience (2009), among various other examples. On the other hand, it does make some sense that the auteur would tackle The Girlfriend Experience (2016-current), which was just renewed for a second season and which he is once again co-writing and co-directing in collaboration with vaguely attractive Mumblecore veteran Amy Seimetz. Aside from his TV work, Kerrigan also directed the French-American co-production Rebecca H. (Return to the Dogs) (2010)—a French-language flick about a crazy frog bitch that supposedly wants to be Jefferson Airplane singer Grace Slick—though the film seems to be impossible to find (as far as I know, it has never been released in any home media format) and it has received mostly terrible views, which is no surprise considering it contains a particularly preposterous premise that seems inconsistent with the director's previous cinematic efforts. Still, Kerrigan’s first three features—Clean, Shaven, Claire Dolan, and Keane—are good enough to secure Kerrigan’s place in cinema history as one of the most underrated and uncompromising  American auteurs that has ever lived. As Ingmar Bergman revealed with his covertly spiritually autobiographical film Ansiktet (1958) aka The Magician, the life of an artist can sometimes be more degrading than a whore.

In his fairly favorable 3.5 out of 4 star review of Claire Dolan, Roger Ebert concludes with the following somewhat humorous sentences, “I think Claire Dolan will make a good mother. I think she can make it work. Not with Elton, but by herself, which is the only way she can live and not have to lie.” Of course, as the film subtly hints, Claire’s mother was probably a whore too that was responsible for turning her daughter onto prostitution so she’s probably somewhat ill-equipped to be a mother, not to mention the fact that being fatherless is one of the biggest prerequisites for failure and criminality in life (as a childless celebrity that settled on an overweight and unattractive, I sincerely doubt that Ebert knew much about women). Indeed, I can only feel sorry for the kid but then I am reminded of Nietzsche’s quote, “Where are thy greatest dangers?—in pity.” Speaking of Nietzsche, who may have owed his break with sanity to syphilis that he obtained from a whore, he was certainly onto something when he wrote, “Praise in Choice.—The artist chooses his subjects; that is his mode of praising,” though I think in Kerrigan’s case it is more about empathy. Undoubtedly an acutely sensitive empath, Kerrigan has revealed an inordinate love and affection for the trash and rabble of society that is almost Christly in character.  In that sense, Claire Dolan is Kerrigan's tribute to Mary Magdalene, but of course the auteur does not have any use for the Virgin Mary.

-Ty E

Feb 21, 2018

Twin Peaks: The Return

Somewhat recently, I realized a girl that I was considering dating was a dumb bitch and immediately stopped talking to her because she, in her preposterously pretentious ‘artiste’ glory, had the unmitigated gall to proclaim that David Lynch of all filmmakers was a “hack.” While I have my own strong criticisms regarding Lynch and have heard various attacks railed against him ranging from racism to perverted conservative misogyny (indeed, a dumb sapless soy boy named Jeff Johnson even dedicated an entire moronic book to this subject entitled Pervert in the Pulpit: Morality in the Works of David Lynch (2004)), it is nothing but patently absurd to claim that one of the most innately idiosyncratic auteur filmmakers to have ever suffered the grand artistic handicap of working in Hollywood makes something akin to dull and/or derivative celluloid bromide, especially in an aesthetically inverted era when anti-auteurs like Quentin Tarantino and Steven Spielberg—ostensible men with the emotional maturity and aesthetic refinement of bombastic little boys—are regarded by many professionals as some of the greatest filmmakers of all-time. Indeed, Lynch is one of the few cinematic artists and auteur filmmakers in all of cinema history that has managed to do the seemingly impossible by creating films that are both artistically original and geniunely entertaining, which he has indubitably demonstrated once again with his most recent and quite long-awaited 18-episode opus Twin Peaks: The Return (2017). Undoubtedly the perfect swansong to a rather singular and eclectic career, the ‘event series’ takes 25 years after the original Twin Peaks was destroyed by the director’s social justice warrior writing partner Mark Frost, who essentially completely took over the show after the first season and, with the help of various relatively unknown hack writers, turned it into a pseudo-quirky unintentional self-parody while Lynch was working on his darkly romantic road movie Wild at Heart (1990). Admittedly, I was somewhat dubious of the reboot when I initially heard it was in the works because I found Lynch’s last feature Inland Empire (2006) to be quite literally unwatchable and assumed that the auteur was more interested in acting as an international propagandist for the pseudo-esoteric joke Transcendental Meditation (TM®) and pushing dubious projects like signature coffee beans and obscenely overpriced box-sets (e.g. The Lime Green Set) than testing the bounds of his artistic creativity and artistic prowess. In short, I was convinced that Lynch was high on his own supply and I still believe this to a certain extent, yet the latest and arguably greatest Twin Peaks season unquestionably demonstrates that elderly auteur still has artistic integrity and that he has not totally fried his brain on spiritually counterfeit TM® twaddle. 

 While various film academics have speculated that Lynch’s film influences include cinematic works ranging from Luis Buñuel’s classic surrealist short Un Chien Andalou (1929) to Robert Aldrich’s (anti)Spillane sci-fi-noir Kiss Me Deadly (1955) to Blake Edwards’ sexy sociopath thriller Experiment in Terror (1962), I can only assume after watching the new Twin Peaks that he has an intimate infatuation with both Peter Sellers’ strangely indelible performance in Hal Ashby’s sardonic dramedy Being There (1979) and Jeff Bridge's quite literally out-of-this-world role in John Carpenter's Starman (1984). Indeed, much to the chagrin of an Austrian friend of mine, the series’ lead character FBI Special Agent Dale Bartholomew Cooper spends the majority of the film in a meta-autistic Chance-cum-Starman-esque state, but such spastic and unhinged behavior is surely fitting when one considers the undeniable steady cultural and social degeneration of the United States since the original series was released. Portrayed by Lynch’s virtual cinematic doppelganger Kyle MacLachlan—an actor that is surely the living embodiment of the archetypal Lynchian hero—Agent Cooper was condemned to the absurdist pandemonium of the ‘Black Lodge’ at the end of the original series and spent the new couple decades there while an evil double associated with an equally evil swarthy spirited named ‘BOB’ assumed his identity in the real world and brought malefic misery to his friends and co-workers, including his beloved ‘Diane’ (who, although an unseen character on the original series, is fittingly depicted by longtime Lynch regular Laura Dern in the reboot).  While one would dare that they could read the filmmaker's mind, I think that t is obvious while watching Twin Peaks: The Return that Lynch believes that the world, especially the United States, has only gotten darker, uglier, stupider, and sicker since the brutal quasi-incestuous murder of buxom blonde teen Laura Palmer, hence the crucial need for a reboot. Indeed, forget the feel-good quirk of the lighter aspects of the original series, the new series has more in common with the prequel Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992) and Lynch’s debut feature Eraserhead (1977). Of course, that does not mean that the new series does not have a number of hyper hilarious scenes that would probably cause the ghost of Buñuel to pop a massive boner. After all, only Lynch could bring hilarity to meth-addled single mothers, teenage drug overdoses, arm wrestling, insufferably dumb obese women, sinisterly stoic yet nonetheless insufferably nerdy gangster accountants, white trash assassins, fast food, highly homicidal bearded bums, braindead mechanics, deadly hit-and-runs involving children, mouthy pussy-peddling negresses, slot machines, gangsters, beef jerky, unclad and overweight headless middle-aged corpses, and cowardly yet extremely treacherous insurance salesmen, among other things. 

 Aside from Agent Cooper being imprisoned in the Black Lodge for a couple decades and then being violently thrown back into the real world in an annoying incapacitated meta-autistic form, various other iconic Twin Peak characters reveal that they are unwitting victims of an exceedingly evil yet largely inexplicable zeitgeist where youth seems to be largely a curse and older people, who are largely worn out and disillusioned with life, are no more wiser. For example, one-time-baby-diva Audrey Horne, who only briefly appears on the show, is now a fiercely frigid and somewhat overweight hag that is now married to a grotesque quasi-dwarf turd and may or may not be completely unhinged and living out nightmarish fantasies in a loony bin, not to mention the fact she spawned a literal demon seed from an involuntary carnal union with Agent Cooper’s devilish double. Additionally, Sheriff Harry S. Truman is so sick that he does not even appear on the show, heartthrob rebel James Hurley is now a pathetic creep that hangs out with lowclass Brits instead of hot ass chicks, Sarah Palmer is an unhinged recluse with deadly paranormal powers, the long-dead military mensch Major Garland Briggs makes a curious reappearance as a recently deceased unclad decapitated corpse, Margaret ‘Log Lady’ Lanterman is terminally ill, bad boy Bobby Briggs is now a divorced police detective, Shelly Johnson (and her ex-hubby Bobby) are plagued with a self-destructive dope-addled daughter, Jerry Horne has had one-too-many bad acid trips, Johnny Horne is even more retarded, and Mike Nelson is now a banal corporate bully instead of a cool teenage bully, among various other delightfully dejecting examples. Needless to say, the new characters on the show are no less forsaken and/or dysfunctional, though it seems that every urban area depicted outside of Twin Peaks is even more fucked up.  Indeed, unlike the original two series, the titular town is only one of a number of regions depicted in what is ultimately a more all-around epic and ambitious TV series that is just too damn good and artistic audacious to be described as a TV series.

 Undoubtedly, Lynch has always had very good instincts when it comes to casting characters as Twin Peaks: The Return, which features many intriguing cameos roles from people ranging from perennially gawky goombah hipster favorite Michael Cera to drop-dead-gorgeous guidette Monica Bellucci, surely demonstrates. For example, Lynch does a masterful job at using otherwise loathsome and insufferable actors in fitting roles, most notably semitic social justice warrior comedian Brett Gelman portraying a superlatively slimy Las Vegas casino manager that hilariously gets his seemingly nonexistent balls stomped in by a rather stern but nonetheless fair wop gangster. A uniquely unfunny kosher con-median that clearly demonstrated his hatred of freedom of speech and artistic expression by leading a sickeningly self-righteous hate campaign to get the show Million Dollar Extreme Presents: World Peace (2016)—a pleasantly politically incorrect experimental sketch comedy TV series that was successfully taken off the air due to complaints from various bitchy Hebraic individuals—removed from Adult Swim, gordo Gelman more or less represents everything that is particularly putridly loathsome and insufferable about Hollywood and is thus an immaculate symbol for the sort of enemy of creativity that Lynch has spent his entire career fighting against.  In short, only Lynch would have such deep intuition to cast the uniquely unfunny Hebraic hack in a strangely darkly humorous role that he was clearly born to play.

 Incidentally, Twin Peaks co-creator Mark Frost—a curious fellow that does not seem to have accomplished anything of notability outside his work with Lynch, who he has attached his name to like a starving maggot on a rancid pig corpse—is of a similarly intolerant neo-pinko pansy stripe as Gelman, as he can be regularly caught ranting and raving on Twitter about half-baked anti-Trump conspiracy theories and imaginary Nazis. For example, when Frost discovered via an ostensibly controversial New York Times article entitled A Voice of Hate in America’s Heartland that a mild-mannered Ohioan white nationalist named Tony Hovater had a Twin Peaks tattoo, he demonstrated his emotionally necrotic boomer-esque reactionary bent by declaring on Twitter, “Having now read [sic] the article, f*ck your bemused neutrality, NYT. As for the story’s ‘protagonist’: while you’re on your way to hell, lose the TWIN PEAKS tattoo, Nazi scum.” Rather humorously, Hovater responded rather stoically by asking “would you be willing to pay for my removals?,” but Frost did not have the testicular fortitude to reply to a big mean nasty natzi. While I do not know much about Hovater aside from the fact that he strangely seems to enjoy Seinfeld—arguably the most hopelessly Hebraic TV show ever created—I have read the article about him and I think it is safe to say that, in terms of sheer eccentricity of character and personality, he is a more apt fit for the Twin Peaks realm than Frost is, as he at least has an overall idiosyncratic essence while the TV writer seemingly seems like the stereotypical spiritually castrated white Hollywood leftist cuck shithead.

 Needless to say, I can only assume that Frost was responsible for writing a line in the new series where Lynch’s character FBI Deputy Director Gordon Cole says in support of David Duchovny’s tranny FBI Chief of Staff Denise Bryson in regard to the anti-tranny sentiments of certain fellow agents, “I told all of your colleagues, those clown comics, to fix their hearts or die.” Since Lynch has spent his entire career making apolitical and oftentimes politically incorrect films that various mainstream leftist film reviewers and academics are keen only complaining about, this glaring and completely out-of-place instance of insufferably silly virtue-signaling is undoubtedly an indelible stain on the series. Rather humorously, an article at the implicitly Jewish website The Forward stops just short of accusing the show of containing cryptic anti-Semitic tropes as indicated by the following excerpt, “Ben Horne, played by song-and-dance man Richard Beymer — who in fact played Peter in the film of THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK” — is the richest man in Twin Peaks, a nefarious, greedy character whose various business interests and relationships make him an on-again, off-again suspect in the murder of Laura Palmer. Ben’s flamboyant brother and business partner, played by David Patrick Kelly, is named Jerry, an obvious allusion to the real-life Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, the founders of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.”  Of course, characters like the Horne brothers and various others hint that Lynch is, at the very least, subconsciously counter-kosher, which is a somewhat humorous prospect to consider since the auteur once collaborated with Mel Brooks—a mensch that really deserves credit for being one of the most hopelessly and intrinsically Hebraic filmmakers of all-time—on The Elephant Man (1980).

 One of the most intriguing aspects of Twin Peaks: The Return is that virtual every single young character is a total fuck-up, doped up, sociopathic, and/or completely irredeemable. For example, during a conversation between local cops in Twin Peaks, the viewer discovers that high schools with cutesy names like “Little Denny Craig” are dropping like flies during classes via drug overdoses. In short, virtually every young woman needs to spend some time sporting a rusty scold's bridle and every young man deserves to get the shit kicked out of him at least half-a-dozen times, as there is no way these degenerate youths will live normal balanced lives. Indeed, Bobby Briggs and his ex-ladylove Shelly McCauley Briggs (aka ‘Shelly Johnson’) have a beauteous yet coke-addled and dangerously self-destructive blonde daughter named Becky Burnett (née Briggs) that lives in a shitty dilapidated trailer with her similarly dope-ridden husband Steven Burnett. A physically and emotionally unhinged tweaker and deadbeat philander that deals dope because he is too retarded to even be able to manage a successful job interview for an entry level office position, Steven ultimately seems to leave Becky a widow by the end of the series after seemingly blowing his brains out off-screen in a somewhat ambiguous scene that really underscores the character's decidedly dark drug-addled delirium. Needless to say, as the virtual literal demon seed of a sinister quasi-supernatural rape, Audrey Horne’s young career criminal son Richard Horne—a virtual modern-day Frank Booth that is depicted randomly grabbing a girl by the throat at a bar and stating to her in a demented fashion, “I’m gonna laugh when I fuck you, bitch”—is the ultimate unhinged piece of (sub)human millennial excrement par excellence. Aside from threatening to rape random girls at bars and beating and robbing his elderly grandmother while his retarded helpless uncle looks on in abject horror, little Richard also manages to kill a little kid in a hit-and-run accident and then proceeds to blame said kid for the incident.  In short, like many kids of his mostly worthless generation, Richard—a sassy sicko that was sown in hatred—should have never been born.

In fact, the only seemingly half-decent young character in the series is doofus Deputy Andy Brennan and his wife Lucy Brennan’s sole progeny ‘Wally Brando,’ who notably styles himself after Marlon Brando’s insanely iconic character in outlaw biker classic The Wild One (1953) which, incidentally, Lynch's buddy Monty ‘The Cowboy’ Montgomery co-directed a quasi-remake of entitled The Loveless (1982). Clearly rejecting the degenerate trends of his own zeitgeist but unfortunately lacking the charm, charisma, and beauteous handsomeness of his messiah Marlon, Wally, who is portrayed by goofy hipster guido Michael Cera of all people, is somewhat of a weirdo that spouts prosaic pseudo-metaphysical platitudes but he seems to ultimately have a good heart as indicated by his remark to Sheriff Frank Truman, “As you know, your brother Harry S. Truman is my godfather. I heard he is ill. I came to pay my respects to my godfather and extend my best wishes for his recovery, which I hope will be swift and painless. It's an honor to see you again. You know, my heart is always here with you, and these fine people, my parents, who I love so dearly, and I was in the area and I wanted to pay my respects […] My family, my friend, I have criss-crossed this great land of ours countless times. I hold the map of it here, in my heart, next to the joyful memories of the carefree days I spent as a young boy, here in your beautiful town of Twin Peaks. From Alexandria, Virginia, to Stockton, California, I think about Lewis, and his friend Clark, the first Caucasians to see this part of the world. Their footsteps have been the highways and byways of my days on the road. My shadow is always with me, sometimes ahead, sometimes behind, sometimes to the left, sometimes to the right, except on cloudy days, or at night […] My dharma is the road.” Of course, judging simply by the character Wally, it seems that Lynch believes that Transcendental Meditation is the only thing that can save contemporary youth from the all-destructive metaphysical hell of (post)modernity.  On the other hand, while Wally might be a good guy, he seems to be completely devoid of any sort of originality, which is typical of his generation.

 While Twin Peaks: The Return is unequivocally a visceral expression of Lynch’s thoughts and especially feelings about the modern world, the series, which is really more like one massive Miltonian art movie, it is also a virtual ‘David Lynch’s Greatest Hits’ in terms of its seemingly unending references to virtually all of the films and themes of the auteur’s career, including his pre-Hollywood avant-garde days. Indeed, with its various scenes of grotesque vomiting, the series recalls Lynch’s very first film Six Men Getting Sick (1966). In terms of aesthetically pleasing scenes of dark and seemingly endless phantom highways molested by intrusive headlights, it certainly tops Lost Highway (1997). As far as awkward and/or violent concert scenes in seedy bars that are inhabited by idiosyncratically dressed dipsomaniacs and degenerates, the series makes Wild at Heart (1990) seem a tad bit dated. For those that enjoy seeing arcane tools and preternatural evidence being used to solve devilishly Delphic mysteries, the new season of Twin Peaks makes Blue Velvet (1986) seem about as intriguingly enigmatic as Scooby-Doo: The Movie (2002), which is somewhat fitting since it features big goofy bastard Matthew Lillard in a performance that is a virtual antidote to the abject shame that he brought upon himself and stoners everywhere by portraying Shaggy Rogers. In fact, on top of delectably dark black-and-white scenes that bleed a certain Victorian decay like The Elephant Man (1980) and deathly dark Daguerreotype-like images comparable to the filmmaker's piece Premonition Following An Evil Deed for the anthology film Lumière and Company (1995), the series even has a little bit of a Dune (1980) aesthetic in terms of otherworldly sci-fi aesthetics.

 As far as I am concerned, Twin Peaks is Lynch’s answer to Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980) as an inordinately epic auteurist miniseries and arguable magnum opus that manages to virtually immaculately sum up the filmmaker’s entire singular career and ultimately reveals that he has mastered his craft. In short, the series is the closest thing to a contemporary cinematic equivalent to Hieronymus Bosch’s classic triptych painting The Garden of Earthly Delights and Marcel Proust’s seven-volume literary masterpiece In Search of Lost Time (1913–1927) aka À la recherche du temps perdu. Indeed, while Twin Peaks might technically be pop entertainment that is meant for mass consumption, it is unequivocally the refined work of a mature yet nonetheless artistically fresh artist that has gone to great lengths to dive into the darkest abysses of his own soul and expose them for the entire world to see. As for Mr. Frost, he was clearly just riding on Lynch’s coattails, as if the sole reason he was hired by the studio was to make sure that the auteur did not create a cinematic work that was too bizarre or inexplicable.  Indeed, Frost is probably, at best, a glorified babysitter for America's favorite weirdo wunderkind.

 Somewhat ironically, fag boy Frost apparently borrowed the idea for the iconic ‘Black Lodge’ from British occultist Dion Fortune’s book Psychic Self-Defense (1930), which was heavily influenced by the work of Helena Blavatsky. Of course, anyone familiar with Ms. Blavatsky and her goofy esoteric (pseudo)religion Theosophy knows that she not only played a major influence on infamous proto-Nazi occultists like Guido von List and Rudolf von Sebottendorf, but was also a proud ‘racist’ and ‘antisemite’ that believed that most nonwhites were accursed ‘monads’ of the half-beastly untermensch sort. Naturally, it is no surprise that a seasoned ethno-masochistic like Frost would attempt to pass off quasi-Theosophical ideas as a form of ancient American Injun black magic despite the fact that the Black Lodge seems to contain nil Injuns (though, to be fair, the actor that played ‘Killer BOB,’ Frank Silva, was indeed part-Indian). Needless to say, despite featuring a great noble savage hero like Deputy Chief Hawk, Twin Peaks: The Return was attacked from various white liberal and non-white social justice eunuchs for lacking so-called ‘diversity.’ Naturally, such pathetic complaints seem patently preposterous when one considers that Lynch is one of the most innately and idiosyncratic white American filmmakers that has ever lived as a man whose very essence screams ‘eccentric wasp weirdo’ and whose art could have never been created by any so-called person of color. Undoubtedly, one of the things that makes Twin Peaks so great and relatively artistically organic is, not unlike Denis Villeneuve’s similarly nostalgia-inciting Blade Runner 2049 (2017), its relative racial homogeneity and lack of phony token ‘minority’ characters.  After all, affirmative action casting has never helped any film or TV show.

 Undoubtedly, out of all the various millennial-defecated articles accusing the show of racism, the most pointless and idiotic yet vaguely unintentionally insightful is a piece written by an outstandingly insipid brown beastess named Sezin Koehler with the ludicrously long and equally insipid title ‘TWIN PEAKS Is Overwhelmingly White, So Why do Fans of Color Keep Watching It?’ where a Chinese-American chick soundly states, “It makes sense to me. I’m from a small town that’s kind of old fashioned (no cellular towers, no chain stores…) so I found it to be very realistic. I don’t think it would have resonated as deeply with me if it were more diverse. I love to see diversity, especially racial, in the media but I feel like the lack of diversity was intentional in TWIN PEAKS and was necessary to portray a certain environment/atmosphere.” After all, no one would ever even dare to want to imagine a Twin Peaks with a negro Agent Cooper with cornrows or a swarthy black-haired and slant-eyed Laura Palmer, just as no one would ever entertain the prospect of a tiny yellow Chinaman portraying Melvin Van Peebles’ eponymous bad ass black buck character in Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971) or neurotic kosher comedian Larry David portraying sadistic Aryan SS-Hauptsturmführer Amon Göth in Schindler's List (1993).

 Additionally, despite its dark underbelly, the titular town in the series seems like an almost fairytale-like utopia compared to most modern-day American towns and cities.  Like the quite cozy North Carolina town in Blue Velvet, Lynch clearly loves Twin Peaks and sees it as the gravest of tragedies that such an addictively quaint place has been plagued with a sinister undercurrent. Naturally, the show would be something entirely different were it set in a chocolate-colored Brooklyn ghetto or the fecal-flavored and AIDS-ridden bowels of San Francisco as people from these forsakenly diverse shitholes would not be able to elicit the same degree of empathy. Although just speculation, I have always had the feeling that certain self-loathing white liberals and hipsters enjoy Twin Peaks simply because it provides them with the rare (subconscious) guilty pleasure of racial solidarity as the show’s pathological quirkiness and Lynch’s art fag cred provides them with the perfect cover for such a preternatural indulgence. Of course, the very fact that cultural Marxist film critics would even consider that Twin Peaks has a large non-white audience and that said non-white audience is upset about the show’s lack of melanin just goes to show how out-of-touch they are with race and culture. In short, the average non-white fan of the show is clearly deracinated and an outlier and probably the sort of individual that does not much like living among their own racial kinsmen. Undoubtedly, one of the many things that makes Northern Exposure (1990–1995)—a show that clearly reveals its main influence during the fifth episode ‘The Russian Flu’ of the first season with an overt waterfall dream-sequence homage—glaringly inferior to Twin Peaks is its absurdly arrogant NYC Judaic protagonist and the contemptible  way he treats the local yokels.  After all, one of the things that makes Agent Cooper so lovable is that, despite their flaws, he still loves the locals and would love nothing more than to become a permanent member of their community.

 Although just speculation, I like to think that Lynch was on a somewhat respectable mission to troll his fans when he dreamed up Twin Peaks: The Return, namely due to the fact that Agent Cooper barely appears on the show, at least in his normal perennially jovial “damn fine coffee” form that everyone loves. Indeed, although lead actor Kyle MacLachlan, who undoubtedly gives the greatest performance of his career, appears onscreen more than every other actor, he portrays no less than three (but really four) different ‘characters’: Agent Cooper, Cooper’s evil doppelganger, and a degenerate tulpa created by the doppelganger named Douglas ‘Dougie’ Jones. While Agent Cooper manages to escape from the Black Lodge at the beginning of the series, he returns to earth in a meta-autistic form (hence, the ‘fourth’ character) and is only really a preposterously pathetic shell of a man that he once was, though he is certainly more agreeable than the pudgy sheboon-banging tulpa whose life he unintentionally takes over.  Cooper-as-Dougie is like a living embodiment of what Aryan pessimistic Arthur Schopenhauer meant when he spoke of ‘The Will’ (or ‘Lower Soul’), which he described in his classic text The World as Will and Representation (1818/19) as, “The will, considered purely in itself, is devoid of knowledge, and is only blind, irresistible urge, as we see it appear in inorganic and vegetable nature and in their laws, and also in the vegetative part of our own life.  Through the addition of the world as representation, developed for its service, the will obtains knowledge of its own willing and what it wills, namely that this is nothing but this world, life, precisely as it exists.  We have therefore called the phenomenal world the mirror, the objectively, of the will.”  A chubby and ridiculously cheaply dressed degenerate with a gambling addiction and a fetish for busty yet absurdly brainless pitch black negress prostitutes, Dougie is a sort of sad ‘missing link’ between Agent Cooper and his evil doppelganger.

While Coop is a good man that always tries to do the right thing and the doppelganger is a devilish dickhead of a dude that seems to lack all the positive aspects that make people human and thus completely embraces evil in all its forms, Dougie is a virtual empty void and simply a morally weak and hopelessly self-indulgent fool. For most of the show, Agent Cooper lives as Dougie as if he is a prisoner in his own body in an acting performance from MacLachlan that arguably puts Peter Sellers’ character in Being There to abject shame in terms of sheer absurdist retardisms. Undoubtedly, MacLachlan’s performance(s) are more adequately comparable to Sellers’ legendary multi-role performance in Stanley Kubrick’s classic Cold War era satire Dr. Strangelove (1964). Unlike with Sellers’ characters in Kubrick’s film, the various Coopers depicted in Twin Peaks seem like extreme archetypal representations of Lynch himself. Of course, Cooper’s doppelganger can be seen as a representation of both Agent Cooper and Lynch’s Jungian ‘shadow aspect,’ just as Frank Booth was arguably Jeffrey Beaumont’s (and Lynch’s) in Blue Velvet. Indeed, it is no coincidence that Booth stares into Beaumont’s eyes and matter-of-factly declares, “You're like me” during an extremely emotionally pivotal scene in the film. Naturally, it is no surprise that Twin Peaks concludes with Agent Cooper as acting like a sort of strange amalgam of himself, his doppelganger, and his tupla. In the end, Coop seems to have, to his grand abject horror, achieved Jungian ‘Individuation’ (incidentally, Mexican-American artist Manuel DeLanda, who also experimented with neo-noir as demonstrated by his arguable cinematic magnum opus Raw Nerves: A Lacanian Thriller (1980), also works with the concept of principium individuationis).

 While somewhat cryptic, I think the final message of the series can be summed up to some degree with the following aphorism from Oswald Spengler, “The question of whether world peace will ever be possible can only be answered by someone familiar with world history. To be familiar with world history means, however, to know human beings as they have been and always will be. There is a vast difference, which most people will never comprehend, between viewing future history as it will be and viewing it as one might like it to be. Peace is a desire, war is a fact; and history has never paid heed to human desires and ideals.” After all, at the end of Twin Peaks, positively positive do-gooder idealist Agent Cooper, who does not seem to even consider the possible ramifications of his somewhat curious actions, manages to more or less unwittingly destroy himself, history, and everyone he knows just by traveling back in time to the night when Laura Palmer died to prevent her ill-fated demise via incestuous filicide. Also, Agent Cooper’s quest can arguably be simply summarized with Spengler’s words, “Free will is a feeling, not a fact.” Judging by these themes, it is hard to fathom how Lynch could fall for something as painfully deluded and idiotically idealistic as Transcendental Meditation, but I guess the auteur has to have something to believe in and can always dream of being a masterful Yogic Flyer that rivals Baron Vladimir Harkonnen in terms of bouncing around like a bloated beach ball, as one simply cannot stay completely grounded with so much hubris. Still, it is hard to reconcile the conclusion of Twin Peaks with the following ridiculous remark Lynch made during a preposterously shallow interview at, “As Maharishi teaches, mankind was not made to suffer. Bliss is our nature. Life should be blissful, and blissful doesn’t mean just a small happiness. It’s huge. It is profound. It’s like totality. This atma becomes brahma, totality. It’s there, it’s our potential, it’s our birthright to enjoy enlightenment. You just need to unfold it.” After all, in Twin Peaks, human suffering seems to be one of the greatest, if nothing the greatest, driving force of humanity and something that simply cannot be avoided. Undoubtedly, it is a great irony that Lynch could create psychobabble-babbling charlatan like the character Dr. Lawrence Jacoby while at the same time peddling the most preposterous of would-be-exotic pseudo-religions. While TM® might have provided Lynch with a sort of (pseudo)spiritual safe space as a kind of outlet for his own personal demons, Twin Peaks and most of his other cinematic works reveal that Lynch has more spiritually in common with Calvinism than a post-Hindu corporation-cum-cult (incidentally, Lynch was raised Presbyterian). 

 Rather hilariously, in the fairly worthwhile documentary David Lynch: The Art Life (2016) co-directed by a curious trio of multicultural bros, Lynch recounts an anecdote about he got stoned on ganja and then pissed off his Jewish ex-roommate, hack musician Peter Wolf (real name Peter Blankfield), by walking out of Bob Dylan concert. Indeed, apparently Wolf approached him and bitched like a dumb hippie, “nobody walks out on Dylan,” to which Lynch replied, “I walked out on Dylan. Get the fuck out of here!,” thus ending their truly absurd interracial friendship. During the same segment of doc, Lynch also mocks Dylan's diminutive size, which is surely not the way you are supposed to refer to a kosher commie (pseudo)folk musician turned rock star that has unequivocally achieved god status among the sort of philistines and philo-semites that take mainstream American pop culture history seriously. For this and various other reasons, I can only assume that Lynch is, at the very least, a sort of subconscious antisemite. Of course, Justin Theroux’s rather loathsome character—a literal cuckold that gets righteously told off due to his preposterous (and quite quintessentially Judaic) passive-aggressive attitude by a stoic cowboy—in Mulholland Drive (2001) absolutely screams stereotypical Hebraic Hollywood hack filmmaker. Likewise, Twin Peaks character Albert Rosenfield is a virtual archetype of the stereotypical hypocritical Jewish leftist type as an arrogant jerk-off that treats nice rural white folks like garbage while proudly proclaiming to be a proud humanist and neo-peacenik of sorts. Naturally, Lynch is covertly conservative in other ways, as he seems to have a less than favorable view of fags as indicated by the sinister sod pimp ‘Ben’ portrayed by Dean Stockwell in Blue Velvet, not to mention the unhinged dykes in Mulholland Drive. Additionally, Lynch clearly was not attempting to appeal to the NAACP when he had Nicholas Cage brutally beat to death a superlatively sleazy negro criminal named Bobby Ray Lemon at the very beginning of Wild at Heart (1990).  In fact, just as certain leftist film critics have complained, Lynch is not too big on negro characters in general as demonstrated by the sheer lack of them in his films, but one should not expect anything less from an auteur with a quite preternaturally white aesthetic that will simply just alienate most blacks.  After all, filmmakers that cast pointless token negroid characters in films are the lowest and most pathetically phony of cultural cucks and should be treated at thus, as real art is never about compromise.

Rather unfortunately, instead of embracing his more politically correct impulses, Lynch—a rather intuitive artist that has never succumbed to the autistic artistic con of abstract intellectualism—has embraced the grotesque absurdist escapism of worshiping a dirty old brown Indian untermensch that had an affinity for debasing his young white female followers, or so one learns while watching the somewhat disturbing documentary David Wants to Fly (2010) directed by nerdy Teutonic documentarian David Sieveking. In the doc, Sieveking—a fanatical Lynch fan that tries in vain to model his life after the maestro—attempts to embrace Transcendental Meditation, only to discover that TM® is an evil all-consuming corporation and that the filmmaker is, rather unfortunately, one of its most active yet mindless propagandists. As his cinematic output, including Twin Peaks: The Return, certainly demonstrates, Lynch is a conservative at heart and TM® simply seems to be his superlatively misguided attempt to embrace tradition and spirituality in a world where his own race, culture, and religion is being systematically dismantled by kosher culture-distorters, treacherous slave-morality-ridden white ethno-masochists, aberrosexuals, and the various other forms of (sub)human rabble. If any one doubts Lynch’s wounded Faustian soul, one just needs to think deeply about the spirit of his art and then be directed towards British philosopher Roger Scruton’s remark in the essay Conservatism and the Conservatory: “The real reason people are conservatives is that they are attached to the things that they love, and want to preserve them from abuse and decay. They are attached to their family, their friends, their religion, and their immediate environment. They have made a lifelong distinction between the things that nourish and the things that threaten their security and peace of mind.”

Additionally, the spirit of Twin Peaks unquestionably has more to do with Teutonic pessimism than the proto-hippie-dippy bullshit of shit-brown charlatan Maharishi Mahesh Yogi as indicated by the following quote from Nietzsche, “And do you know what “the world” is to me? Shall I show it to you in my mirror? This world: a monster of energy, without beginning, without end; a firm, iron magnitude of force that does not grow bigger or smaller, that does not expend itself but only transforms itself; as a whole, of unalterable size, a household without expenses or losses, but likewise without increase or income; enclosed by “nothingness” as by a boundary; not something blurry or wasted, not something endlessly extended, but set in a definite space as a definite force, and not a space that might be “empty” here or there, but rather as force throughout, as a play of forces and waves of forces, at the same time one and many, increasing here and at the same time decreasing there; a sea of forces flowing and rushing together, eternally changing, eternally flooding back, with tremendous years of recurrence, with an ebb and a flood of its forms; out of the simplest forms striving toward the most complex, out of the stillest, most rigid, coldest forms striving toward the hottest, most turbulent, most self-contradictory, and then again returning home to the simple out of this abundance, out of the play of contradictions back to the joy of concord, still affirming itself in this uniformity of its courses and its years, blessing itself as that which must return eternally, as a becoming that knows no satiety, no disgust, no weariness: this, my Dionysian world of the eternally self- creating, the eternally self-destroying, this mystery world of the twofold voluptuous delight, my “beyond good and evil,” without goal, unless the joy of the circle is itself a goal; without will, unless a ring feels good will toward itself— do you want a name for this world? A solution for all of its riddles? A light for you, too, you best-concealed, strongest, most intrepid, most midnightly men?— This world is the will to power—and nothing besides! And you yourselves are also this will to power—and nothing besides!”  Indeed, Nietzsche's quote might seem like a megalomaniac tirade, but somehow I think that, aside from the ‘will to power’ bit, it makes for a great esoteric synopsis of the series.  Needless to say, Lynch could have learned a great deal more from Savitri Devi's ultra-hip brand on Hinduism than the shallow Dharma that Maharishi gleefully defecated out for his dumb (yet oftentimes rich) white followers.

Indeed, for better or worse, Twin Peaks: The Return—an intricate and multilayered episodic epic set in a titular town that has only further degenerated over the decades to the point where virtually no character seem redeemable—is, despite its many moments of humor, a work of immense hopeless sadness and longing for a time and place that died when Lynch was still a child, if not before. In fact, after watching the series twice, I cannot reconcile the fact that the same man that was the mastermind of the show was also responsible for writing in his rather disappointing book Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity (2006), “Negativity is like darkness.  So what is darkness?  You look at darkness, and you see that it's really nothing: It's the absence of something.  You turn on the light, and darkness goes.  But sunlight, for instance, doesn't get rid of negativity.  It gets rid of darkness, but not negativity.  So what light can you turn on that removes negativity the way sunlight removes darkness?  It's the light of pure consciousness, the Self—the light of unity.  Don't fight the darkness.  Don't even worry about the darkness.  Turn on the light and the darkness goes.  Turn up that light of pure consciousness: Negativity goes.  Now you say, ‘That sounds so sweet.’  It sounds too sweet.  But it's a real thing.”  Personally, I think it sounds like total bullshit, especially coming from someone like Lynch who manages to make scenarios involving violent rapes and murder quite humorous and a mensch who followed up the birth of his first born child by directing a film where a father brutally murders his mutant baby.  As his work unequivocally demonstrates, Lynch is a man that basks and even thrives in both the literal and figurative darkness and no amount of spouting pseudo-metaphysical mumbo jumbo from some insufferably effete brown charlatan is going to change that.

Notably, Arthur Schopenhauer once wrote, “Every parting is a foretaste of death, and every reunion a foretaste of resurrection.  That is why even people who were indifferent to one another rejoice so much when they meet again after twenty or thirty years.”  Of course, the same can be said of people being reunited with an old show like Twin Peaks, yet I feel that it is only appropriate that the series and Lynch's career have reached their natural conclusion.  Indeed, the final moments of the final episode of Twin Peaks: The Return undoubtedly have the bittersweet foretaste of death, but I would not have it any other way.  In fact, the event series might even be seen as a sort of esoteric epitaph for America, or at least the true white America that Lynch spent his entire life mourning via his gorgeously grotesque portraits of absurdist Americana.  When H.P. Lovecraft complained in a personal letter that New York City had been “completely Semiticized” and thereupon tragically lost to the “national fabric,” he could have been speaking of the contemporary United States, at least in the cultural and spiritual sense.  In that regard, D.H. Lawrence was certainly right when he wrote, “My great religion is a belief in the blood, the flesh, as being wiser than the intellect.  We can go wrong in our minds.  But what our blood feels and believes and says, is always true.”  After all, Lynch's book Catching the Big Fish is terribly written and a testament to his largely irrational and anti-intellectual disposition, but his singular oeuvre reveals a certain Weltschmerz and Sehnsucht in relationship to the WASP world that the auteur's generation—the so-called ‘baby boomer’ bunch that turned their unearned and undeserved gift of unrivaled prosperity and comfort into a racially, culturally, and sexually apocalyptic nightmare—gleefully destroyed.  Needless to say, Transcendental Meditation is a symptom of the very sort of degeneracy that Lynch's films lament in fashion that is iconically American as Norman Rockwell but as jovially venomous as Luis Buñuel. Considering that the United States, or the true Euro-American U.S., is nothing more than a glorified European mega-colony, it is only fitting that one of the last, if not the last, great filmmaker is an American.

In his somewhat out-of-date but surely worthwhile book David Lynch (Twayne's Filmmakers Series) (1992), Kenneth C. Kaleta—an obvious Lynch fan that thankfully does not subscribe to any Frankfurt School oriented theories—argues, “Lynch has put his brand on TV.  He has stretched again, this time from film to television.  He continues that expansion regardless of critical bouquets garnered or awards lost, regardless of cancellation or glorification of the series.  Unlike Andy Warhol, who also moved from plastic art into the world of film, Lynch must not falter into creating art not from but simply of his world.  Warhol electrified pop art with his Day Glo paintings.  Yet Warhol is more celebrated for his lifestyle [...] David Lynch's artistic creations include Lynch himself.  He continues beyond precedent to display, to satirize, and to expand his contemporary aesthetic.  Somewhere, of course, a line may be crossed and his balance knocked off center.  Here, over the border, the artist wakes up to be merely an icon.  This is the quagmire of twentieth-century celebrity.  The significance of TWIN PEAKS may be obvious today, but the series's place in the context of Lynch's work—and its meaning for art tomorrow—remains open to speculation.”  While Lynch has indeed transformed into a sort of somewhat cardboard celebrity art fag and icon, Twin Peaks: The Return reveals that he is an artist of the same caliber as Edgar Allan Poe, who Kaleta rightly compares him to, or as he wrote, “Like Poe's verse, TWIN PEAKS is poetic—inherently rhythmic.  It has a first-person speaker: the straightest, fairest, most literal hero, Dale Cooper.  In the televised serial, Agent Cooper even reads impressions into a tape recorder, thus not only making the audience party to his telling, but involving it through his language, his rhythm, and the sound of his voice.  As in Poe's world, no matter the peculiarities of the incidents, the audience is assured by the speaker's voice.  Ironically, neither offers a universal world; rather comfort is found in idiosyncrasies: Cooper is as distinctive a first-person speaker as any found in Poe's poetry.”  Indeed, containing a truly American lyrical folk poetry worthy of Poe and an entire preternatural mythos comparable to Lovecraft in terms of depth of imagination, Lynch managed to perform something that is nothing short of alchemy by turning a shit medium into boob tube gold.  Of course, only Lynch could turn a blue-blonde corpse wrapped in plastic into something deeply romantic, so it is only fitting that said corpse literally disappears into thin air at the conclusion of Twin Peaks: The Return, as no other artist—be they cinematic auteur or otherwise—will ever be able to fill his big goofy shoes when he is gone.

-Ty E