If It Ain’t Broke (and even if it! is), Don’t Idee Fixe It

If It Ain’t Broke (and even if it is!), Don’t Idee Fixe It

Yes! They’re talking Mulholland Dr. over at Peiratikos, and (in direct contradistinction to the Peiratik Duo’s hopeless attempt to find common ground for discussion with “comix pushers” Alan David Doane and Chris Allen) they haven’t been wastin’ their time! I like the direction in which things seem to be headed, and I’ll be very interested to see what Steven has to say about the blue box (my own MD duet with Charles Reece–with substantial contributions by a number of others–can be found here)

I think Steven is right to mistrust Lynch’s infamous “10 clues”–and I like his characterization of these unsubtle aids to miscomprehension as extratextual amplifiers of the film’s exploration of “obvious fakes” and “seamless forgeries” (as opposed to real vs. unreal)… I’m also intrigued by this brief discussion of cacophony and euphony that was triggered by James Smith’s comments:


The desire to replace cacophony with euphony—that reminds me of Borges’s “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius,” the false world that replaces the real one because it makes more sense. That’s Betty/Diane’s problem.

This is a little-remarked upon aspect of the film, at least in my experience. It’s not just that the Betty segment is “happier” than the Diane segment, it’s also far more coherent (i.e. linear–think about it…there’s no “time problem” in the Betty segment…it’s full speed ahead, from the airport to the discovery of the box…whereas the Diane segment is a crazy patchwork quilt of bad memories and even worse extrapolations from these same heart-breaking incidents). Oddly enough, my agreement with Steven on this point leads me to go back and take issue with one of his earlier statements:

Is there really less evidence of conspiracy in the “grim n’ gritty” region of the film (doesn’t it seem that everyone is going out of their way to piss Diane off–and then taking demonic pleasure in their success?) It is indisputably true that, in the first constellation of stories, the conspirators remain hidden from the protagonists, while their later counterparts come out onto the stage to work their mischief. Of course, there is no “backstage” in Diane’s neck of the woods–and maybe that’s the problem! One of the things that I find most fascinating about the film is that the part that is generally considered a dream has a far more “open” quality to it than the ostensibly “real” drama does. You might be tempted to infer that Betty’s world is happier than Diane’s because Rita/Camilla is more tractable to her wishes in the first segment–but it’s much more than that. The “dream” is by far the least solipsistic part of the film. Betty is capable of empathy–Diane is not. Everything in Diane’s world is explicitly happening to her. Betty, on the other hand, enjoys a kind of connection with a variety of figures (preeminently Adam–but don’t forget Dan…and you might want to include Rita on that list)… and her story also includes the extraordinary two-way telephone conversation  between Adam and Cynthia… Betty is consumed by curiosity, but she isn’t burdened by the dreadful certainty (“this is the girl”) that poisons Diane’s life… Again, this is why I think the “I’ve Told Ev’ry Little Star” scene (in which Adam speaks the words that will doom him–and Betty/Diane) is the key….This–not the Silencio scene–is the true site of the “break” (which is not a break in diegesis, but in the will to live in a mysterious world) in the film.

Good Afternoon Friends!
Dave

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