AN OPEN LETTER TO DAVID LYNCH, THE PATRON SAINT OF WEIRDNESS, AND OH MY GOD HOW COULD HE BETRAY US

Dear David Lynch,

I love your movies. I love your television. I love your movies that were meant to be television and I love your television that’d be better as movies. You make great, weird, sometimes confounding art. The world needs that sort of art, and, arguably, the world needs you!

What the world does not need you to do is be a statesman.

You’ve spent years cultivating your own mythos. And hey, it worked! You get my diehard atheist friends to go to your films on transcendental meditation. You can get entire cadres of film and television critics to meet you on your own terms. That’s cool! That’s arguably the dream of… most weirdos everywhere. But part of what’s required for that to work is a detachment from the world. You’ve created an alternate universe — one that touches on ours, but is definitely your own.

When you become a statesman, you betray that world, and ours. And when you made that betrayal, I can’t help but look at your art in new ways.

First off, let’s be frank: while I’m profoundly disappointed, much like I was in my own father, I’m not *surprised* by your endorsement of Donald Trump. It seems about on brand: your entire brand of art-making seems to be based on three things: critiquing the obvious (look how fake these fast food wrappers are!), nostalgia (ALL OF TWIN PEAKS) and a generalized weirdness/disruption factor.

So it sorta scans that you, as someone who doesn’t pay rent, has no family crossing the border, and seems to view tax, immigration, and police brutality laws as abstract commentaries on the human condition, as opposed to realities that affect human lives.

Like pretty much every writer in Seattle or “friend” from LA.

Who are all fans of your work.

David Lynch. I’m glad that you aren’t a fan of Children in Cages. I’m glad you are able to say to a President whom I doubt is listening: “Hey, be nice!” I’m glad, because that positions you as hopelessly naive in a sort of rainbows way, as opposed to hopelessly naive in a Kanye way.

But. Let’s. Be. Real.

My fellow lefties (I’m a leftie, let’s not get twisted) love your work. It’s weird, it’s sexy, it’s transgressive. But, in their frothing masturbating to/identifying with Audrey Horne fever, they don’t realize you make chalkboards.

Is Twin Peaks an indictment of Small Town America… or an homage to it? Are the villains those who enforce the rules of the town, or those who disrupt them? In Blue Velvet, a film that’s taken its place in camp and queer culture, you arguably show the “weirdos” as villains. While the character Frank is unquestionably despicable, there’s a clear line drawn when the main character ___ says “Why are there people like Frank in the world?”

It’s not surprising, David, that you’d see only abstract problems with our current president’s policies. You don’t really cast POC. Some of this, probably, is because you go to the same well of white actors over and over again.

Some is because you are racist, and addicted to the same nostalgia narratives that don’t do justice to the scenes you’re trying to set. You love noir. You love “jazz age” narratives. You love “simplicity” narratives, almost all of which exclude people of color. And frankly, most of your sources, while incredibly flawed, do better than you. They do the work of taking better account of race, class and gender than you do, because you’ve already referenced them.

Look. You won’t read this, because you’re probably trying to fuck an 18 year old right now, and therefore too busy. It seems to me that it’s something you, the President, and every straight white male who voted for him have in common.

But let me say: Goodbye, David Lynch. I can get weird without you. Can you “manifest” weird without us?

Sincerely,

Graham


Originally published at how’s your morale?.