Twin Peaks Usenet Archive


Subject: Re: Is Twin Peaks anti-woman? Are Twin Peaks fans?
From: jbuck@galileo.berkeley.edu (Joe Buck)
Date: 1990-11-15, 11:50
Newsgroups: alt.tv.twin-peaks

lecl@quads.uchicago.edu (elizabeth e. leclair) posts Diana Hume George's
analysis of the women of Twin Peaks:
> >     "I can see Lynch's work in three ways.  All of them scare me.  He
> > might be cynically corrupt, exploiting his now vast, gullible, prime-time
> > audience with those secrets he says it's all about.  Or I can see him as
> > the wise man, the visionary showing us our darkest depths.  Or maybe he's
> > really the gifted innocent in touch with, though incompletely aware of,
> > his own unconscious and tapping ours in ways he cannot articulate."

Oh, please.  He's none of the above.  He (and Mark Frost; it's really as
much his show as Lynch's in many ways) are attempting to communicate their
artistic vision; they are also human beings, and (since, after all, this
analysis appears in Ms.) they are male.  The third one is closest to the
truth; the show deals extensively with the unconscious, but they aren't
"gifted innocents"; they are very deliberately tapping into the unconscious.

> >     "I, we, the trendy, twenty-thirty-and-forty-something audience, are
> > getting off on the sexually tortured, brutally murdered, mutilated body
> > of an adolescnet girl.  And what's new about that?  What's new about 
> > television exploiting our love affair with the interfaces of sex and death,

OK so far.

> > or our hunger for seeing women dead or maimed or mutilated or suicidal
> > or raped or helpless, especially if they're sexually active?  Nothing
> > much.  Prime-time business as usual, only a little worse because even
> > feminists like myself are sufficiently charmed to offer it exemption."

There's a very disturbing trend in "slasher" movies where the camera
actually shows you the point of view of the killer as he stalks the
nubile young woman to kill her, to punish her.  Such films are so consistent
about this imagery that the critics who accuse them of portraying sexually
active young women as getting their just reward seem on target.  But
that's not Twin Peaks we're talking about here.

Get it: Twin Peaks is not socialist realism.  It deals with the unconscious;
the ones we have, not the ones we wish we had or think it would be politically
correct to have.  Twin Peaks portrays violence against women; our culture
contains violence against women.  I would prefer that violence be depicted
as Twin Peaks does it, with all the horror that that violence really has,
than in the sanitized form that the rest of the media portrays it in
(exception: Hawk's knife in the back to rescue Coop and Harry at OEJ's.
I thought the TP gang were above that).

> >     "Among the men there are surely many bad guys (Ben and Jerry, Leo,
> > Jacques, and sometimes Bobby).  But it's also chock-full with good guys,
> > who even when comic or relatively powerless are ethically trustworthy
> > (Pete, Dr. Jacoby, Andy, James).  The good guys, who are sympathetic, act
> > decently, and can command viewer respect as well as attention....

Dr. Jacoby?  Please.
> >    ....Now look at the women.  First we have the victims of murder and/or
> > rape and mutilation, Laura and Ronette, high school kids on coke with
> > jaded perspectives and promiscuous sex lives.  Laura is an active
> > participant in her own corruption, and the cause of fall in others.

A vast oversimplification.  Laura is also portrayed as the one who
started Meals on Wheels (with Norma), who taught Josie English, who
helped the autistic Johnny Horne, who was loved by the community.
It's the author of this article who has the "jaded perspective", Laura
didn't.  This is not the typical Madonna/whore dichotomy that Ms. rightly
accuses most of the media of possessing.

> > Leading the bordello where all these high school girls have their after-
> > school jobs is Blackie, a creature of smoothly amoral collarbones if
> > ever there was one.

Of course in real life there are no madams.

> >  Catherine is a grasping bitch about to go bad in the teeth. 

Say what?  "Bitch" is the word our culture uses to describe powerful
women.  Catherine is a powerful woman.

> > Audrey is so sexually advanced that she's 18 going on 40.

Say what?  I can almost guarantee you that Audrey is a virgin.

> >   Among the girls in white hats, we can recently include the dubious
> > Audrey-- perhaps.

Of course, we can include Audrey.  May I suggest (yes, I know, she's not
reading the net) that the author examine her own prejudices?

> >  Nadine is bonkers, and Donna's mother, Mrs. Hayward,
> > has no damned first name that I know of.  Margaret, the Log Lady, may
> > be a gifted prophet, but she's also out to lunch.  We get treated to vividly
> > suggestive scenes of Shelley's beating and bondage.  All Laura's mother
> > does is cry, but to be fair, so does her husband.  Audrey's mother began
> > cold and hysterical and then disappeared.  Lucy is wonderful, but she's
> > comic relief.  Who does this leave among the women?  Is anyone vaguely
> > in charge of herself, not a victim, crazy, and not corrupt?

Sure.  Norma, Donna, Audrey (yes, I know she needed to be resued, but
then so did Cooper and Truman).

> >   There is Maddie, Laura's cousin/double, who is so much a parody of
> > innocence that you want to puke on her shoes; the jury's out on her.

Yes, she is.  But you see, Twin Peaks is about archetypes; Maddie gets
to play an archetype, as do a number of the other characters.  Ben is
just as one-dimensional playing Corrupt Businessman.

> > We thought we has Jocelyn [Josie], who could even do double duty for
> > affirmative action as a minority, but it appears that she is involved
> > in murder and blackmail.  So who's left?  Donna?  Sweet but hardly in
> > charge, and thus far underdeveloped as a character.

Seems to me we've seen quite a lot of Donna.  I think part of the
underdevelopment is that Lara Flynn Boyle's acting is kind of flat
and wooden.

> >  It is Peggy Lipton's
> > Norma who must finally bear the burden of being the only adult woman in
> > the series who is strong so far, nobody's fool, and only one man's victim."

Oh, please.  Catherine and Josie also fit into this category.  And who says
Norma is a man's victim?  She chooses to let Hank work for her (notice: she
is his boss) and he may have her fooled about some things, but has he
succeeded in exploiting her in any way yet?  No; it seems that for all his
other sins, he puts in hard work at the diner, and for all his corruption,
he sincerely does value his relationship with her.


--
Joe Buck
jbuck@galileo.berkeley.edu	 {uunet,ucbvax}!galileo.berkeley.edu!jbuck	


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