Twin Peaks Usenet Archive


Subject: Re: The James Subplot(was Re: Major Briggs is Back!)
From: lecl@quads.uchicago.edu (elizabeth e. leclair)
Date: 1991-01-16, 16:39
Newsgroups: alt.tv.twin-peaks

In article  jym@berkeley.edu (Jym Dyer) writes:
>> >> Crticism of the week:  I'm dissapointed that we now have yet
>> >> another battered wife in the show.  The James subplot is bad
>> >> enough without still more intimations and/or displays of woman-
>> >> beating, as we had in the Shelley-Leo encounters.
> >___
> >__  I don't understand the criticism.  Having one, and then
> >_   another, battered wife on the show seems to jibe with the
> >    show's purpose of exposing the real-life horrors hidden
> >    in idealized exteriors.
> >__  As a feminist, I applaud the creators for (1) drawing
> >_   attention to a widespread social problem, (2) showing
> >    that it occurs at different socioeconomic levels, and
> >    (3) doing it in a way that shows its real horror, rather
> >    than using it as a device to exploit women.

     We all know the Lynch-crew's penchant for revealing the uncomfortable
social ill; why shoudl I be surprised that wife-beating occurs more than
once, even in a community as small as TP?  TP may indeed show 2) wife-
beating at different social levels and 3) as a horrific subject, but I
disagree that it is ever exposed as a "social ill".  In fact, there is
hardly ever any recognition of the problem by the TP characters themselves 
(James now being the notable exception).  You never heard Norma advising
Shelley to get a restraining order for dear Leo.  Thus, I do not think that
TP creators deserve "applause" per se for "drawing attention" to the
issue, since they include no redeeming social action to address it.

   Before I get flamed silly, I should say that I don't EXPECT TP to
address any social ills.  If it did, it would more resemble some self-
sanctimonious TV-movie than the creepy Peaks we know and love. My
criticism of the second battered wife stems more from an artistic
point of view (the writers are repeating themselves for the same thrills)
as well as a political one:  I don't think television can CURE social
ills, but I don't want it to DEPICT them gratuituosly, either,.

   Here ends the rant!

Elizabeth LeClair
University of Chicago
(lecl@midway.uchicago.edu)


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