Twin Peaks Usenet Archive


Subject: FIONA'S _TP_GAZETTE_ ARTICLE
From: dlc@mudos.ann-arbor.mi.us (David L. Claytor)
Date: 1991-04-17, 12:37
Newsgroups: alt.tv.twin-peaks

A number of netters have asked for a re-posting of Fiona's article  
"Appreciating alt.tv.twin-peaks," which appeared in the March 1991 issue 
(Vol. 1, No. 2) of the _Twin_Peaks_Gazette_.  Here it is:


From: fi@grebyn.com (Fiona Oceanstar)
Newsgroups: alt.tv.twin-peaks
Subject: "Appreciating Alt.tv.twin-peaks"
Summary: an article submitted to the _TP_Gazette
Keywords: gazette newsgroup
Date: 25 Feb 91 17:59:06 GMT
Distribution: na
Organization: Citizens Opposing the Offing of Peaks
Lines: 187
 
This the text of an article I submitted to the _Twin_Peaks_Gazette_.
I sure hope you like it, because it's all about *you*!  Thanks to
everyone for your wonderful postings over the past months, and
thanks especially to Rod Johnson, Keith Dawson, Janet Swisher, Scott
Le Grand, Ann Hodgins, Robyn Grunberg, Connie at WVNVMS, Kurt Svihla,
Jim Shaffer, Jr., Jerry Boyajian, Tom Neff, and Diarmuid Maguire (hope
I didn't forget anyone) for your help in getting this together.
I'm sorry I didn't have the space to credit as many people as I
would like to have done.  I'll let y'all know if it gets accepted
for publication.
 
 
---------------------------------------------------------------------
 
 
               APPRECIATING ALT.TV.TWIN-PEAKS
 
   Copyright (c) 1991 by Fiona Oceanstar (fi@grebyn.com)
 
 
"Twin Peaks" last week was pure enchantment.  I thought
Special Agent Cooper was uncommonly poignant on the subject
of recycling plastic and saving Mother Earth.  The real gem
in that sequence, though, was when they went out to Coop's
new property and Deputy Andy got his head stuck in the
Clivus Multrum eco-toilet.  Another high point was
Donna's dramatic rescue of James from the Spider Woman---
especially that eerie apparition of the moody biker
disguised in a miniskirt.  By the way, did you notice that
Leo has three triangles tattooed on the back of his hand?
And that the llama reappeared?  But what I really wonder
about, is why the food fight started by Ben Horne (tossing
smoked-cheese pigs and Double R pies, no less) segued right
into a shot of Andrew Packard injecting himself with
insulin.  Is there a connection?  Could Lynch be trying to
tell us something about the dangers of a high-sugar high-fat
diet?
 
What?  You say you don't remember these things.  You say
they never happened.  You must have missed the episode on
January 26th, which wasn't shown in the cosmos of
television, but aired instead in the minds of some 38,000
people on the Net.  The computer net, that is, an
international web called USENET--where a newsgroup with the
unassuming name of "alt.tv.twin-peaks" goes to delirious
extremes in its devotion to the show.
 
This is how it works: one person types in a message (called
a "posting"), the message is posted to machines all over the
world, another person reads the posting and responds, and
soon there's a free-for-all of conversational threads.  You
can read them any time you want, reply any time you want.
On Sunday, January 27th, for example, an unsuspecting fan
asked "Was there an episode last night?"  Rod Johnson, a
linguistics professor at Oakland University in Michigan,
read the question on his home PC and answered, "Yes, it was
great--here's what happened..."  Thus began the thread that
filled in the void of that one Saturday night in January.
_Horror_vacui_, indeed.
 
The readers of alt.tv.twin-peaks are nothing if not
obsessive.  Each night the show is aired, they convene to
take notes, carefully freeze-framing through each scene,
typing each line into their laptops.  Then they race to post
their findings, dropping into the newsgroup's ongoing stream
of analysis, speculation, cross-correlation, and background
research.  Sometimes the "netters" chase arcane details:
The cast and plot of the Marlon Brando movie "One-Eyed
Jacks."  The name of General Robert E. Lee's horse
(Traveler).  What language was spoken by Eckhardt's
companion in the diner (Afrikaans).  Quotations from
Shakespeare, Shelley, the Tibetan Book of the Dead.  Other
times, they delve into complex esoterica:  Tibetan Buddhist
lore about "The Black Lodge" and "The White Lodge."  Chess.
Transvestism.  The distinction between multiple personality
and schizophrenia.  The psychology of rape and child abuse.
 
But the netters cherish hidden connections even more than
details.  The world created by David Lynch and Mark Frost is
seen as an infinite universe of weblike possibilities.  The
"text" of this _Weltanschauung_ is not limited to dots on a
TV screen or bits in a soundtrack.   Twin Peaks is a window
into another world--a world where associations to mythology
and pop culture weave strange patterns into what we know of
ourselves.
 
"The owls are not what they seem," for example.  This one
was my own discovery.  While browsing through the
paranormal--Whitley Strieber's _Communion_ and Ed Conroy's
_Report_on_Communion_--I ran across a discussion of owls.
Apparently Strieber often sees owls at times of strange
events, and he interprets these as "screen memories" of his
encounters with "visitors."  In an interview with Conroy he
says, "The owl has emerged as one of the most predominant
images of the whole experience, because not only am I
involved with owl imagery, so are a lot of other people who
have had the visitor experience."  His sister has seen an
owl at her upstairs window, and his neighbors in the New
York woods remember being taken from their house in the
night by a giant owl.  What Conroy suggests, is that the
image of an owl may be how we recall the ineffable
experience of seeing the visitors--who aren't necessarily
from outer space, but may be spirits that come to us in the
woods.  Spirits, perhaps, who eat the souls of human beings.
 
Another line of research--by Diarmuid Maguire at Swarthmore
--concerns the native Americans that live near Twin Peaks.
Tribes such as the Nanaimo believe that dreams and visions
give power to those who receive them.  One of Maguire's
references mentions dreams of humans with abnormal physical
characteristics (e.g., dwarves).  And better yet, these
tribes apparently live in dread of a specific ghost, who's
located in an other-worldly "house in the woods".  They call
this ghost "Bookwus" (as in Bookhouse Boys, perhaps?).  The
Bookwus masks used in ceremonies are said to resemble fierce
owls.
 
Often, though, the postings are much more whimsical: the
netters delight in spinning theories from the smallest of
clues.  Could it be, for example, that "Ghostwood" refers to
a nasty habit Killer Bob appears to have: trapping the souls
of human beings in wooden objects?  We've seen Josie
screaming inside of a drawer knob; maybe the ka of the log
lady's husband is what speaks from within her log.  Will
Maddy's spirit show up in the "Montana" picture frame?
 
Multiple instances of liquids seen in bags or vials led to a
bizarre exchange on a compound dubbed "Blue Goo"--its
putative properties (bane against Bob?) and its chemical
composition (phenothiazine?).  Other popular theories
include a notion of the Roadhouse as a portal to the other
realm, and a speculation (after the Feb. 16 episode) that
Sheriff Truman may be Bob's new host.  Conjectures ran wild,
of course, over Cooper's dream and the Giant's cryptic
pronouncements, and Sarah Palmer's vision of a pale horse
spawned a plethora of competing explanations.  So often are
such phrases as "Senor Drool Cup" and "The Man from Another
Place" (dancing dwarf) invoked, they acquire their own
abbreviations: SDC, TMFAP, WSAC (who shot Agent Cooper?),
and of course, the well-known WKLP.
 
Netters like to argue, too.  Who was standing outside the
window when Josie seduced Truman: Pete, or Jonathan?  Where
did Jacoby notice the burnt-oil smell: near the gazebo for
sure, but what about in the hospital?  Discussion about what
was said ("J'ai une ame solitaire") by Lynch's son--called
"the creamed-corn kid"--swelled into a memorable series of
mistranslations. "I have a potato under the ground."  "My
hovercraft is full of eels."  The poem from Spirit Mike was
another bone of contention: "Through the darkness of future
past/ The magician longs to see," but was it "One chants out
between two worlds," or "One chance out between two worlds,"
then "Fire walk with me"?  A net-wizard with a closed-
caption decoder came to the rescue for that one, and
"chants" is now the consensus.
 
What really makes alt.tv.twin-peaks a fun place to hang out,
though, is not so much the content as the atmosphere.  These
people have intensity.  They have dedication.  Over the
months they've generated an impressive bank of "Twin Peaks"
resources: an annotated timeline for all events in the
series so far; cast lists and credits for each episode;
answers to frequently asked questions about the show; a
meticulous description of the European film ending; a
catalog of recurring imagery (e.g., sprinklers, traffic
lights, Palmers' ceiling fan); a guide to goodies like
coffee cups, T-shirts, books, and the _Gazette_; a complete
transcript of the second-season press kit; addresses and
phone numbers for ABC and Lynch/Frost productions; a long
list of favorite quotations; and even a program that
generates "owlspeak" like that in Major Briggs' printout.
And those who have the proper hardware can enjoy digitized
pictures of the characters, and samples from the soundtracks
(Leo's voice chirping "new shoes") that can be played on a
MacIntosh.  The disc space for all of this is located on the
other side of the planet--in Australia.
 
For me, at least, the pleasure in these files, and in the
postings to the group, is not so much that I will read them
all, but the way they add a layer of depth to the show.
 
Anything to which so many people will devote that much work,
accrues an extra value.
 
Twin Peaks is a weird place.  Alt.tv.twin-peaks celebrates
that weirdness.
 
As Francis Bacon says, "There is no Excellent Beauty that
hath not some Strangeness in the Proportion."
=============================================================

__Dave

--
David L. Claytor
dlc@mudos.ann-arbor.mi.us
...!hela!mudos!dlc


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