POSTS by Nick Splendorr http://splendorr.com/posts Wed, 06 Jul 2022 00:00:00 -0400 The most recent POSTS. the narrative hunger for evil http://splendorr.com/posts/the-narrative-hunger-for-evil posts/the-narrative-hunger-for-evil Wed, 06 Jul 2022 00:00:00 -0400 Okay so that’s a dramatic title. But as I’ve been reading about Twin Peaks, two things I’ve seen multiple people say are just driving me nuts (spoilers of course):

  1. In The Return, we see Cooper lead Laura away from her death, and then a repeat of the first episode’s opening scenes, except Laura’s body isn’t on the beach. I’ve seen more than one person assert that they DO NOT LIKE THIS because IF LAURA DIDN’T DIE, THEN THAT WOULD UNDERMINE THE ENTIRE SERIES???????

  2. One of my Favorite Things about The Return is that the willful, selfish, “evil” characters are all dispensed without fanfare. The two assassins in the van are undone by being assholes to one too many people. Richard seems to be leading up to importance, but he just gets zapped and exploded. Mr C does so much harm, and in the end is just shot by Lucy. There’s no “big conflict” between “good and evil.” And I’ve seen so many people say they were LET DOWN by this; that they were anticipating some kind of battle(?) between Cooper and his Double?????

Anyway I don’t have time to go all the way into this, but it’s twisted to confer respect upon villains in a story, when they are driven by greed and callous disregard for others. I think it’s a Huge Problem that villains always get a monologue in adventure stories. Fuck ‘em. Their justifications are always horseshit, and yet giving them air time allows someone the opportunity to engage and potentially agree.

It’s fantastic that Mr C gives his justification once: “I don’t need anything. I want.” Beyond that, his only priority is survival and propagation. It’s beautiful that he is accorded no respect by the camera; that Lucy shoots from the heart and just ends him.

Fuck a villainous monologue, Thanos-ass deluded bullshit

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“jowday” http://splendorr.com/posts/jowday posts/jowday Mon, 04 Jul 2022 00:00:00 -0400 I may be sidling up closer to having something to say, if not something to conclude, about my recent foray into Twin Peaks.

I’m about 100 pages into “In Dreams” by H. Perry Horton, which is a wonderfully-long connective study of most of (I accidentally typed “lost of”) David Lynch’s work. And I don’t think I agree with much of it so far. But that’s okay! He says he may not either, but it’s one viewpoint in. I DO appreciate very much the observations and care he’s given to sources I hadn’t paid much attention to.

I’m not trying to find The Answer. I don’t want one, and I don’t think there is one. DL’s work is too associative, too improvised to have one conclusion. It’s collage, but carefully-edited and considered.

I like many aspects of Lou Ming’s “Find Laura” study, and I think there’s a great deal of emotional truth in it. One of his ideas I keep coming back to us the “Bad Transformer.” The flickering light in Laura’s autopsy, blamed on a “bad transformer.” The electricity and flashing lights throughout, which could be emblematic of so much, but so far work very well as indicators that something we’re seeing isn’t exactly what’s happening. Misinterpretation, mishearing, or deliberate obfuscation. Something’s wrong, emotionally and materially. Film itself is light, and when something’s wrong with the light, it means we aren’t seeing “the truth.”

Maybe! And so he looks for other Bad Transformers, and identifies Gordon Cole as a major one. He consistently hears “the wrong thing.” This might make him a source of hidden truth, but rarely verbal truth; “it cannot all be said now,” and we see at the beginning of Fire Walk With Me that Lil’s symbolic instruction is required to say something Gordon doesn’t trust words to convey.

David Lynch himself has made it clear that he doesn’t trust language, not for the big truths. I like that in an interview he says that unless you’re a poet, words usually just make a big idea smaller. He uses images, sounds, and their unity in movies to try to address the (to him) unspeakable. Horrors and truths.

SO ALL OF THIS TO SAY, almost everybody I’ve read who says anything about The Return… just buys what Gordon says about “Judy” really being “Jowday,” an ancient goddess, etc etc…

They just buy the line. Hook, sinker, and all.

But despite seeming quite lucid in this scene, when has Gordon ever heard and repeated a word correctly? He gestures, he directs, and his intuition may be sound enough. But as the head of the Detectives in the dream of Twin Peaks, he gets an awful lot wrong. And words? Forget it. That may be important, especially in Lou Ming’s read, but what matters here is that almost every other scene featuring Gordon Cole shows us that he is almost incapable of hearing or repeating the truth directly.

So I think the “Jowday” thing is a misdirection! And yet it has the appearance of Revelation, so everybody latched on to it. And this book, “In Dreams,” uses the concept of Jowday as a great, metaphysical evil, in opposition to “the Dreamer who Dreams and then lives inside the Dream,” as a foundational concept.

And I just don’t buy the Jowday thing at all!

Who is Judy? I mean, hell if I know. I have a couple conceptual ideas. You’ve gotta acknowledge that the most important thing for DL isn’t encoding a secret message; it’s building a mystery McLachlan-style (Sarah, not Kyle), and choosing so carefully which parts to keep in so that there is no center, no solution. I watched people drive themselves nuts looking for the secret “grand staircase” theory of House of Leaves, when all the fun was happening elsewhere. Same principle applies here, I think. Anchoring “good and evil” in the “Dreamer” and “Jowday” is a too-simple mapping of binary onto art which repeatedly shows us that binaries… aren’t.

The question for us is, can we look out the window without our shadow getting in the way? And when it inevitably does, can we find unity with the shadow?

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"only thing I’m good for now" http://splendorr.com/posts/only-thing-im-good-for-now posts/only-thing-im-good-for-now Thu, 30 Jun 2022 00:00:00 -0400 Wishing Tree (Stolen Spoons Remix) by Michael Flynn

Wishing Tree (Stolen Spoons Remix) — Michael Flynn

cool-sounding remix of a good song

Threw my money in the wishing pool
Just like every other desperate fool
Trying to tempt the gods and change my fate
Just a little too little too late

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covid, according to craig mod http://splendorr.com/posts/covid-according-to-craig-mod posts/covid-according-to-craig-mod Thu, 30 Jun 2022 00:00:00 -0400 I'm just sharing these excerpts because I'm troubled by both the number of people I know who have gotten covid in the last month or so and have endured serious illness, alongside the number of people who have in some way shamed me for still trying to be as safe as possible. And the general unthinking dismissal of caution despite evidence that none of us are vaccinated against the current group of variants, and that catching them doesn't seem to add any natural immunity, either.

From Craig Mod's Roden newsletter, #69:

After twenty-eight months of hiding from the world, of mostly isolating, of not hopping on planes or going out to bars or attending sporting events, after twenty-eight months of hiking alone in the mountains and walking through towns so small they contained only a barber and a kissa, of masking up eighteen hours a day, of shaking no hands, hugging few people, of hosting small dinners, of being a Very Responsible Citizen, I flew to England, had two coffees, a couple fish and chips, and got Covid almost instantly.

Covid was like a kick to the throat. Then a kick to the chest and a hacksaw to the skull. Once exposed, it felt like important parts of my brain were nibbled at by pigeons as I curled up in a ball in a strange land far from home.

I suppose it’s no surprise that Covid itself — the live virus coursing through my sloppy veins — slapped me down. Slapped so hard that at one point I couldn’t stand because, when I did, the world spun. Spun as if I was a character in a cartoon hit with an anvil, spun wildly, drunkenly. Trapped in an overpriced London hotel, I had opened the window and went to close it, and simply couldn’t balance myself long enough to get the latch to catch. That was the one time I broke down in tears. I had to ring the front desk: I … I can’t close my window.

Which leaves me mystified by how heartily the rest of the world seems to have thrown their hands up and declared abject bankruptcy against the virus. Ideally, I guess, we would have snuffed this thing out in 2020 like we did other SARS-esque stuff of the early 2000s? A tall order, sure, but I believe we’re more capable than leadership choices might indicate. Anyway, no. We failed our global marshmallow test. England (Cotswolds and London at least) is fully back to 2019. No masks in sight. No preventative measures. I went to a dozen hotels and saw not a single staff taking precautions.

So it went, me and the virus. I was sick for a solid fourteen days. Around day ten an online GP, troubled by my dizziness, recommended I visit the A&E, which turned into a bit of medical tourism. I steadied myself long enough to cab it to a university hospital, check in, and be seen by a couple doctors and bevy of kind nurses. They were all so lovely, although confusing. One nurse was terrified that I had Covid. She put on something that looked like a garbage bag, a shield, and a mask, as if I were Ebola-positive and was gushing blood out my eyeballs. I asked if she wore a mask on the subway and she looked at me like I was nuts. No, she didn’t. She didn’t wear a mask anywhere. I love British folks, but man they can be puzzling.

I’ve since recovered and the rest of Europe was amazing (or as amazing as it could have been in my ~50% energy post-Covid state). I attended two weddings and, with my copious antibodies, inhaled the breath of hundreds of people without once pondering disease. That felt nice, but also stupid. You can’t help but think we should have and could have “beaten” this thing without slamming our collective faces into a wall.

Now, back in Japan, it’s a bit of a trip, a time machine. 95% of folks are still masking up outside, this despite the surging heat. The past week has been a “Real Feel” of 40°C. That’s mid-August weather, not end of June weather. June heat records have been broken. And while it feels a bit nuts, a bit neurotic or pathological to strap on a mask outside (I don’t FWIW; and official government guidance is you don’t have to), what it means is almost everyone masks up inside. Since, I mean, it’s already on your face.

Per-capita Covid deaths in Japan are some of the lowest in the world. Life is almost “entirely normal” and has been normal for a while. People are out and about living. Maybe 10% of my friends have had Covid here. (Compared to 90%? in the U.S. / Europe). My intro graph at the top may make it sound like we had significantly compromised our lives in Japan, but Japan never “locked down.” No cops checked documents if you strayed from home (like in Australia, for example). I traveled extensively in-country by rail. I saw people I love. I just didn’t go see Paul McCartney at Tokyo Dome with 30,000 others. Personally, it feels like very little was “sacrificed” to achieve a literal healthy response to the pandemic.

I’ve gone out into the world and witnessed the total embrace of Covid, the abject dismissal of it as “a little cold.” I got Covid. It kicked my healthy butt. (And I share that butt kicking above to help folks for whom it’s tough feel a little less nuts.) For more people than you may think, it’s not “a little cold.” And the thought of having Covid be seasonal leaves little joy in this heart, and portends a pattern of continuous pain for many around the world.

My reaction to having gotten and gotten over Covid isn’t, Great! Everyone should just get it done with. But rather: Wow, how do we do better to keep fewer people from having to be exposed? And: I’d prefer to not get that again, thanks.

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judgment http://splendorr.com/posts/judgment posts/judgment Tue, 28 Jun 2022 00:00:00 -0400 I realize I am terribly constrained by fear of judgment. I am ashamed of myself, in everything I do, not because what I do is shameful. But because I have been too many times hurt by others’ judgment that had little to do with who and what I really am.

I’ve been reading and thinking a lot about Twin Peaks and David Lynch’s other works. Even now I fear you — the abstract “you” — rolling your eyes. The baggage around a name. The takeaways. My demographics intersecting with stereotypes intersecting with partial experience.

I’ve had a lot of thoughts about a lot of topics as I’ve pored over texts, commentaries, and ephemera. And yet it’s been almost impossible for me to share any of it, here or otherwise, because I’m
ashamed of finding it interesting in the first place. I have become afraid of being interested in the “wrong” things, and unconsciously come to believe that most of what I find interesting is going to be dismissed by others.

It’s a strange feeling! What’s it based on? Definitely parental judgment, the specter of which I still can’t escape. Definitely the ambient and observed reactionary tone of so much public, social discourse. The utter lack of patience with something that has been filed as Bad. It’s exhausting.

I make too many of my decisions, or short-circuit the deciding, because I just can’t bear to have someone tell me I’m wrong when they aren’t actually listening to me. I can be wrong! I’m wrong a lot. I learn constantly. But at a certain point, the weight of being dismissed without being heard or interpreted accurately, no matter how clearly I tried to speak — which connects to so many pains and setbacks —

It was too much. It affects my ability to simply converse and correspond. A feeling that I have to produce a Good statement, when I have a decreasing sense that it’s even possible, due to my own internal jumble.

Just describing a problem and thinking of how to do otherwise.

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"heaven ain't a place" http://splendorr.com/posts/heaven-aint-a-place posts/heaven-aint-a-place Tue, 28 Jun 2022 00:00:00 -0400 Pretend Like by Michael Flynn

michael flynn - church clothes

i never thought the phrase "boiling the water in the fellowship hall" could carry so much romantic tension, but I have listened to this album 500 times and can confirm it does

god, i love to see you
god damn, i love to see yooooou

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"catch the dreams as they fall from my ceiling" http://splendorr.com/posts/catch-the-dreams-as-they-fall-from-my-ceiling posts/catch-the-dreams-as-they-fall-from-my-ceiling Tue, 21 Jun 2022 00:00:00 -0400

bill wurtz — i'm a princess

last night I had one dream where everything was made of meat, all the buildings, everything, and got increasingly horrifying over many hours

and then i had a dream that the band lo talker came over, pretended to just be saying hi, but then secretly refurbished my entire house with ikea cabinets on every wall when I went out for groceries. I was so grateful

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"I reckon, I reckon" http://splendorr.com/posts/i-reckon-i-reckon posts/i-reckon-i-reckon Thu, 16 Jun 2022 00:00:00 -0400

nirvanna the band - update day

the goatest. if you haven't watched their show, "nirvanna the band the show," do yourself a favor. No, you know what? Do ME a favor!!!!!! And watch it for fun.

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"turned it into such a joke" http://splendorr.com/posts/turned-it-into-such-a-joke posts/turned-it-into-such-a-joke Fri, 10 Jun 2022 00:00:00 -0400

Tiny Animals — Is This the Last Time?

great band, love to sing along with this album

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“and how long shall it take” http://splendorr.com/posts/and-how-long-shall-it-take posts/and-how-long-shall-it-take Thu, 09 Jun 2022 00:00:00 -0400

bill wurtz — i just did a bad thing

listen. we’d all love if things weren’t so fucking hard for me all the time

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“Do not confuse the pursuit” http://splendorr.com/posts/do-not-confuse-the-pursuit posts/do-not-confuse-the-pursuit Mon, 06 Jun 2022 00:00:00 -0400

Mark Frost, The Secret History of Twin Peaks, p. 58

I don’t know what the white horse “means,” but I think its silhouette here resonates.

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“who and what we truly are” http://splendorr.com/posts/who-and-what-we-truly-are posts/who-and-what-we-truly-are Sun, 05 Jun 2022 00:00:00 -0400

Mark Frost - The Secret History of Twin Peaks

yyyyyep

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“root causes” http://splendorr.com/posts/root-causes posts/root-causes Sat, 04 Jun 2022 00:00:00 -0400

Mark Frost, Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier

I’ve taken in a LOT of media and analysis of Twin Peaks in the last month, and I think this points at one of the hearts of the project. Whether it succeeds, or how we would even know…? But I see this, especially in The Return and its emphasis on split natures, its brutal depiction of common suffering, and its insistent reminders that we are… dreaming? … and I’m trying to reconcile Lynch’s work with meditation and raising consciousness with the grimy, visceral nastiness visible in so much of his art. None of it seems to be reveling in darkness; when it shows true horror, we are not meant to be entertained. That violence is a rupture in the persistent possible sweetness of mundane coexistence. Appreciation for the quiet moment, the strange phrase, the loving smile. But we all have to pass through, for some reason, the monstrosity of puberty, to feel our minds and bodies warp and twist, overcome by unknown forces, hoping we come out the other side a decent person. Most people don’t, not immediately; it’s our burden to reflect, to study, to bend our branches back toward sunlight, away from blood and towards the rain.

But we have a massive, massive collective problem. An awful lot of people aren’t afforded the space and peace to do that reflection. Some ends are served by starving and prodding. Twin Peaks illustrates these conditions, again to varying degrees of success for any given person. And I think part of why they show us moments of goodness, but then land in confusion or horror, isn’t because that’s “the truth” or inescapable. I think it’s a splinter we’re meant to work out.

Or maybe it’s all bullshit, and I’m projecting. Either way, I like this train of thought, and the idea of making art with these intentions.

Electricity — Power — Shock — Thought

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"Memories that I'd black out" http://splendorr.com/posts/memories-that-id-black-out posts/memories-that-id-black-out Thu, 02 Jun 2022 00:00:00 -0400

panic! at the disco — collar full

realllllly love this album, still. oh, show me your love!

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"this is what it goes like" http://splendorr.com/posts/this-is-what-it-goes-like posts/this-is-what-it-goes-like Fri, 27 May 2022 00:00:00 -0400

bill wurtz - if the world doesn't end

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"Victim or witness, we're gonna get hurt" http://splendorr.com/posts/victim-or-witness-were-gonna-get-hurt posts/victim-or-witness-were-gonna-get-hurt Tue, 24 May 2022 00:00:00 -0400

I stare at my reflection to the bone.
Blurred eyes look back at me, full of blame and sympathy.
"So, so close."

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“““Windows””” http://splendorr.com/posts/windows posts/windows Fri, 13 May 2022 00:00:00 -0400 Just thinking in the middle of the night

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fiction http://splendorr.com/posts/fiction posts/fiction Fri, 13 May 2022 00:00:00 -0400 from PROMETHEA, pictures I took in 2014:

one of our most precious gifts is how we perceive. when everything feels sharp, it makes perfect sense to pull away, to seek shelter. looking back over my photos, I can see a progression just over the last ten years away from beauty, wonder, amusement, and love. I can tell my mind has become a less hospitable place for lighthearted and profound feelings.

there are infinite “reasons” for that. the world i inhabit became much, much more overtly cruel and difficult in that interval. several pillars of emotional and material support collapsed. and most pressingly, I can just see the gradual erosion of my well-being as years of financial hardship wore on, despite my best efforts. it’s been hard to live in this world, which made it harder and harder to live in this mind. I can’t overstate how important this awareness is, and how it should guide the way we treat people collectively. we have to create as much space for calm, pleasure, and safe reflection as we can.

I’m trying, and sometimes succeeding, to cultivate more of that space for myself. I feel unspeakable anguish over what I’ve lost, most acutely when viewing evidence of simple times that I used to enjoy so much. sitting at the Heirloom counter for a couple hours on a Sunday morning, back when I could afford that one treat and I reveled in it, when it was safe and comfortable to simply be among people in a small room, when the ideas flowing through me from books were alive and colorful and beautiful. when certain love was easy, before whatever happens to make it brittle.

I can see it fade and leave. some things will never come back. my losses are deeply personal, and also not the worst that can happen to a person. and even though it’s become so much harder, I maintain a capacity to laugh, play, explore, and seek beauty of all kinds. I don’t feel it as often. it’s excruciating to be aware of how I’ve changed that way.

but what we see can change. not only for the worse. how we see. it’s not a fixed point. it really can feel that way, especially during the worst times!!!

but I’m trying to remind and be reminded that things will change, and that I’m allowed to put a hand on the rudder.

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"a flicker of desire, and a memory of youth" http://splendorr.com/posts/a-flicker-of-desire-and-a-memory-of-youth posts/a-flicker-of-desire-and-a-memory-of-youth Thu, 12 May 2022 00:00:00 -0400

Five Iron Frenzy — Blizzards and Bygones

I absolutely love the instrumentation on this song. Shuddering drums; icicle-glittering guitars; the brass and vocal wind blowing frozen through the trees. Describing the difficulty, and trying to summon up the courage to continue.

Back when the angels of heaven would sing
Days when I still made you feel something

Blizzards and bygones, all frost and no thaw
Airways constricting, and vessels withdrawn
And you look around but find yourself all alone
And you hunker down but the cold's already in your bones

There's a flicker of desire, and a memory of youth
A faintly glowing fire

Can you stand the weather if winter lasts forever?

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"tyrants all cowered behind white lies" http://splendorr.com/posts/tyrants-all-cowered-behind-white-lies posts/tyrants-all-cowered-behind-white-lies Wed, 11 May 2022 00:00:00 -0400

Five Iron Frenzy — Tyrannis

Never mind who's hands plowed your ground
While you long for yesterday
Stars and Bars for empty pride still flying
The same flag as the KKK

Tyrants all cowered beneath white lies
Murderers memorialized
All your world was wrought in violence
Traitors training fellow tyrants

Your generals are dead and buried
Lost to time, the cause they carried
The statues that they never earned
We'll bulldoze as your flags are burned

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