Twin Peaks

Remembering back to my Senior year in college… Twin Peaks was a fad that my girlfriend, at the time, and I were into. Of course, a lot of people watched it the first season. I picked it up when the infamous second season began. Recently, I obtained the new release of season two on DVD. Seeing it with new eyes, I hardly remember the way I saw it then. Piecing the whole story together now, I go back online to see what people have said about it. Time and time again, I hear the idea of the ‘cliff hanger’ ending of the second season.

Spoiler alert. Spoiler alert.

After finishing the series, I have to conclude that there is no cliff hanger at all. I believe the series is fairly well sewn up. All major characters are accounted for with fairly definitive endings. Some live happily ever after (Shelley and Bobby, Lucy and Andy). Some meet a terrible demise (Audrey, Catherine and her brother). Others simply reach the end of a collision course (Ed, Nadine, Mike Nelson, and Norma; and Donna, Dr. Hayward, Ben Horn, and Eileen Hayward).

The only major question is whether James will ever return to Donna. But the romantic longing and tragic sorrow that this situation evokes is more powerful left unresolved. Plus, there is a sort of poetry to the idea that James, the one truly good guy in all of Twin Peaks, leaves it never to return.

What about Agent Cooper? Wasn’t he a good guy? Well, let’s look at the evidence. Cooper had an affair with his ex-partner’s wife, not at all a good thing. Yes, Windom Earle, his ex-partner, turns out to be diabolically evil, but still, he slept with his wife. Cooper also makes repeated mention that Earle taught him everything he knows about being an agent. Does it make Cooper good that he learned everything he knows from an evil mastermind?

Well, we presume, since he’s an FBI agent, that he’s at least supposed to be doing good, but why then are his FBI superiors and the DEA investigating him through the bulk of the second season?

Yes, he’s eventually cleared through the help of transvestite agent Denise/Dennis and brought back into the FBI by the bumbling Gordon Cole, the Regional Bureau Chief who obviously has a soft spot for good ol’ Coop.

But, still, why does Cooper allow himself to get so wrapped up in Audrey Horn, even though consumating the relationship would obviously be statutory rape?

And then, at the end, instead of trying to stop Earle from getting to the Black Lodge he makes it a point to get there before Earle. He also makes Sheriff Truman wait for him, telling him he has to handle it on his own. If he really wanted to find Annie and Windom Earle, he would’ve had helicopters and dogs and thirty guys combing the woods. Perhaps he wanted to tap into the power of the Black Lodge himself?

I’m not saying Cooper is evil, but highly succeptible to bad vibes.

Still, you say, that ending.. that was a cliff hanger. We are left hanging… with questions. I mean,
what happens to Cooper and Annie? Surely that is a classic cliff hanger. Look again. Your questions are only questions because your mind is in horror at the truth.

My interpretation of the series end – Agent Cooper was taken over by Bob when he confronts Windom Earle in the Black Lodge. Bob is a demon spirit that originally inhabited Leland Palmer off and on all during Laura Palmer’s childhood/teen years. He’s the one that killed Laura Palmer using Leland’s body as a vessel.

At one point, Bob inhabitants an owl, which is only a holding cell until Bob could find his next vessel. Bob never inhabits Windom Earle since Bob is only interested in inhabiting innocent people with just enough bad to draw him in so that he can carry out his evil lust. In fact, he takes Earle’s soul in the black lodge because Earle seeks power for power’s sake and has no use for him otherwise. This is just after Earle offers to take Cooper’s soul in exchange for Annie’s life. But, Bob points out, he cannot take Cooper’s soul. Bob already has dibs, apparently.

So, at the end of the series, it is clear that Bob is now after Annie, another tainted innocent, through Cooper. (Annie is tained from having tried to commit suicide prior to us meeting her in the series).

The series ends with Cooper/Bob left to find Annie. It is a dramatic scene with Cooper/Bob smashing his head against a mirror after squeezing unnecessary amounts of toothpaste all over the brush and sink. With blood dripping down his face, he is cackling in mock irony “What about Annie? What about Annie”.

It is very much like one of those wicked Twilight Zone episodes. We are not really left to wonder what would happen once Cooper/Bob found Annie. It’s not a cliff hanger at all; just one for the imagination to plug in the missing last piece. A dark and gruesome piece at that.

What I think is that people hope it’s a cliff hanger because they really want to believe there will be more Twin Peaks episodes. They also want to believe Cooper is a good guy and that Bob couldn’t have won. But Bob does win. In the end, Bob moves on to kill again and Cooper, having failed to find the power of the Black Lodge (which probably is a myth to get people to look for it and then be possessed by its evil spirits), is, in the endgame, a helpless pawn in a chess match he could never win.

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On the Contract of Marriage

There is nothing inherently sacred about marriage. When two people fall in love and become to know each other in intimate ways, this is as common as any other private transaction. There are trade-offs, compromises, but mutual satisfaction in the things that the two can bring to the table for each other. This is no more sacred than a contract for one private company to deliver manufactured goods to another private company.

Yet marriage is tied to reproduction, a mysterious process worthy of religious awe. Like all mysteries of life, like death, it becomes wrapped up in our very psyche, a testament to the great paradox of human existence. The great paradox is that although we have the inherent power to reproduce and to live and thrive we have very little control over that power. Instead, the power tends to control us. Sex and death drive our imagination and our very existence.

Though a marriage relationship is simply another type of contract, a very common one in fact, we don’t treat it that way because of this tie to reproduction. We usually think of reproduction in terms of the general category of sex, since ‘sex’ these days, put in its most clinical terms, is a shorthand for activities involving the reproductive organs. Sex, though, extends to the whole being, both emotional as well as physical.

When we are involved with someone to that extent it is impossible to separate the two. A ‘casual’ fling is not casual at all, but instead shapes our whole outlook on ourselves just as if we had intended to stay with that person for a lifetime. How much more, then, does a marriage shape our identities? Indeed, it very much makes us who we are as a person.

Yet a word of warning is in order. If you ever find yourself committed to someone, someone who you in fact do wish to spend the rest of your life with and they begin to use terms that resemble contractual language, such as ‘deal breaker’ in reference to a circumstance that could ‘break the deal’ between the two of you, however hard this may be, run for the exit.

More than a poor choice of words, you have encountered a person who does in fact see marriage as simply a contract. They have somehow found a way to remove their emotional self from the inherent give and take of the intimate relationship and they are calculating costs, figuring future debts, and they do not have a shred of love for you.

To them, you are easily replaced by someone who can better satisfy the terms of their ideal contract. They have determined that you exist for them and while they may insist that they wish to have a ‘mutual partnership’, this is still contractual language aimed at negotiating a sweeter deal for themselves. Run like hell.

On Martyrdom

Becoming a martyr, for many, is the pinnacle of achievement.  It is not enough to live for one’s purpose.  It is not enough to achieve greatness in one’s own lifetime. Indeed, the true mark of achievement is to have died for the cause. 

 

So many of our heroes are martyrs.  Yet the question remains.  What greatness could these martyrs have achieved had they not died?

 

Consider the most worshipped martyr, Jesus of Nazareth.  Here is a man, some say God’s son, the Christ, who was destined for greatness, a man who may have galvanized the Jewish people to stand up against Roman rule.  Here is a teacher who may have revolutionized Jewish theology, a healer who may have ended world suffering, an intellectual who may have brought about a golden age in his own lifetime.  But he did no such thing. 

 

Instead, Jesus’ martyrdom is worshipped as a symbol of how suffering too can, however mysteriously, fit into the cosmic plans of a supreme being.  There are many who think that Jesus’ martyrdom actually was only his first achievement.  These people believe that Jesus died and then became alive again to move skyward to a cosmic dimension unknown to us.  Many adherents to this religious belief practice rituals that symbolize the continuing death and resurrection of Jesus in hopes that he will one day return.  He is ascribed with great powers of divining the evil from the good and when he returns, believers believe that he will judge everyone who has ever existed and determine whether they belong in heaven or hell. 

 

So many other martyrs.

 

Joan of Arc, Martin Luther King Jr., J.F.K., John Lennon.  All martyrs of a kind.  If you stretch the definition further you can add Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, and Julius Caesar.  Who can tell how our world would be different had J.F.K. lived out his presidential term or if Jimi Hendrix or Jim Morrison had gone on to contribute more to our culture.

 

In unexpected death, people’s lives are amplified and their work seems more important.  For some martyrdom brings an end to an already waning career.  For others it amplifies a career perhaps largely unknown.  There is the sense that they didn’t have time to fall flat on their face, screw up somehow, or just die out and fade away into obscurity.  No.  For all martyrs are the ones that went up in flames, died for a cause, were assassinated in their prime or died living lives of social excess amid glamour, conquest and the rock and roll dream.

 

Martyrs, though, are martyrs because we make them so.  Their grandeur exists mostly in our minds as media-created thought-form entities assigned magical powers of automatic identification.  We know who these people are.  They exist now.  They are not dead.  They exist.  They are forever emblazoned in our brains for every moment since the moment their physical presence ceased to be.  They can be called into recollection instantly.  In the moment of their death, our awareness of these special ones blossomed exponentially and continues to echo just as loudly on and on into the end of time.

 

That is what it is to be a martyr.  In death, an achievement no living mortal being can possibly achieve by any act of their own.

 

Still, to suffer for the hope of martyrdom is not a life. 

 

File Under: Severely Random Musings and Strange Thoughts

1. Trying to get my thoughts straight.
Helps to write things down.

2. There’s no point in rambling on
You built a Stairway that went nowhere
Boring mythology.
Go buy a less pretentious guitar solo.

3. Notes should be notes. Not fully formed thoughts or expressions. Or even full sentences. Let it be.

4. Fragments and if they don’t lead anywhere that’s just fine.

5. Shouldn’t be pointless or stream-of-consciousness. Unless that’s what you’re going for.

6. Pointless does not equal stream-of-consciousness.

7. What if the words were written but nobody could read?

8. Christianity is a fear-based religion.

9. We need more poets and fewer politicians.

10. The root of money is the love of all evil.

1094. Even if the world is one big illusion, that doesn’t really change anything. It’s a pretty good illusion.

12. You’re not the only person in the world though it may seem that way when you close your eyes.


X. You never have to run fast if you always hit home runs.

85. Creative exercises are always useful. Keeps your brain running.

Q=8B*4C. The worst thing you can do to a person is tell them that what they’ve done is the best thing in the world.

223. Flattery is always a lie.

B. I know your survival instincts tell you otherwise, but you are not really the most important person in the world. No one is.

8 II. Zip zip zipz ipz zjipzij zpi zpi zpi zpi zpi zpi zpizp zpz p zip zpi paipeiepipeia pei paiepae ipai e. and so on…

9 II. Nonsense isn’t always meaningless, but yeah it is.

50 dozen. If you survive beyond the point that you ever believed you could, you become invincible to your own self-defeating behaviors. Success is inevitable.

Appendix B. If you aren’t willing to wait, then you may as well give up.

4. II. Love would be great if everyone thought it meant the same thing. Same for God.

14. Anyone who tells you they have a better answer to what troubles you than what you already are working out for yourself just wants your money, your soul, or both.

No Number 13. The secret is: no one can take your soul. You have to willingly give it to them. Same thing for love.

122. Short aphorisms are redundant.

2211. I doubly and undoubtedly detest your unrepeatable tautology.

9 II. (again). People who want to rule the world are idiots, but let them. They’re usually too dumb to notice that nobody gives a crap.

4,008. If you roll the dice too many times, eventually the dice get a little worn out, but not enough that they don’t work, so go ahead and roll again.

19. The more supervisors you have, the more work will be created.

20. Personality politics run organizations far more frequently than ‘sound management’ principles. Bullies usually run the show.

21. Before you hate someone, ask yourself if you really want to pay that much attention.

22. Antipathy is not the same as apathy.

23. To be creative is to work within inherent restrictions. If you have no restrictions, there is no need to be creative, only expressive.

24. Art need not be revelation. It instead can easily be obfuscation.

534. Features of Christianity that I always found strange:
We are ‘better’ than animals.

God likes blood sacrifice better than fruit.
Not everyone will go to heaven. Only super good people.
Suffering is a good thing if you do it for God.
Women are fundamentally inferior to men.
The Bible is the only truth that anyone needs.
God hates anyone who doesn’t do exactly what He wants, but gives people ‘freedom of choice’.
God got tired and had to rest on the 7th Day. Then, he just stopped making stuff – for the rest of eternity.

789. Government is at the heart of all bureaucracy.

445. Commerce controls art far more than you would like to think.

Vanishing Point

In music production terms, we call it a ‘loop’. Feel free to jam on this. The title happens to correspond to the name of a New Order tune but that is a complete coincidence…

He never realized that he was no longer watching. Instead, he was only seeing. His eyes were open but his mind was closed. Sometimes he would stare for very long moments and when he was finished he wouldn’t remember what he was staring at.

“I’m done with this,” she said.

He looked at the towel and shrugged. “OK,” he said.

She walked away and got dressed. Ten minutes later she was gone.

Later, he would be watching himself type. Words would form on a screen. He would be sitting in a place to eat where they sell mostly coffee. He would be using his laptop computer.

“Would you like anything else?” she asked.

“Yes, some more water please,” he said.

The words formed and flowed and he hardly noticed her walk away. He wrote:

He never realized that he was no longer watching but only seeing. His eyes were open but his mind was closed. Sometimes he would stare for very long times. Sometimes, just a moment, and, when finished, he wouldn’t remember what he was staring at.

“Finished,” she said.

He looked at the towel. He shrugged. “OK,” he said.

She walked away and got dressed. Twelve minutes later, she had left.

Later, he would be watching himself type. Words would form on a screen. He would be sitting in a place to eat where they sell mostly coffee. He would be using her laptop.

“Would you like anything else?” she asked.

“Yes, some more water,” he said.

The words formed and flowed. Hardly noticing, he wrote:

He never realized that he was no longer watching but he was only seeing. His eyes were open but his mind was closed. Sometimes he would stare for very long times…

Snippet of Conversation Overheard (Not Really)

From the imaginary series fictitiously entitled ‘Never Trust Anyone Who Presses Your Pants While You’re Still Wearing Them’, we join the nameless characters already in mouth motion…

“I listened to Frank Zappa’s ‘5-5-5’ on May 5, 2005 with my hand out, raising five fingers. Does that not make me a numerologist?”

“I’m not listening to your gibberish.”

“You really should initiate more.”

“I hardly ever know what you are referring to.”

“To what you’re referring?”

“Why are you so into grammar?”

“Everyone has to be into something.”

“Once again, you mistake me for someone.”

“Someone – else. Someone who give a–?”

“Someone who exists.”

“You don’t exist?”

“Not for you.”

Jasmine: A Short, Short Story To Be Concerned About

Alert the authorities… you have been warned. You are about to read a short, short story designed for our violent times. A more or less stream-of-consciousness happening on electronic paper. Happy, happy, joy, joy: smother-cluckers. It’s called ‘Jasmine’ and I wrote it in December of 2003. Cheer up. You only die once.

Ripped apart by abysmal smiles over and above the line of their common thread, Jasmine and her counterpart Franklin left the club with the variance smacking of charismatic ineptitude.

I had sat next to them near the evidence reflection, cooled from the tattered ashes of banter and verbage that became more threads of a bitter conversation.

I loved Jasmine.

Franklin loved Jasmine.

And there was never enough evidence to grab a handful of packing trophies inside cardboard boxes with Valentine messages stuffed inside.

We both knew she was the love of Bernard.

So we assumed.

I knew her from grade school, but she knew me from the Soya Cafe (she claims to have forgotten her childhood). With the barrage of earwax melters booming from sound out of the beat-back we rubbed bellies on the smooth floor. Our feet followed the rhythm of magnetic dog howl. Our hearts beat passed the rambling of table fellows and turned on heals, sped towards oblivious wonder, only to fall into calliopetic idiocy.

We were only meant to be amusement park rides for each other, not Mr. and Mrs. Montague. Only no tragedy in this literary museum so there was no need to bark loud tears.

Willy never showed. Back to Bernard who was busy burying his face in another copy of the New York Times Book Review Section that he was reading upside down by virtue of the world turned topsy-turvy from his perspective since his breakup with Jasmine (another one). He left the Soya Cafe quite quickly that night. This I remember.

Jasmine. My Jasmine. Her eyes followed the slightest perspiration on the glass of orange juice that she had ordered just before the explosion. She saw her distorted reflection in ice and she used it as a reference.

Why beat a dead cow?

This was one of the things she did not think as the ‘terrorists’ made their mark on the lives of these few. Meanwhile, the man responsible for tacking the note: ‘Kill the Telemarketers’ on the bulletin board on the first floor front hallway of the Tackett Building in downtown Smithton scratched his back with a wooden back-scratcher made from solid oak. This he did with one hand. With his other hand he signed–“Bernard Towns” on a check for $500 to a hooker named Banshee. This was $500 not in his bank account. This was a hooker that did not take checks. In fact, this was not a hooker. In fact, a vice cop in drag. This was not his apartment. “Bernard Towns” was not his name. He, in fact, was the same man who planted the dynamite at the Soya Cafe, the same dynamite that at this moment is stuck to the underside of your chair as you sit, staring into Jasmine’s dark, unsweetened chocolate brown eyes.

He laughs a low laugh as he watches the hooker put her black dress on. Her real name: Jasmine. His real name: Franklin William Black. Also known as Willy, the owner of the Soya Cafe, soon to be issued far more than $500 dollars in insurance money that will never arrive, due to the postal mistake of a man named Ed in Plainsville who, that fateful day, had no way to expect up to that point the way his mind would roam so helplessly to just days before when he had found the note stuck with generic brand scotch tape to his dirty pillow case that read “Dear Ed, thanks for everything, but I won’t be back. Signed, Jasmine.”

Thought of the Day

Patience and tolerance are two completely different things.  Patience is forgiving.  Tolerance is simply waiting for the tolerated thing to end.  Patience is kind.  Tolerance is ambivalent.  Patience is self-less.  Tolerance speaks to ‘what’s in it for me?’  The motive for patience is love.  The motive for tolerance is business.  Tolerance is part of a negotiated deal.  Patience is offered with no strings attached.

 

 

 

Game Over for ‘Race’

I, for one, do not consider my skin color ‘white’ nor do I know of a place called Caucasia, so why must I identify myself as ‘white’ or ‘Caucasian’ when ‘racial’ (a.k.a. EEO) type questions arise? Who made this crap up? Are we just approximating skin colors since some morons have no sense of aesthetics? Even the darkest-skinned person I’ve ever seen has not had totally black skin.

And another pertitinent question: are all those people with dark skin really from Africa? Answer: no. Also, how is an American – born in America, raised in America, having never set foot in Africa or cultured in African ways – considered an ‘African’-American just because of his or her skin color? They shouldn’t be. It’s just stupid.

And if we are going to use the argument that the person’s African ancestors make them an African-American, aren’t we all from Africa since humans evolved from there millions of years ago? If we are talking about origins, let’s go all the way back, shall we? Why stop in the recent past? I certainly don’t go around thinking of myself as Scots-American just because many of my ancestors were from Scotland, as recently as my Grandmother’s parents. Nor do I consider myself Jewish-Scots-American since my Grandmother on my other side had parents who were Austrian Jews who immigrated to Brooklyn just prior to WWII. Nor Anglo-American just because…

And is American even an ethnicity or simply a place of origin?

It’s time to give up the ‘racial’ game. Our race is homo sapien sapiens. That is biologically correct. And although ancestry is important in genetics and health care, the idea of different ‘races’ of humans is simply wrong.