Friday, September 22, 2023

Mulholland Drive, 911 and... Barbenheimer?

Maybe the simplest description I can offer of Synchromysticism is "the bleed-over of dream logic into consensus reality." The keys to this process are myth, symbol and co-incidence. It's a process that we may well need to help accelerate as the old Reality comes unglued.

Dream logic is David Lynch's lifeblood. Although some reviewers have dismissed Lost Highway, Mulholland Dr. and Inland Empire as jumbled navel-gazing, there are very simple keys in these films that unlock the mysteries in ways that prove they are anything but. 

Even before I discovered these clues I felt the films made perfect sense, even if I couldn't quite nail it down. Knowing now what these films are about (or at least what many people interpret them as) doesn't demystify them for me, it does the exact opposite.

Because beneath all the obvious symbolism and plot devices are embedded details that speak not only to Lynch's longstanding obsessions but to deeper and far, far stranger connections that let you know that dreams aren't just inside your head - they have the power to invade your external life as well.

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But before we continue...


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The question becomes why do Lynch's films resonate on that deeper conscious level? Why do we see - and feel - them as dreamlike? What does that even really mean?

Well, to me it means he pierced a veil that separates our mundane lives and experiences and found a motherlode that some call - and mind you, I hate this term now -- the collective unconscious.

The art I'm most entranced by is the art that feels like it was stolen from my dreams. 

There's no ostensible pattern to this. Mulholland DriveEternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Max Ernst, early Cocteau Twins, the first Devo album, Tubeway Army's Replicas, certain Industrial music videos, Jacob's Ladder, The Royal Tannebaums, My Bloody Valentine, Brian Eno's 70's work, The Go Team, and Cliff Martinez' Solaris soundtrack all strike very deep chords in me that I can't quantify, nor am I entirely sure I want to. 

As tempting as it is to puzzle out exactly why this material triggers something so profound within me, I'm afraid over-analysis will break the spell. 

But I do wonder why people will feel the same subconscious tug from certain songs or films. Why do people use the term "dream pop" to refer to bands like Lush or the Cocteau Twins? 

We surely don't all have the same dreams, and not all dream pop bands use a lot of echo or reverb to achieve their effects. And I don't know about you but I don't remember a lot of reverb in my dreams. My dreams always seem like reality. If they didn't, they wouldn't have any power at all. 

There's the collective unconscious, but then there is the collective nightmare of our times, nEYEn11. That event ultimately gave birth to The Secret Sun, especially given that it was only a weird fluke of chance that I wasn't at the WTC that morning, like I had been for much of the summer that year.

But as it happens, that infamous Tuesday was encoded into the very title of Mulholland Dr.

From the previous post: 

Mulholland Dr (released 10/12/01, or one month and one day after 9/11) gets its name from the famous Los Angeles street, which in turn is named in honor of William Mulholland, the LA water baron. 

The real Mulholland inspired Roman Polanski's 1974 film Chinatown, which starred Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway and John Huston (who played the Mulholland character) and was based on a Robert Towne (Parallax View, Firm, Mission Impossible) screenplay. 

Mulholland's birthdate? 9/11/1855.
Do note that Mulholland Dr is all about Twinning, and the disastrous outcomes of such. Or is it the other way around? And does that even matter anymore?

I really don't know.

But one thing I do know though is that that movie -- the second of what some call Lynch's Hollywood Trilogy -- marked the death knell of the Great Dream Factory that is Hollywood. 

Many see the 90s as the pinnacle of Tinseltown's magic and influence, and you can certainly see the post-nEYEn11 era as the time when the silver screen became just an endless theme-park ride with rapidly-diminishing returns and quickly-forgotten blockbusters.

Will anyone remember the Marvel movies 20 years from today? I'd say only people who were at that peak impressionable age when they saw them. Does anyone still talk about the Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter movies? Not so much anymore. 

Hell, the Twilight movies were the biggest things on the planet for a few years and who even thinks about them now? It's like they've been flushed down the memory hole.

For all the success of those franchises, they simply did not leave the kind of mark on the culture that movies had done in the 80s and 90s.

Y'know: before nEYEn11.

For all of Lynch's quirkiness and nostalgia, his films -- and I'm counting Twin Peaks: The Return -- are inherently apocalyptic. And as I keep having to say, I use that term in its original sense, and not the dumbed-down vernacular sense. 

Lynch uses dream logic to map out reality -- to lift the shroud of normality bias and social convention and reveal the hidden architecture of the world that lies beneath. That's what I mean by apocalyptic -- the Great Revealing. 

Or if you prefer, disclosure.

Even the Grauniad acknowledges Lynch's apocalyptic powers:
Weirdly, that is not the case now. Lynchian is the go-to adjective to describe any sniff of the uncanny and esoteric on screen, from Donnie Darko to True Detective. It will never be a mainstream quality, but it exists explicitly in orientation towards the mainstream, often represented by the discordant versions of 50s Americana that appear so often in his work. 

And so his destabilising vision has become a common lens for discerning the truth about the “normal world”: that white picket fence America paints over deviant and sometimes evil obsessions, as in Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks, or that Hollywood is in fact a nightmare factory, as in Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire.
I'm sure a lot of people might call that "Gnostic," but I really don't think that term - which has been spun and stretched beyond recognition -- does his work justice. It's so much deeper and relevant than a bunch of glorified fanfic.

I don't think it's any coincidence that Mulholland Dr was released so soon after nEYEn11, and I don't think it's coincidence that the only signs of life coming out of Zombie Hollywood this past summer were Barbie and Oppenheimer, both of which together come off like a match made in Heaven, where everything is fine.

Admit it: that all feels very Lynch to you.

Think about Episode 8, think about traversed dimensional veils (arguably the premise of the Barbie movie in the first place) and the Barbie-like casino girls. Think about the machine-gun wielding Las Vegas accountant hunting down rednecks, which presaged a real-life twin (ostensibly real-life, that is) just a few weeks later in -- you guessed it -- Las Vegas.

Think about how Lynch lifted up Tinseltown's many rocks and revealed the creepy-crawlies beneath. Sure, a lot of people want to write Mulholland Dr's vision of a corrupt and conspiratorial movie business as the sour grapes of a failed actress, but probably not anyone reading this blog. 

We all know it's far, far worse than the tales Lynch was telling out of school. I'm going to tell you exactly why that's so on Saturday (September 23rd) in a livestream starting at 6 PM Eastern. 

And we all know where it all began. 

We all know who Lynch's muse is for all of these revelations is -- arguably from Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks onwards -- the literal and provable Oracle of the Apocalypse

Whatever you think of Lynch as a filmmaker or person, there's no arguing that he is perceptive in ways most people are not. And I would posit that the lifetime of pain you hear in that voice and in those verses lit a fire so deep in his mind that it informs all of the work he's done since he first heard it.

It's no wonder that her stand-in here went onto to play a medium on television herself, since this particular oracle is ultimately a medium for some of the most powerful spirits in all of Creation. Don't worry, though: we'll save all that for another time.

So I want to see you on Saturday as we dive deep into Mulholland Dr. and see the master show us how to bring the power of dream into this cold and dying reality simulacrum.

Again, September 23rd, 6 PM ET. 

How can we make that happen? 


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