"Let's Rock" and 1956  

Lodger

I watched the Charlie Rose interview with David Lynch from 2000 where he says that if he could go back in time he would go back to 1956, "the birth of rock n roll," and it got me thinking about how the 1956 we see in episode 8 relates to this statement.

The Fireman and 1956 scenes are all in black and white. Whenever you see the Fireman in other episodes his house (possibly the White Lodge) is in black and white. In episode 8 he's first seen listening to music - an old-fashioned piece named in the credits as "slow 30's room." 

The 1956 scenes on Earth have a definite Garden of Eden vibe to them, with the innocent / pure black and white 50's world being infiltrated by the Black Lodge, something Lynch has shown previously in Blue Velvet, as another surreal 50's Eden is shown to be infested by cockroaches (not unlike the Frog Moth in episode 8). How do the Woodsmen achieve this corruption? Via the radio of course.

It's interesting then to consider the repeated use of the phrase "let's rock" in this context, which has been mentioned in the original series, FWWM, and again in season 3.

It seems that the Fireman represents innocence and purity, like the pre-corruption black and white world, as well as like the image of Laura Palmer, through the black and white and "slow 30's room" music. In contrast, the Black Lodge represents corruption through colour and rock and roll. This might explain why the FWWM scenes in episode 17 begin in black and white but give way to colour as Laura is whisked away - the corruption (the Black Lodge) has interfered again, and the pure child of the Fireman has gone.

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Posted : 17/10/2017 8:26 pm Deja Lee liked
RR Diner Patron

Interesting! Wasn't aware of this Charlie Rose interview. Might have to dial that up. Someone did point out that The Platters version of "My Prayer" was the Billboard number 1 song that week of 8/5/1956, which is my best explanation of why we go there in Part 8, so I am viewing your thoughts as deepening that maybe. Cool.

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Posted : 17/10/2017 8:51 pm Deja Lee liked
Owl

I'm both intrigued and confused by this connection. My confusion is easy to summarize: it's hard to imagine that Lynch and Frost, obvious lovers of modern music see rock n' roll as a corrupting force in any straightforward way. They may perhaps see it as a metaphor for a loss of innocence, but even that is slippery given their frequent preference for the often naive compositions of early rock.

But I'm also intrigued. These thoughts are less coherent:  it seems to me quite clear that the setting in 1956 and the mechanism radio are very much tied in episode 8 and elsewhere to this question of how evil entered the world (or at least how one form of "the evil that men do" arrived).

In particular, electricity plays a huge role and I had - until I read this post - not fully connected it with the question of music. Rock n' roll saw the electrification of music on a wide-scale, the necessity of amplifiers, the electric guitar, etc.

But also, I am struck that the white lodge/Fireman's house is - up until the detonation of the White Sands nuclear test - populated with music that was not generated by electricity flowing in as current. Rather than a radio, Dido listens to music on a phonograph, whose energy was generated by hand crank. Might electricity, in part, be the thing that is "in our house now?" And here I think obviously of the Lynch interview linked on the front page of this site in which he says "There are things that come into the home, you know … things that are built or created outside the house, which all speak about the time and about the life. And then if something goes wrong with those things, or if they’re not in good working order, it can mean something else too.”

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Posted : 18/10/2017 2:12 am Jesse Newkirk, Deja Lee and OctavioLemos liked
Lodger

When I say "corrupting" it doesn't necessarily mean bad; I always come back to Hawk's quote about fire - it's neither inherently good nor bad, it just depends on the intention. And it's not a judgement on music either - the music in this case is just symbolic, not literal.

Elvis appeared in 1956 and caused a stir because of his sexuality. In the scenes closing episode 8 we see a girl reaching puberty, discovering sexuality. And with it comes jealousy as she asks the boy if he's still seeing Mary. There's alot more to say about how this scene speaks to the rest of the season that I can't get into here as it would be much too much to write, but broadly speaking I think there's a strong menopausal element to Sarah's story, with the Pulaski / American Girl scene representing something in between the child and Sarah, so we get the full fertility life cycle (the black corn represents fertility and death).

Sarah's rejection of Laura in part 17 is a case of victim-blaming borne out of her own loneliness - the loss of her husband, who essentially chose a younger woman (well, women) over her. Laura's inability to get back home in Part 18 stems from her mother's rejection, which itself is rooted in sexual jealousy as she places the blame on Laura. But that's not to say "sex = bad."

(sidenote: It's also interesting to note that the boy guilt trips a kiss out of the girl, and Cooper later does this to Diane before they drive through the portal. The following motel scene shows Diane clearly uncomfortable, as she quickly turns on the light, to which Cooper calmly tells her to switch it off again).

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Posted : 18/10/2017 12:53 pm Deja Lee liked
Lodger

By the way, in regards to machines "going wrong", I've written on here and elsewhere about the negative portrayal of phones specifically in this season. It's everywhere - from Mr. C's constant malevolent use of them, to the Log Lady lamenting that she can't say everything over the phone. There is a tension between the usefulness of the tool, and its negative side effects (eg the phone makes it easier to stay in touch, while simultaneously creating a reason to not speak face to face, distancing people).

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Posted : 18/10/2017 1:00 pm Deja Lee liked
Town Visitor

Very interesting.

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Posted : 18/10/2017 6:43 pm
RR Diner Patron

Yeah, as Hawk says, it depends on the intention behind the [electricity].

I don't think we are getting a condemnation of rock and roll, or anything like that. Worth noting is that, although we might associate the Woodsman stuff in Part 8 with "My Prayer" that song is being played on the radio before he arrives and starts skull crunching people. He turns it off, and then, "This is the water..."

It might be no coincidence that one of the members of the Platters at that points was named David Lynch. Let's think about the medium. Radio enabled some great stuff to get to people, but also ultimately became the medium that spreads the dreck of pop music. Lots of crap. Same goes with TV: it can give us Twin Peaks and the like, or it can give us the Bachelor. Sam and Tracy watch the box and he says that he had been told that sometimes something appears.

So, I don't know if I am being clear, but I am thinking it is not direct criticism of the music, so much as in line with this worry about the medium. It depends on the intention behind the fire. And, yes, the scene with the giant and Senorita Dido and the slow 30s music, and the phonograph... but we shouldn't make the mistake of thinking these things cut clearly along the lines of good/bad. 

I feel like my thoughts were actually clearer earlier when I was riding the subway and that I am just trying to recreate them now, but so it goes.

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Posted : 18/10/2017 10:03 pm
Detective Moderator
Posted by: Cæmeron Crain

Yeah, as Hawk says, it depends on the intention behind the [electricity].

I don't think we are getting a condemnation of rock and roll, or anything like that. Worth noting is that, although we might associate the Woodsman stuff in Part 8 with "My Prayer" that song is being played on the radio before he arrives and starts skull crunching people. He turns it off, and then, "This is the water..."

It might be no coincidence that one of the members of the Platters at that points was named David Lynch. Let's think about the medium. Radio enabled some great stuff to get to people, but also ultimately became the medium that spreads the dreck of pop music. Lots of crap. Same goes with TV: it can give us Twin Peaks and the like, or it can give us the Bachelor. Sam and Tracy watch the box and he says that he had been told that sometimes something appears.

So, I don't know if I am being clear, but I am thinking it is not direct criticism of the music, so much as in line with this worry about the medium. It depends on the intention behind the fire. And, yes, the scene with the giant and Senorita Dido and the slow 30s music, and the phonograph... but we shouldn't make the mistake of thinking these things cut clearly along the lines of good/bad. 

I feel like my thoughts were actually clearer earlier when I was riding the subway and that I am just trying to recreate them now, but so it goes.

I hate it when that happens. I often do my best thinking while I'm driving. Then bathe time I get to some place I could write it down, I've lost most of it.

But I think I follow what you are saying. I never thought it to be a direct criticism by Lynch/Frost, but perhaps a portrait of the societal perception of the corruption.

Or maybe it's completely unrelated and 1956 was chosen for some other reason we will probably never know.

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Posted : 18/10/2017 10:13 pm
Lodger

I too feel like I muddled my original thoughts a bit.

In a nutshell I think the Black Lodge represents the more animalistic desires we have, which only become dangerous to others as they come truly alive at puberty. This is how I read the reason for the monkey in FWWM. Rock music as a symbol represents that same sexual / animalistic awakening which is neither good nor bad - it's just an impulse which can bring negative side effects. I want to be clear that I don't think it's a criticism of rock music, just that it's a useful symbol for contrasting the two Lodges and communicating what each represents.

I like the idea of electric instruments etc in the post up the page. Technological change is a bit of a theme in this season. 

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Posted : 18/10/2017 10:30 pm Brandy Fisher liked
Detective Moderator
Posted by: Anthony Marley

By the way, in regards to machines "going wrong", I've written on here and elsewhere about the negative portrayal of phones specifically in this season. It's everywhere - from Mr. C's constant malevolent use of them, to the Log Lady lamenting that she can't say everything over the phone. There is a tension between the usefulness of the tool, and its negative side effects (eg the phone makes it easier to stay in touch, while simultaneously creating a reason to not speak face to face, distancing people).

Phones were an interesting theme throughout this season.  Margaret had 2 phones, one white, one black.  Lucy was afraid of cell phones but eventually understood them.  There were all those old school office phones. The phone call to Mr. C from "Jeffries?" Diane's text messages. I think there were some other examples, but I don't recall them now.

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Posted : 18/10/2017 10:48 pm
RR Diner Patron
Posted by: Brandy Fisher
Posted by: Anthony Marley

By the way, in regards to machines "going wrong", I've written on here and elsewhere about the negative portrayal of phones specifically in this season. It's everywhere - from Mr. C's constant malevolent use of them, to the Log Lady lamenting that she can't say everything over the phone. There is a tension between the usefulness of the tool, and its negative side effects (eg the phone makes it easier to stay in touch, while simultaneously creating a reason to not speak face to face, distancing people).

Phones were an interesting theme throughout this season.  Margaret had 2 phones, one white, one black.  Lucy was afraid of cell phones but eventually understood them.  There were all those old school office phones. The phone call to Mr. C from "Jeffries?" Diane's text messages. I think there were some other examples, but I don't recall them now.

Allow me to add 3 significant phone calls:

- Mr. C's phone call in jail to Argentina. He says: "The cow jumped over the moon" and the black device is destroyed (?)/turns into a small stone.

- The one that Mr. C picked up at the Dutchman, which eventually brought him out when he was persistently asking Jeffries "Who is Judy?"

- The unanswered phone call at Carrie's. This one bugs me, because it wasn't picked. 😉

 

 

Edited: 1 month  ago
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Posted : 19/10/2017 3:39 am Brandy Fisher liked
Detective Moderator

Ah yes, the unanswered phone. That bugged me too.

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Posted : 19/10/2017 10:58 am
Town Visitor

- Charlie's phone is equipped with a rotary dial. So unusual today. I am not even sure it would work with current networks.

But this is OT.

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Posted : 19/10/2017 1:53 pm Brandy Fisher liked
Roadhouse Regular

More about 50s/60s rock and roll as I'm working on early chapters of my company's history of Rock book:

Alongside The Wild One and Rebel Without a Cause were a series of hit songs about teenage deaths. I had totally forgot this phrase... They records came to be known as "splatter platters." Could this inspiration for choosing a song by The Platters for the Part 8 radio scene/Part 18 sex scene?

Also, this book points out a "splatter platter" by singer Ray Peterson: "Tell Laura I Love Her"!!!

With 50s music all over this season, Lynch was obviously going back to his childhood. I could just be grasping at straws here. Or they might be inspirations. Who knows. There will always be more to ponder.... and while googling "Twin Peaks" and "splatter platter" i just came across the video sync of Part's 8 and 18. Wow BOB Wow!

Edited: 2 weeks  ago
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Posted : 08/11/2017 1:59 pm
  
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