About a quote from David Lynch
« You know, John, this country is in pretty bad shape when a human scum can walk across your lawn, and they put YOU in jail if you shoot’em. »
(see the link at the bottom of the page to David Lynch Interviews, edited by Richard A. Barney, 2009, page 227)
Did he really say that ? DL himself seeing humanity’s problematic and actual gap in between the ones who want and the one who can’t or even don’t want as a matter of civil war ? I agree you have to shape up and I also believe in merit, I can blame lazyness or lack of perspective. Furthermore I’m not even able to draw a line in between aestetic or pragmatic world views : I take for sure that aestic IS pragmatic, a difference most people use to « excuse » artists when they go crazy (e.g. Houellebecq). But what the hell ? A gunshot, lethal one, a lawn, some human scum, jail ?! It’s a tough loss to take from the transcendental director…
Art is everything or nothing, in no way it is something apart from the World, another world you would pay a visit to sometimes to get relieved from this one : I litteraly hate this approach to art, this is for me the worst and most dangerous lie about it, because it’s a way to reduce art to something innocent, to nothing.
This being said, in such a state of mind, you have many occasions to get really upset with people who disturb you from your quest. The dilemma is to keep being aware on the one hand of inequalities and strong enough on the other hand to condemn what you consider to be a threat for your work, your serenity. I mean this constant unquiet calm that forces you to create, this delicate balance upon which depends your mental health.
The artist has no more rights than the others but he claims for rights everybody should be able to claim for. Liberty of speech for everybody, my opinion. If it’s good, it’s good. If it’s the vehicule of bad ideas it’s not, and if it is, so it’s not the vehicule of bad ideas : either it’s not good or you don’t get it… Yes, I believe a piece of art is good or not and it has nothing to do with personal opinion. You can dislike something good, and you can like the worst : art is not about « liking ». Once again, this a lie that providers of « cultural products » support on a terrifingly increasing scale. « Cultural products », think about it, not so many people can still hear it as an oxymoron. And, yes, I believe in truth, not in the plurality of opinions : something is or is not. Same for the artist : he has to know (knowingly or unknowingly : this is the point) what he has to do at any time of his work. For any problem he encounters he has to find THE right solution. No problem with that, liberty is infinite or is not.
But, here Lynch unties the Gordian knot in a pretty astonishing and stupid way, and it has nothing to do with freedom of speech. Still the question is big and has to be eventually answered : what does it mean about our world when David Lynch is speaking « as someone rooted in the sunlit credo of American West : Don’t tread on me », as John Powers says after meeting the director several times to release this interview published among others collected by Richard A. Barney (http://www.upress.state.ms.us/books/1162) ?
Should we take it for granted ? I think of him as a pretty important artist, and, of course, I won’t change in the least my opinion. I’m only talking politically and philosophically : such a big artist, with sensitive sense of freedom l totally understand and share, and thinking, a thought I also share, that one of our biggest problem is to get rid of whatever/whoever tries to restrain one’s from doing what they have to : this man solves the question by such a statement. Most interesting, much to think about our time. I mean, I would have expected something deeper from him. Actually maybe not, considering his Silencio private club in Paris : obviously a place for the cynical jet set, which biggest criticism I would level at is to be, in the end, deeply uncultivated.
Sébastien Pellé, 11th of November 2018.