Happy Birthday David Lynch! DFW on how Blue Velvet changed his perception of himself as an artist
The older I get, the more appreciate David Lynch as an artist and the more I laugh when I read certain sections of Infinite Jest. David Foster Wallace here describes both how wrong he was in his self-perception of his writing during graduate school and how certain moments from Blue Velvet - notably the shooting of the Yellow Man - that figuratively blew his mind.
Of Lynch's work, Mulholland Drive has slowly moved to the top of my regard, overtaking Wild at Heart a few years ago, while Eraserhead (the gruesome parable of Lynch's fear of becoming a father) is less and less entertaining. He is one of our great American film visionaries, and for all its numerous faults, Twin Peaks: The Return was better than anything else that aired on television since Mad Men finished up. The films of Lynch, Bresson and Bergman have worked in concert with the writing of William Faulkner and copious amounts of Beethoven to dislodge me from my very real and very hindering sense of what a work means or, better yet, if it means anything at all. When the viewer can accept that not everything in Lynch's work has meaning and that many of the things that do have meaning are not literal and often are nonsensical-yet-important, then once can begin to appreciate Lynch's more surrealist work (Eraserhead, Rabbits, Inland Empire and Mulholland Drive, to name four).
Anyway, it's probably all been said in a gazillion English/Film courses, so I'll stop now and wish Mr. Lynch a Happy Birthday!