Twin Peaks Usenet Archive

Subject: "The Borg Killed Laura Palmer"
From: (Jason Snell)
Date: 1990-10-10, 23:41
Newsgroups: rec.arts.startrek,,

From the Wednesday, Oct. 10 edition of the UCSD GUARDIAN:

* Why is an anti-social pastime so social? Why don't we 'get a life'?

By Jason Snell, News Editor

Laura Palmer is dead, wrapped in plastic. Why do I care? Why does anyone
care about this girl? I mean, she was a sexually promiscuous drug addict
homecoming queen girlfriend of the captain of the football team who was
having an affair with a biker.
Yet lots of people, including me, spend lots of time watching television,
and even treat it as a social event. People have come over to my house
just in order to watch ABC's bizarre "Twin Peaks" series. There's a guy at
Warren (college, one of UCSD's 5 residential colleges) who wants to borrow
a tape I have of the first 6 episodes, just so he can watch them again.
Why do I even have them on videotape in the first place? Well, it does
make for one hell of a conversation piece. At work, I've had conversations
with people (even some people I barely know) all about what happened on
this television show.
"It's just a television show!" is what William Shatner yelled at a
group of trekkies during a "Saturday Night Live" sketch a few years ago.
They're all just television shows, alternatives to getting a life.
Television is ridiculously antisocial. All you do is stare at a screen
for a while, and then turn it off. You don't usually talk to the people
watching it with you (if you're not watching it alone, that is), and you
usually don't even talk about the show later in general conversation.
But in the last two weeks, I've had so many different conversations
about television that it's starting to drive me crazy. Me, the guy who
did a high school literature project on "Gilligan's Island." I'm the guy
who remembers that Nipsey Russell, Fanny Flagg, Charles Nelson Reilly,
and Bret sommers were always guests on "Match Game '79." I still
remember the secret device that Space Patrolman Aiata used to turn into
Ultraman. (The Beta Capsule, of course. Come on, you knew that, didn't you?)
I used to watch television, enjoy it, and not try to force it on
others. I watched it by myself. I had a good time, and it gave me lots of
material to use at parties. (I just filled the last paragraph up with TV
references, and there are more where that came from.)
The social effect of singing the "Spider-Man" theme at some kind of
gathering is incredible. Everybody knows it. Not everybody will be able
to identify with you politically or socially, but we all know that
Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can.
Now I watch television with people. In the last two weeks, I've watched
and discussed "Twin Peaks" with bunches of different people. I watched
"Star Trek: The Next Generation" with some friends, too. And we'd sit
sit there during these shows and actually make comments. It was sort of
like being antisocially social. You can mumble something like "What the
hell does David Lynch think he's doing?" or "Ah, Picard, you're in trouble
now," and people will understand you. They'll make comments about Killer
Bob is actually the manifestation of the evil in the Twin Peaks woods, and
I'll give it serious thought. Then, the next day, I'll pick up the Los
Angeles Times and read what Howard Rosenberg has to say about the show.
It's television as a social tool, kiddies. Watch some TV. It'll give you
the illusion of social interaction, but it's a lot less work. You can sit
there and discuss the metaphysical ramifications of Dale Cooper's vision of
the Giant or the aftermath of Jean-Luc Picard's torture at the hands of the
evil Borg. But you're still talking about >television<, not real life.
Then again, maybe it's easier that way. As I said before, television
is often the only thing that we all share. It's a common link betwene us,
something that we can all understand. We may understand "Doogie Howser,
M.D." more than we understand the friends sitting next to us watching TV
with us.
That's a shame, because people are far more interesting that television
programs. But if the only way that we find common ground is by talking about
television and watching it, well, at least it's common ground. At least it
causes some kind of interaction. I suppose that's better than sitting
in a room by yourself watching a glowing screen.
Hmm? What's that? Saturday night?
Sorry, I'm busy. Gotta watch some TV.
Wanna come? Bring popcorn.


Jason Snell / / University of California, San Diego
"Sometimes you can't hear me because sometimes I'm in parentheses..."