Some of last week’s major headlines:
Police forcibly remove a large number of peaceable protestors from the area in front of a Washington DC church, so a 73-year-old white man can be photographed standing there alone, holding a prop bible.
An unarmed 75-year-old white man approaches a Buffalo police officer at a protest and is shoved so forcefully that he cracks his skull open, lying unconscious and bleeding as members of the force step past him without offering assistance. But first the weather, as perceived by a 74-year-old white man peering out the window of his studio of his Hollywood Hills home (one of three), prior to sharing a dream in which he is a German soldier dying on D-Day….
What makes this newsworthy?
The date and the identity of the self-appointed weatherman, filmmaker David Lynch.
For the record, June 6, 2020 started out cloudy and a bit chilly. The hope just off Mulholland Drive was for increased “golden sunshine” in the afternoon.
(One does wonder how much time this amateur spends outdoors.)
76 years earlier, an absolutely accurate weather forecast was essential for the Allied Invasion of France. Multiple meteorological teams contributed observations and expertise to ensure that conditions would be right, or right enough, for the invasion General Dwight D. Eisenhower envisioned.
In the end the Allies won the day because in order to predict the weather, they acted like the weather. Competing groups jostled and maneuvered, each trying to pressure the others into accepting their point of view. In just the same way, the high- and low-pressure cells fought and spun into one another over the Atlantic. The forecasters reinforced their own ideas, and none of their ideas was the winner, just as each gyre and each center of low and high pressure pressed against the others, squeezing out the future among them. The Germans, on the other hand, believing that they could conquer uncertainty by fiat, declared that weather and people would conform to their assumptions. They were proved wrong. The Allies appeared on the beaches of Normandy, just like a surprise storm.
Lynch’s D-Day anniversary report for Los Angeles was his 27th, part of a daily project launched without explanation on May 11.
His emotional weather seems to run cool. He relays his historic life or death unconscious encounter (it involves a machine gun) in much the same tone that he uses for reporting on Southern California’s pleasant late spring temperatures. For the record, Lynch was born 593 days after D-Day, and has no plans for a WWII feature—or any other big screen project—in the foreseeable future.
In a visit with The Guardian’s Rory Carroll, he expressed how television has become the medium best suited to the sort of long and twist-y narratives he finds compelling—like art, life, and reincarnation:
Life is a short trip but always continuing. We’ll all meet again. In enlightenment you realize what you truly are and go into immortality. You don’t ever have to die after that.
So maybe he really was a luckless 16-year-old German soldier…
One whose current incarnation’s foundation created a fund to provide no-cost Transcendental Meditation instruction to veterans as a way of coping with Post-Traumatic Stress. Lynch named the fund in honor of Jerry Yellin, a fellow TM practitioner and peace activist who, as an American fighter pilot, flew the final combat mission of World War II on August 14, 1945.
Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. Her daily art-in-isolation project is closely tied to the weather in New York City. Follow her @AyunHalliday.