Is David Lynch a conservative? And why do we care?

In true Lynchian fashion, the David Lynch discourse on Twitter is near untraceable. Replies recurrent on popular tweets are users who are confused about the debate’s origins. “Wait, there’s David Lynch discourse? Do I even want to know what it is?” one user asked. “Twitter discourse is to nuance as a foghorn is to subtlety.” The question of unknown descent that plagues the Twittersphere examines the director’s politics—is David Lynch a conservative?

The seemingly singular question unfolds into a multitude of questions, again (sorry), much like his films. ‘Is he conservative?’ ‘How conservative is he?’ ‘Even if he is, does it in any way discredit his films?’ ‘Does it discredit his personhood?’ And ‘How the fuck could you possibly think he’s a conservative?’

Lynch hasn’t shied away from politics in his films or in his personal life. He seems to hold a fairly typical stance for someone his age who is generally liberal, especially socially, with a quintessential peppering of conservative takes. On issues of seemingly obvious injustice, he is undoubtedly pure in his progressivism—but a few deep dives into old interview tapes and Lynch’s writings, when compiled, are weighty enough to convince some Twitter users that he’s been voting red.

The discourse is more reflective of the defects of contemporary culture than Lynch’s politics, whatever they may be. Lynch did not make an unruly comment or appear as the subject of a distasteful frat photo resurfaced by the brotherhood. Most of those screaming into the internet about why he is or is not conservative are responding to the reaction of others more than they are to any action of Lynch.

The gap between political identities is widening exponentially and becoming increasingly purist on either end. The purging of abusive and misogynistic and racist creatives has developed in an intense desire to examine. The instinct, while fruitful in its benefits, seems to have spiraled beyond productivity, where interested parties become enraged by things that likely would not have previously enraged them. Like the fact that David Lynch allegedly once said he voted for Reagan—supporting Reagan is undoubtedly controversial, but it does not equate to wearing blackface or abusing an ex. Critiquing the boxes he checked on a ballot decades ago does little to further progress society. We all have room to grow, in intellect and compassion, but when encouraging that growth in others, it is important to ask, is it for the sake of humanity or media spectacle?