Milch, metaphysics.

by waxbanks

From an email I sent to my teacher Professor Thorburn this morning:

But it seems to me that what’s happening there is in Milch’s schema a magical ritual of sorts — and it works. Moreover, magic seems to work throughout the show; or rather, something is at work throughout the show which ‘magic’ is one common name for. I suspect the ‘saint’ in ‘depraved saint’ is meant perfectly literally — but one reason the show resonates w/more commitedly materialist viewers is that Milch’s presentation of his metaphysics readily ‘degrades’ to, is comfortably misread as, a language of coincidence, symbol, ‘literary’ contrivance. Whereas JFC is not so reducible.

I suspect I have more sympathy for Milch’s variety of vaguely New Age-ish magical thought than you do — less than average for an American of any age, but much much more than average in my friend/peer group — and maybe that explains my deep affinity for romantic symbol-plays of other sorts: the literally incoherent but resonant Counterforce symbolism of Gravity’s Rainbow, the weird TV-religion in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? which couldn’t possibly make it into the (too?) streamlined movie, the magical resonances in John Crowley’s Aegypt and Little, Big (some of my favourite stories), the didactic excesses of the middle portion of Sandover…not to mention my own enthusiasm for esoteric taxonomies of the alchemical/occult sort, the ‘hysterical maze of sign reading’ that is tarot divination…