“Maybe that’s all BOB is. The evil that men do. Maybe it doesn’t matter what we call it.”
– Albert Rosenfield, Twin Peaks
I recently finished watching Twin Peaks. It’s a clever, unusual show, albeit marred by production difficulties that led to an uneven second half and mixed messages regarding its true intentions. Still, off-balance though it was in more ways than one, not much about it left me confused. Instead, there was a lot I wanted to discuss at the show’s conclusion. Most of all BOB, the main antagonist of the series. BOB is an embodiment of evil. He is not an evil man, but rather, as the show has it, “the evil that men do”. So it doesn’t matter if he’s a metaphysical apparition out of the Black Lodge or the mental construct of a traumatized character. He is both more and less than a person.
But while this blog is inspired by BOB, it’s not about him.
It’s about Hana.
Hana is not a character on Twin Peaks, or someone any of you have met before. Or maybe you have, and you call her something different. But if there’s a character in a fictitious medium she has a lot in common with, it’s BOB.
I think we all have our own “BOB” inside of us. Our dark side, our doppleganger, the sum of everything we secretly fear and dislike in ourselves. Wearing our bodies like a suit, it’s a sickness that grows if we let it, and unaddressed it can wreak havoc that we must one day face. In our own pursuit to exorcise our pain and sorrow (“garmonbozia”) we may fail to see that it’s not an external force, but a living aspect within us. For me, that creature’s name is Hana.
As I said, I think we all have a side we aren’t too happy with, a part of ourselves that we feel doesn’t represent who and what we are. I don’t need to get into details with mine, nor should you need to with yours. But if you’re like me, you’ve heard Hana’s whispers, her coos, her seductive breath on the nape of your neck. Her slender hands wrapping around your wrists and taking over the driving duties of your own life. And before you know it, you find you have been hypnotized as you act as her marionette, living your life as the worst version of yourself.
For me, a large part of Twin Peaks is about a town full of supposedly good people – who I believe really do mean well – ignoring a collective internal darkness and as a result, letting it into the driver’s seat far too often. But how do you combat something like that? When you have this negative power with permanent residency inside you, do you deny its existence, do you embrace it, or something else entirely?
To me, the answer is starving it. When it comes down to who you are, the sad truth is that BOB, Hana, or whatever you want to call it is a part of you, and you can’t just change who and what you are like a makeover. Instead, you can only grow and adjust. And when something has wrapped itself so tightly around you, all you can do is seek to depower it enough to make it loosen its grip. I’m not talking about pretending it’s not there, but rather about staying vigilant, making friends and family aware of this monster so that you can fight it not alone, but together. To make sure it never has that quiet moment to whisper in your ear. It is only the evil that men do if you do it…
I guess I liked Twin Peaks because it recognized that terrible things happen not as a result of evil people, but just “the evil that men do.” It isn’t about someone being born a villain, but about how the most noble and well meaning people can have this thing lingering within that they must struggle to overcome. Their doppelganger who wears their face, who preys on weakness. Who hides in the shadows because there’s too much light to exist in the beautiful world with the rest of us. Hana may not be BOB (thankfully), but she’s of the same mold. She is with me always. She even found her way into Unlife. And if it takes a group effort to ward off Hana, then that means it’s James’ turn to rally the troops…
So let’s rock.