The inspiration that’s taken to create something innovative and original is pretty common among Hollywood directors, or at least it’s expected to be, and when it does pan out the effect is quite interesting. In David Lynch’s movie Blue Velvet though there are so many clues as to the connection it shares with the Lincoln assassination that all a person really needed to see to make the overall connection was a tall man in a top hat being shot in the back of the head. Apart from that, the imagery is pretty easy to see, especially once it’s pointed out, and the progress that Lincoln represented is something that’s far too easily persecuted by those that don’t want things to change and are willing to do pretty much anything they can in order to make sure that said progress doesn’t keep moving forward. Frank Booth, another part of the theory, is among the many individuals that wouldn’t want change to come to his part of the world since it would expose him for who he was and change things in a way that would make life untenable for him and those like him from that point on. The many other hints and clue that have to do with this theory throughout the movie are fairly easy to see, and while David Lynch appears to enjoy being a bit coy with his imagery and the meanings behind what he does, the lack of any concrete interpretation that can be derived from his stories is a bit infuriating sometimes since it indicates that he does have a point to what he’s doing, but it’s usually bound to be taken in many different ways.
Taking the Lincoln assassination as something that can be used to inspire a movie isn’t that hard of a thing to do since it’s comprised of a very basic story that’s overlaid with intricate planning that tended to muddy up the overall act that was bound to be committed. When John Wilkes Booth decided to take action and snuff out the life of the man that was representing change and a new order in the country he was acting as an agent of the status quo in a way since he and many others didn’t want things to change. The abolishment of slavery was something that many people still opposed back in those days, abhorrent as slavery is to people today, and many people were willing to fight for it. This is true of many aspects of today’s world and Blue Velvet made it quite clear. The seedy underbelly of society that exists and runs on the suffering of others is something that many people are willing to fight and die for since it’s a life that they’ve cultivated and made into their own, and it’s something they will fight to the end to protect. It might not make a lot of sense to many people but it makes sense to those fighting, and to them, that’s usually all that matters.
Change is a rough and sometimes very uncaring and less than a gentle thing, as many people know, and progress represents change. This is as true now as it was back in Lincoln’s time, and the resulting actions of those that don’t want change are every bit as deadly and unpredictable now as they were back in the days of slavery. At one point having slaves was considered to be a way of life, and even stood as a status symbol in the eyes of many. But for those that desire change and a push forward in society, slavery was the past, and one that people are no longer proud of and wished to do away with. The criminal element in Blue Velvet was rather similar since they didn’t want what they were doing exposed and they certainly didn’t want life to change either, but it was bound to one way or another, and as a result, the clash of ideologies was bound to result in bloodshed that would spill over and expose those that were involved. Many people call Blue Velvet a very messed-up movie and tend to watch it once or twice to make certain of what they were seeing. But the link to the Lincoln assassination is definitely there since Lynch took great pains to add in certain images that would stand as clues to those that were paying attention and give them a good idea of what he was trying to do.
Inspiration can come from anywhere to be certain, and sometimes the best storytellers will use whatever they can get a hold of, while some will take from history the tools they need in order to tell a story that will captivate and in some cases shock people. While he might not be everyone’s favorite, David Lynch is certainly skilled at telling a story.