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The dangerous power of David Lynch’s voice.

The dangerous power of David Lynch’s voice. (photo)

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David Lynch has, as I’m writing this, 225,395 Twitter followers who are regularly treated to such insights as “I plan to cut strips of Douglas Fir for trim on plywood and apply Fix-All on a large canvas. What are you doing this weekend?” Nice work if you can get it — anyone else who posted things like that would be lucky to get even their close personal friends to follow them, much less hundreds of thousands of people.

But that’s the power of Lynch’s voice, which the late David Foster Wallace once described as “Jimmy Stewart on acid.” In its peculiar, stop-start cadences and cartoonish tone — in stark contrast to the darkness of his movies — it makes even the most uninteresting material sound good. Lynch could get away with reading the proverbial phone-book — he comes awful close with his daily weather reports.

02232010_lochness.jpgLynch knows how to exploit his own persona shamelessly. His is arguably one of the two most recognizable directorial voices working today. The other is Werner Herzog, whose Teutonic purr and tendency towards the hyperbolic is unmistakable. Herzog’s voice can make everything better — even a fairly implausible video that made the rounds a few months ago (“Werner Herzog Reads Curious Charge”) had its fans, people who presumably can’t wait for the next infinitely listenable Herzog soundbite. The two’s cadences have probably earned them fans by virtue of their sonics alone.

The difference between Herzog and Lynch, of course, is that Lynch is all about the delivery. If you read his Twitter in your normal voice, it’s nothing. It’s all about imagining him delivering it. Herzog, on the other hand, generally says things that are meant to be actively processed — his interviews read just as well as his oral pronouncements. Both of them constantly toy with self-parody — the affection people have for how they sound borders on amused condescension and has a tendency to flatten the nuances of their movies, or subordinate them as being less diverting.

Still, it’s better that than the case of Quentin Tarantino, a director whose voice is also instantly recognizable, but mostly for its adenoidal tendencies and the mildly pedantic tone he brings to bear in discussing his influences and enthusiasms. In his case, everyone can recognize him, but few people would want to listen to him for very long (even though his interviews are generally fascinating).

[Photos: David Lynch as Gus the bartender on “The Cleveland Show,” Fox, 2009-present; “Incident at Loch Ness,” 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2004]

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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