Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Wit is Dead: Requiem for a Blogger


Caveat & Disclaimer - my thoughts on the following, while calm, are muddy, inchoate, incomplete. But, I am sober as a judge. I imagine I will return to this subject in the days to come:

I had been wondering at the abrupt end of posts at The Wit of the Staircase, which was surprising, as the authoress generally apprises her readers of trips and other absences. Then today, stopping by Gazpachot, I learned the tragic news that Theresa Duncan had killed herself last week, an apparent overdose of pills washed down with alcohol. The stories have remarked on her last post, but I have been more interested in this quotation she put up the day before:

"Then, the cool kindliness of sheets, that soon
Smooth away trouble; and the rough male kiss
Of blankets...."


~Rupert Brooke, The Great Lover

and the day before that, 7/8:

"A child in the dark, gripped with fear, comforts himself by singing under his breath. He walks and halts to his song. Lost, he takes shelter, or orients himself with his little song as best he can. The song is like a rough sketch of a calming and stabilizing, calm and stable, center in the heart of chaos. Perhaps the child skips as he sings, hastens or slows his pace. But the song itself is already a skip: it jumps from chaos to the beginnings of order in chaos and is in danger of breaking apart at any moment..."

--Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus

Still, nothing in the overall tone of her writings (on 7/9 came the title, "Wit and the Warrior Heart"), choices, musings, suggested a deflation of spirit. Her intermittent yet characteristic whimsy and blitheness were present. That, and she was scheduled to travel in the upcoming weeks... Had she intended a permanent departure just two days prior, and meant this as an ironic post, I imagine she would have made this one a perverse last, artful as she was. So what happened?

To add to the loss, on Tuesday, July 17th, her longtime companion and world-reknowned artist, Jeremy Blake, seems to have left a note, along with his clothing and shoes on the shoreline at Rockaway Park. His body has not been recovered.



Why do people go naked in the water to die? Is it a return to the natal state in utero?

Whatever you felt about the opinions of Theresa Duncan, posted here on June 1st, 2007, her seeming paranoia and "conspiracy theory" bent (interestingly, the papers are whitewashed of any mention of the harassment Wit claims she and her longtime lover suffered.*), I found her an extremely intelligent, artful, bold and beautiful woman. I did not always agree with her manner, and was often uncertain of her point of view (which is in no way meant to denigrate it, rather as an expression of my own ignorance and anlage opinions), I held her in very high esteem.

The loss of Jeremy Blake to the culture of art is a grave one. As quoted in the New York Times today, "Roberta Smith, writing in The Times about a 2005 exhibition by Mr. Blake in New York, said that his work had “given the stream-of-consciousness narrative, so long a part of modern literature, a time-based visual equivalent” and that he was moving past predecessors like Ed Ruscha, William Eggleston and Raymond Pettibon into new artistic territory."

This couple, darlings of the art world and, by all accounts, very much bonded and in love, and graced with so much talent, intelligence, activity, seem to have had everything to live for. No doubt, suicide is possible even at such great heights, but seems an antidote to life administered more rarely. What happened?

Madame Wit will be sorely missed. Very few people have such an abundance of cultural learning right at their fingertips and, I imagine, their lips. It is a pleasure to read the musings of someone with such a thoughtful, tense and synthetic mind. I am always enamored of people this curious about life, and was regularly inspired. To Gazpachot, I am of a like mind:

"...like many, I was stuck on her ability to make you yearn for a world as vibrant and original as hers - A secret Lunar Society, a great home in Venice, a well turned phrase, a great picture choice, a coveted item, a sapphic celebrity crush**, a flare for stylish elitism. Honestly, her sometimes haughty voice, like most haughty voices, seemed put on, and often made me wonder what (kind of pain) she was trying to cover up. Anyhow, I'll miss her passionate assertions and I hope she's found some peace."

Jeremy Blake, Century 21, 2004

God Bless the both of you, your families, friends, and all you have inspired. God bless anyone who might have thought to or tried to harm you, even if it is you yourselves, most of all. If they exist, they need blessing all the more. You will be missed.

ADDENDUM (7/30): Their friend, Glenn O'Brien, has posted on Theresa's blog, The Wit of the Staircase today.

(* Her theories about the death of Jean Seberg, who she feels was pushed to suicide are interesting to note:

The declassified "Cointelpro" FBI document requesting permission to smear the actress and Black Panther activist Jean Seberg. J. Edgar Hoover sent letters to the Los Angeles press claiming that Seberg's pregnancy was the result of an affair with a Black Panther. Seberg, who was married to playwright Romain Gary, subsequently miscarried due to the stress of the scandal. She and Gary buried their child in a glass coffin to prove that the dead child was Gary's, and to show the public that they had been lied to. Seberg suffered mental health problems for years afterward, and eventually succeeded in commiting suicide after many attempts. Seberg was gorgeous, one of kind. She can be seen in "Breathless" "Bonjour Tristesse" and Otto Preminger's "Joan of Arc."



**he is most assuredly referring to her obsession with Kate Moss.)

103 comments:

Huckleberry said...

I vehemently disagreed with their theories and the way they chose to present them, but I am still saddened.
No one deserves that...

Citizen H said...

KF: This is long and rambling; I'm collecting my thoughts as I go, and new things present themselves as I type. Kick back and have a read.

I have always wondered what triggers someone to take the step into that abyss. Two of my classmates from Navigator training (and we were a small bunch) took their own lives, for reasons only speculated on. I knew they had problems, but nothing that could be dealt with.

At times I've felt incredibly despondent, but have steered away from thoughts of paddling off into the surf, never to see land again (more on this later*.)

Of all people I have known, only one had more cause than anyone else to commit suicide, but chose not to: my father. Given four months to live by his oncologist, he suffered six years of pain I can only imagine, wasting away bit by bit. Initially, he felt no changes except for a great deal of pain on a daily basis, and he carried on for a long time. As long as he could drive, do his yard work, think clearly, and get laid once in a while, it was great guns.

It wasn't until the last year of his life that his decline began and he never recovered. The losses were progressive. First went his energy. He had been extremely active and insistent on doing everything by himself, from keeping his house in order to things as simple as driving. As he wasted away and these became more difficult to do, he became more and more depressed.

He may have attempted suicide once! I came home on leave to discover a bullet hole in the dresser in his bedroom, explained as a misfire while he was cleaning the pistol he kept in his nightstand. I have handled firearms long enough to know that nobody with two brain cells to rub together tries to clean a loaded weapon.

I said nothing of it, but noticed that whatever had happened one lonely night in my absence, his optimism had increased, as with one who looks over a tall cliff only to be relieved by stepping back from the brink. He had weathered his personal storm and decided to fight with what he had left to him. Later on, he would see stories on the news of assisted suicide debates and one case where a band in Florida tried to generate press coverage by announcing that a terminally ill cancer patient would commit suicide live at their concert. His reaction would be a snort of contempt and a few words he learned from me: "Suck it up!"

That said, I saw what he faced and how he decided to keep going. I can't help but wonder what would push people not facing such dire prognoses over the edge. Theresa and Jeremy took their thoughts, their creativity, their wit that we were privileged to share, and where they have gone we cannot go.

*It's odd that you would mention death in the water. At times, I have wondered, when feeling like I'm up to my neck in everything, what it would be like to paddle away from shore as hard as I could and if I could somehow leave my troubles behind by the shoreline. It's eerie: I take more risks in my kayak when I feel the most stressed. I'll paddle out into the heaviest surf, into the worst weather imaginable. Returning, I feel that much more relieved, as though I've taken myself to the precipice and backed away.

Citizen H said...

Amend "Could be dealt with" in my second paragraph to "Couldn't be dealt with."

Sorry for being a boob,

RH

Steven Augustine said...

I am *horrendously* creeped out over this. The last comment I left on her last post was very long and just too ironic to bear, in light of what's happened.

Anonymous said...

This is very sad, but the thing that everyone (who actually knew them) seems to be glossing over, forgetting, etc is their behavior leading up to this. they were increasingly paranoid and lashing out at old friends - accusing people of being scientologists, etc. people who had been friends of theirs as they steadily alienated more and more friends. to call them darlings of the art world is somewhat outdated. they were fascinating, but they were also not well. anyone surprised by this should really take the time to find out what was going on in the last months of their lives. Theresa was a very charismatic, but very mentally ill person who dragged jeremy into her increasingly paranoid delusions. I don't think either of them was a bad person, but i think that because he was so accustomed and convinced by her, he never took a step back and realized that maybe she needed help, rather than more fuel for her rages. They hurt alot of people and i know those people now just feel very sad for them - wishing they'd known that this was borne of mental illness not just random visciousness. I know that writing this will make everyone who wants to romanticize them angry, but i think it's important to take it into account. and no, I'm not working for the government or the church of scientology. thanks.

kissyface said...

Huck - I hear you.

Citizen H - I have a longer response coming than I have time for at the moment. Thank you for your candor and feeling. It's lovely. You're no boob.

Steven Augustine - I have a great sense of dislocation over this. To say it's actual grief would be untrue, as I had no intimate knowledge of these people, beyond whatever can exist in public writings, but there was a fascination, curiosity and some manner attachment, certainly. And there was confusion, which leads me to...

Anonymous - of course, you don't indicate the what or how of your knowledge of them, but I presume there was reasonable proximity. I have no knowledge beyond her blog and whatever press I read. I have expressed my ambivalence over her "paranoid" assertions, remaining neutral, as I've know way of knowing what the "truth" was in this case. I did always feel a sense of dis-ease about her tone as a writer. Often, something rankled or un-nerved me. I'm not surprised to hear that she was aggressive; I felt that capacity, and it was evident in ne of her responses to another blogger here, in June. It's perhaps a cautionary tale of sorts: mental illness or no, rages are not healthful and suggest imbalance. That is partly what I reacted to aversely in her character. At the same time, I respect people who passionately take a stand. Sometimes, however, vehemence is a cover-up or over-compensation for uncertainty the ego can't abide, or other concealed parts of the psyche. That's my pov, anyway.

Thank you for your perspective, whoever you are.

There is one more thing to be said about madness, the old, you know, "sane response" phrase. Trite but often true. Even if Theresa Duncan really was ill, and I don't doubt the possibility of that, she was pushed partly by what is festering with the world. The trouble with over-identifying with the canker and the rot is that it tends to eat away at you, too.

Still, I'd hate for all her ideas to be dismissed for that reason. She was way too relevant for that.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

I want to let you know that your comment was a great comfort to someone who knew Theresa--and her problems--in the past and felt great sadness upon hearing of her death, and great confusion.

There is quite a bit of blog chatter right now about Theresa and Jeremy yet you are the only one who has stepped forward as someone who encountered this paranoia. A number of bloggers are suggesting conspiracy theories involving the CoS like Theresa herself did.

This is silliness and your characterization of what happened in recent months sounds reasonable.

Darryl Mason said...

It's a hell of a thing to post under 'Anonymous' and then claim to have known Theresa and write her off as mentally ill. That may well have been the case, but 'Anonymous' posted exactly the kind of smear that Theresa herself had claimed was being run against her.

Having read the Frank Morales interview from late May in full, Theresa sounds neither mentally ill or suicidal. She is alert, thoughtful, passionate, well-informed, displaying her knowledge of art history and philosophy and showing a deep sense of caring about what is now happening to the United States. She's hardly alone in believing that the United States under President Bush is becoming somewhat of a passive dictatorship. Even the Washington Post regularly writes on the executive orders that will allow him to seize control of the country and all its military and National Guard forces in the event of a major terrorist attack, or even a pandemic flu outbreak.

None of the stuff she discusses, with Frank and with Blake, is exactly a secret. It's everywhere in the media today.

If 'Anonymous' is unwilling to use his/her real name, then why should anyone believe those claims leveled against Theresa?

BTW, Blake's insights into the punk rock scene of New York City post 9/11 were very informed and interesting.

"dragged jeremy into her increasingly paranoid delusions."

Really? Where's the proof 'Anonymous'? He sounds sane and intelligent in the interview and was clearly thinking of new art projects that would, perhaps, of put his and Theresa's interests and knowledge into a controversial art form.

"There is quite a bit of blog chatter right now about Theresa and Jeremy yet you are the only one who has stepped forward as someone who encountered this paranoia."

The only one who has stepped forward? Why is that? And then to step forward anonymously? Please.

It's far too easy to smear the deceased with Anonymous comments. Unless the person is willing to use their name, such smears should be ignored as fictions. Close friends and family members may confirm these claims, but until they do, it would be best to write them off as the character smears that they are.

KissyFace - as Frank Morales points out in the interview, most of what he discusses has been declassified and is available online to peruse. You just need to use some critical Googling skills.

Anonymous said...

Saying that someone who appears to have committed suicide may have been mentally ill is not a character smear. It is an opinion about the person's possible mental state. Nor does someone being mentally ill mean that all of his or her thoughts and writings have to be wrong and skewed. Mental illness does not mean that the person's literary output has no worth.

I'm sure in the next few weeks people who knew them both personally will step forward and a clearer story will emerge. However, to dismiss Anonymous's essentially compassionate post as a "character smear" is to show a real and dangerous naivete about the symptoms and outcomes of mental illness.

A Different Anonymous

Anonymous said...

i didn't know theresa duncan or jeremy blake, and was saddened by the news of her death and his disappearance.
they also verbally harassed me, on and off, for over a year. They did this via phone, email, and once at a public event. i changed my phone number because of them, and saved their messages in case i should ever need legal help. i told almost no one about their attacks, hoping that they would eventually get bored with me and stop, which i think they, eventually, did.

but during that year i was truly afraid of them, and, not knowing them, had no context for what they were doing to me. it seems obvious now, after having read anonymous' post, that the things they accused me of, she, at least, probably really believed.

this had never occurred to me. but it makes sense when i remember what it felt like to listen to them accuse me of doing things in places i had never been, to people i don't know.

however scary this was for me, it is clearly minor in comparison to the pain they must have been in.

i'm posting this because i think it's an important part of who they were. it is obvious from the above posts that there were many inspiring things about them AND, ALSO, they sometimes scared and hurt people for reasons that were only clear to them.

Anonymous said...

Who knows if they had run-ins with COS, and if they did, it would not be surprising that COS would go after them and harrass them. That sounds like COS tactics. However, in addition to being very talented, creative and prolific, Teresa and Jeremy did suffer from some kind of (serious) mental illness. And like the other person said, this is not a smear. They accused innocent, long-term friends of very strange things, and scared them. People were truly concerned for them but did not know what to do to help them. They pushed people away in a very harsh manner that made it difficult to reach out again.

I hope their families are not troubled by all of this speculation and I hope they are coping. At some point if someone looks into this and interviews family and friends who really knew them (who wish to participate) some of the truth will emerge and it will be clear that mental health issues were a big part of this very tragic story.

Darryl Mason said...

Ron Rosenbaum checked with the New York Police Department and Medical Examiners Office and neither would confirm suicide or an overdose as the cause of Theresa's death. Likewise, Jeremy Blake is missing, presumed dead, but no body has been found.

Links and info up here :

www.yournewreality.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

What a sad story.

Regardless of whether the two suffered serious mental illness, two tragedies have evidently occurred.

Those who seem to believe that key information is "missing" or being left out of the mainstream stories, are you suggesting that you think that foul play was at issue?

It seems to be that a medical examiner will not, as a matter of course, conclude his or her full analysis -- and thus -- cause of death until all toxicology reports are in. To me, this does not make the matter suspicious.

From an outsider, it seems a bit counterproductive to place judgment on the "type" of people Theresa and Jeremy were, or whether they suffered from mental illness.

At any rate, it is a terrible tragedy that I am sure the media is having a field day with.

Steven Augustine said...

What I find interesting is the claim that Duncan and Blake actually *shared* a mental illness. The handful of people I've known who've been "mentally ill" enough to warrant the description were *manifestly* so, and couldn't get through a conversation without making an extremely bizarre remark (or gesture). How did TD manage to generate so much print (on a professional level, as well as blogging) without outing herself as the user of a tragically unwell mind?

I once had a screen name on the GU blogs call me a "sociopath" because I'd zinged him a bit too well...pseudo-clinical judgments of this nature have to be considered in the context in which they were invoked (laugh).

With Duncan and Blake both dead now, we're going to be hearing quite a lot from the "other" side of the story...it's troubling that so much of what we've read so far is posted anonymously and very thin in detail.

It's getting rather comical/weird when we have an anonymous poster addressing another anonymous poster as "Anonymous"...

Citizen H said...

Steven, here's another $.02 on the subject.

I take "anonymous" postings with a grain of salt, because they show a lack of intellectual honesty. At times, given the chance to make an anonymous statement, I've always put my name to it, especially when I have something unpleasant to say.

If you're going to speak ill of someone or what they do, be prepared to talk about it. Be prepared to defend what you've said with some sort of evidence. Anonymity is an enabler for the uninformed.

Vemrion said...

steve:
I agree, the Circle of Anon posters is creating an echo chamber of "mental illness! Mental illness!" which is, I suppose, the intent of the posts.

A Different Anonymous (... cute):
no, saying someone has a mental illness without proof is most definitely a character smear. The fact that you're doing it after they're dead and unable to defend themselves is downright slimy. If you're gonna accuse dead people of mental illness you damn well better have the courage to sign your name, chickenshit.

Anon 5:30:
you're full of accusations, but short on proof. How did you manage to get harassed by a couple that you didn't even know? Where are these phone messages? If your life was hell for a year, why didn't you call the cops? Will we be able to find a police report to back up your claims, or is this just more anonymous internet smearing? How convenient that your enemies ended up dead. Quit sucking Xenu's cock and get a real job.

Anonymous said...

I am the second anonymous whose original post was at 11:05 p.m.

I post anonymously because I have my reasons to do so, and because blogger allows me. I assume the blog owner could turn off anonymous posting.

Just because you're willing to sign your name doesn't make you bolder, or more accurate, or even more trustworthy.


Here's the deal: you're attacking people who are expressing compassion. We're not "leveling charges" of mental illness. There are people who knew Theresa personally--and cared about her--who have come to the conclusion that something was wrong. Not with the Bush administration, or the CoS, but with her.

And about the idea of a "smear": if you knew Theresa you would realize she wouldn't give a crap if you said she was mentally ill.

We're trying to show some balance. People have heard the details of what happened and if you just read her blog, you would think this doesn't make any sense. Theresa's tragic flaw may have been that she could write cogently, even brilliantly, and still be leading a very troubled life, one headed for disaster. She wouldn't be the first cultural critic or intellectual to have had this flaw.

I suspect there are more people out there who knew Theresa, loved her and then were driven away by her behavior. I thanked the first anonymous for the post because when I learned of her death I was sad and confused. I didn't have recent knowledge of her and didn't suspect that things had gotten worse. Now I'm just sad, and wish she had gotten help that would have allowed her to stick around and create more.

kissyface said...

THE BLOG MISTRESS SPEAKS AND CALLS "FOUL" -

People, I am all for debate, even a heated one, but I must insist that the name calling cease.

VEMRION - you are still welcome here, despite what I view as poor behavior (I do appreciate your passionate defense - did you know them or are you just an onlooker, like myself?), but I must ask that you refrain from puerile and unnecessary invective. Copacetic?

First of all, I don't see what's so wrong with cocksucking, and why it is usually men, the obvious beneficiaries of such sensuous activities, who use that term in such a denigrating fashion. I am sure the Late Great Theresa Duncan, sensualist that she was, would support me in my assertion that head is a fine, useful and natural pasttime, end of story. Would that we had more of that and less hostility to our bretheren (and sisters). As the saying goes, Women need to fuck the war out of men. Or something like that. (of course, I fully understand that y'all use it in a homophobic way, another 'ism' I really have little time for. The homos ain't goin' away, and you might as well leave peaceably amongst them. They are even viable and contributing members of this society. Why do you care so much where they stick it? My father would probably still be alive today if y'all weren't so vested in smearing the gays. So, thanks for that. GET OVER IT.)

As for the "chickenshit" (I won't try to defend poultry, there's no use. Just be glad you didn't say 'pussy,' for that I've a lengthy and chiding response.), accusations, while I do agree that sometimes The Craven Among Us cloak themselves to shirk responsibility for their poo-flinging, I almost posted how I feel about the anonymity surplus on this forum. It went something like this:

I understand the objections, but I do support the real need the close-ins (people with actual relation/intimacy with Theresa and Jeremy), might have to keep their identities a secret. Reasons might range from the emotional to the legal. And the difference between a screen moniker and "anonymous" is virtually NONE.

I am as concealed as the rest of them, as are many of the personalities here, and that is mostly the nature of the blogosphere. Some of you do put your full names on your sites, and that is your prerogative. I don't state my name because I have revealed far more about my self, family and life than is really prudent. I wouldn't really care if I didn't think there was the miniscule chance that it would get back to and hurt my mother (by the way, there is almost nothing on here she and I have not discussed, and plenty more that I have never uttered herein). Some might view this as cowardice on my part, and maybe it is. But I have my reasons, which I don't really have to justify to anyone but myself and my God. I have yet to see any of the assertions of mental illness made here are truly smear. I will re-read the content to decide if the tone seems truly derisive, but overall, my feeling is that it is not.

But I digress. If friends and family of the departed are posting here, I feel they have the right to conceal their identities for the sake of their privacy. They also need a place to defend their position. If they are misrepresenting the facts or engaging in some sort of retribution, shame on them, but they will have to contend with that eventually anyway. Furthermore, if they are intimate with the deceased they can deal with their grief the way they need. It's not our place to say how one best copes with processing all of it.

Is it impossible that someone who did not know TD and JB could not have incurred their wrath? I have seen her lash out right here, and someone I know who knew both of them socially and was in their home, states firmly that Ms Duncan was quite a harsh and aggressive personality, among other positive and complex traits. He actually called her a nam, but I won't repeat it. My own brief correspondence with here was nothing but positive, but people are multi-faceted, and I don't think that death suddenly relieves the deceased of any criticism. It's easy to glorify and gloss over the character and life of someone who is gone, but it isn't reality. Nor does it help the people who grieve. Nor is it love. We have to accept and even embrace all the shadowy aspects of the people we encounter, admire, love, or we are not living truthfully or lovingly. That is my perspective.

Let's also take a moment to look at the general fallacy that illness is something to be ashamed of. That's really part of the crux of the problem, isn't it? If it is truly pathology, it is not wholly different from a whopping influenza. I think there is an unconscious fear that mental aberrations are somehow incurable or even contagious, which is why our response is so often averse. So much about this area of dysfunction is grey - the brain. the heart, the psyche. It is the undiscovered country, and that is scary.

I have been open on this blog about my own history with depression, which is certainly a form of mental ilness, though I seriously doubt much of anyone would have given me as harsh a label as that. The "truth" is that most people I know have gone round the round with that one, most of them masking it with alcohol and drug abuse, a behavior often termed "self-medicating."

Clearly, Madame Wit was hitting the bottle a bit hard, she alluded to it often and her physiognomy, visible in photos, suggests it. Today's LA Times article suggests Jeremy was drinking a bit himself. It is very easy to define and dismiss people as crazy, without taking serious stock of our own vulnerabilities and crutches. Addiction seems pretty much to always be symptomatic of another physiological/psychic disturbance. Also, if Theresa was progressed in that behavior, some of the "crazy" is easily explained by the long-term effects of the booze. I know, I watched my father "progress" through that disease for twelve years, grow nuttier and nuttier, until his liver and kidneys finally gave out. He did odd things. He was sometimes paranoid.

By the way, I am not really diagnosing Theresa here, just suggesting it as another possibility. I'm also not totally convinced she had no external impetus for her "paranoia." And, both could be true. Perhaps there was some harassment or traumatic event which spun her out. Or maybe there was nothing.

I don't think we'll ever really know for sure.

So please, continue the debate, fervently if you desire. Just try to be respectful.

Steven Augustine said...

It just strikes me that the term "mental illness" is too vague, powerful and (realistically speaking) denigrating a thing to be used by people who genuinely mean well. Sorry if it comes off to me a little like score-settling...or damage control. At best it's a peculiar choice of words.

If by "mental illness" you mean "clinical depression", we won't assume therefore that Duncan's writings are now to be discounted; if, however, the shading of the term touches on ground covering "paranoid schizophrenia", any theory or opinion Duncan wrote or otherwise expressed can reasonably be ignored now, yes?

So, it's a big difference and I continue to find it curious that "friends" of the deceased posting here should continually refer to both Duncan and Blake as "mentally ill".

Re: "There are people who knew Theresa personally--and cared about her--who have come to the conclusion that something was wrong. Not with the Bush administration, or the CoS, but with her."

Leaving aside the amazing red flag of the last sentence, this sounds a lot more mysterious (and vague) than saying that Duncan had a drinking problem. I'd appreciate it if one of the insiders commenting here could get specific and paint a nuanced enough picture of Duncan's battles to restore a little dignity to the impression that's being insinuated.

"Mental illness" is a very broad term more anecdotal than clinical in common usage and any commenter who actually knew Duncan and Blake should be careful how they characterize friends (artists whose stock will rise or fall in the afterlife according to public perception) who aren't here to defend themselves.

Duncan obviously put quite a lot into "The Wit of the Staircase" and doesn't it do her ghost a bit of a disservice to imply that the thing was the work of a lunatic?

kissyface said...

Steven Augustine -

Don't know if you are addressing everyone here, or me particularly. I think to call her a lunatic would be a disservice. I think I've expressed that already. I also would reiterate that lunatics are often lucid.

I understand completely your sensitivity to the term mental illness. It is used to discredit quite often. My suggestion of alcoholism could be taken similarly. Neither are my intention, nor am I pretending to "know" what the hell went wrong. I just don't see that all the anonymous players here are necessarly trying to harm her more than she's been. And I don't like the implications here or elsewhere on the web that people who think that's the case are automatically CoS or simple detractors.

Furthermore, as much as I have issues with Scientology, I shouldn't like a wholesale denouncement of them, even if they make me uneasy, I don't really know that they are this vile and insidious org., though they certainly could be. And yes, I've looked at the websites...

Finally, I don't know which I hope was true. It's a lesser of evils conundrum. I don't want to think Theresa Duncan was struggling with such a formidable innerdemon, but on the other hand, to think that she was done wrong on such a scale is quite a worse situation, no?

Perhaps some energy should be spent looking at who it is we really think benefits from her (their) demise. Were they really such a grave threat? Perhaps. But I can also see why it seems far-fetched or even out of the question to many.

Did she really have that much power? The google searches I did on her in the last few months led to really very little.

Still, I can't reconcile what I know about the two of them with the suicide.

Steven Augustine said...

Re: Who I was addressing: not you, certainly.

TOJOBO said...

From Kissyface:
"Did she really have that much power? The google searches I did on her in the last few months led to really very little."

It seems, from her blog, that it was more a matter of running fowl of the wrong individual as opposed to falling victim to a massive "THEM" conspiracy. If Anna Gaskell's step-father is as Blake and Duncan described him to be, we should probably take a closer look. And if folks have a knowledge of the practices and techniques used in substantiated accounts of Cold War experiments (MKULTRA/MONARCH), in the past, one might find Gaskell's artwork particularly disturbing. Circumstantial but very very creepy. I'm staying neutral on this one but this does merit attention. In this country, it's no secret that powerful individuals are afforded more entitlement with much less accountability. And no, I don't live in my Mom's basement with a tinfoil hat, lol. I just spent two years researching the history of mind control (mostly mishaps) for a screenplay. There were a lot of folks involved in these programs before they were shut down. And no one served jail time. To think they didn't take their skills elsewhere, for personal profit, would be a foolish assumption. Sorry this is a long post, but I'm just happy to find a reasonable discussion about this within the blogOsphere. If anyone is interested in learning about the history of mind-control (really mind scrambling) and avoid the crackpots and snake-oil salesmen, I'd be more than happy to provide some links to government docs and serious researchers. I think Theresa deserves a fair hearing. She was a damn talented woman.

Anonymous said...

I suspect that others, like myself, feel compelled to offer commentary anonymously due to the (possibly surprising) smallness of the artistic community. Upon reading the seizure as actual fact, as opposed to theory, of Theresa's paranoia by fellow internet conspiracy theorists (rather than appreciating as an example of her own idiosyncratic emotional response) some of us are less than eager to attribute our experiences with her to our own identities. Why? Becuase our interactions with her specific paranoid and narcissistic personality has soured us on giving names where others who didn't happen to personally experience her self-aggrandizing tantrums may be eager to follow. Those experiences have caused some of us to become less than eager to encourage more of the same scattered attacks directed at us personally. For good or for bad, the social circles that she traveled in take a certain acceptance of mental instability as a sign of an artistic personality, rather than as an example of psychological unwellness.I have witnessed her pathological inability to deal even so much as what others might perceive as, at worst, mild criticism by her paranoid behavior. And serious critcism brought on a whole other aspect to her personality that was much more agoraphobic and viscious. She behaved in a way that exhibited itself as if fueled by a narcissitc persecution complex rather than demonstrating a rational healthy response that others may disagree violently without losing one's own face... she recoiled as if others' opinions occurred as if at the expense of loss of her self rather than as a sincere but individual disagreement. We are not trying to speak ill of the dead, rather we are speaking out because this is her trait that demontrates with the most poignantly clear view as to just how sad her situation had become before suicide occured... Mostly, it sticks in the throat that those of us who could most pointedly see how poorly she was doing as human being ended up being the least able to offer up any help to her. This was not some sudden occurance - this was a building situation over the years. She was never particularly approachable. She could not hear any of us who recognized her brilliance while recognizing her neurotic impulses or shortcomings; Our expressed concerns only fueled some unimaginably fearful void inside her. When we express our sorrow anonymously, it is because the sorrow is made all the more deeper by our acknowledgement that she was more than just some pretty scenester's face. Despite her self-created impression that she was intensely independent and more than a scenester, she was, in fact, a provocateur for the sake of being perceived as edgy and well-regarded beyond the tighter social circle she chose to participate in. She was a name-dropper, with all that that implies. But. And but...she was arrogant, pretty, and smart. Yet her own fear made her view situations where implicitations of negativity were something that weakened her self-mythological story of her self. She was not prone to that flavor of self-introspection that causes most of us to be empathetical - she was inclined to view life as yet another chaper in the story of Theresa. The only relief, while causing an utterly confounding feeling, in what has happened is that Theresa herself would be utterly turned on by the sheer insanity and reaction to her death. She would get off on the diverse reactions. And she would enjoy the breadth of both the unblinkingly glamorized and unblinkingly conspiratorial reactions to her and Jeremy's (probable) death.

Anonymous said...

(I'm the same last anonymous commenter) PS. Sorry to bleed yet more emotional opinion onto your blog, but yours seems to be one willing to accept a diversity of reaction that others do not demonstrate, which is a testament to your ability to understand there can be an overlap in experience, and that the sorrow over Theresa's death may well be colored by less-than-cheery experiences.

Anonymous said...

It's me, 11:05. So I'm not anonymous anymore, I'm 11:05.

Fellow anon, your assessment, to the best of my personal knowledge, is accurate.

Some will think you're speaking ill of the dead. But the previous commentator essentially asked the anons to put up or shut up.

The reason I and maybe others have said "mental illness" is not to discount anything Theresa wrote, it's because her personality and her behavior undermined her own cause. She drove people away, broke off from people who might have tried to help her.

If you were one of those who was at the wrong end of one of her tantrums, you could only have one conclusion--this is a horrible, nasty, egotistical person.

And if you were lucky enough to have avoided those attacks, you might think she was a brilliant, beautiful wit.

She was both, I guess, but if she had been able to deal with the demon that caused the former, she could have done a lot more. And I wouldn't be writing this today.

Sadly, anonymous, you're right about the delight she would would have taken in this interest and speculation. What's horrible is that Jeremy is gone, too.

Kissyface, thanks for giving us space to work this out. We appreciate it.

Steven, I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about when you say "Leaving aside the amazing red flag of the last sentence..." My point in that last sentence is that the truth in what happened to T and J does not have to do with shadowy conspiratorial figures, but with themselves. I was reacting in part to silliness on other blogs where it has been suggested that foul play was involved.

Anonymous said...

I think this is the last post I'll leave here on this subject. (I'm the poster accused of being "chickenshit.")

What the last poster said is true. If there is one lesson learned from dealing with Theresa it's that if someone exhibits paranoid behavior then stay the fuck away. At some point in the relationship, you will become part of the enemy and grief will be thrown your way.

Some have questioned the use of the term "mental illness" and whether its empathetic or pejorative when discussing Theresa and Jeremy. And, you're right. I'm not a doctor or therapist and I have no medical basis for qualifying this term in a meaningful way. Was she depressed? Probably. A paranoid schizophrenic? That would be closer to my own personal interpretation but, again, I am not trained in these matters.

I do know that I witnessed much behavior that simply seemed to me to be crazy from Theresa. She would attack people and accuse them of things that were demonstrably not true. Things that could objectively be proved false and yet she wouldn't change her views. I'm not talking about MKUltra stuff -- I'm talking about everyday people she'd imagine had done things to her and Jeremy. People who could prove that they didn't do these things and who tried to do so to her but she wouldn't listen.

When I first met her I thought that half the time she was being colorful and ironic with her stories about the Scientologists out to get her or the academic cabal of incestuous professors who were somehow maligning her. Now I understand that she may have believed these things. Part of the reason I couldn't really believe her at the time is because I couldn't understand the logic of her stories and why certain people would want to expend the huge amount of energy required to target her. Ask all of yourselves: can any of you really figure out the chain of logic in the Anna Gaskell story? Specifically, why Theresa herself would become such a dangerouus target?

Or, to use another example -- I'm sure some of you read the May 10th posting about Francis Ford Coppola and his vendetta against her after she wrote a mixed review of "Lost in Translation." You can read it ironically and thing she's having some fun... but I think she meant it seriously. Does anyone think that Francis Ford Coppola would really send Italian goons to hunt down Theresa for a years old bad review? And this example is one among many I could cite.

The biggest irony about Theresa is that she herself did the things she claimed were being done to her. She harassed and threatened people and spread malicious gossip about them all the while claiming herself as the "victim."

But, back to the use of the term "mental illness." I think both sides are right here in a way. Those of us who are saying that Theresa was mentally ill are looking back at a crazy situation and trying to explain it in as rational away possible. I think we're also offended that mental health is not seen as a real problem in the world that should be treated -- some of you are viewing it as an insult which it is not.

But some of you are right in that there is something almost too easy about the term. By allowing us to view her through that prism we are sweeping under the carpet our own reactions to her behavior. So, to be honest and up front -- yes, I believe she was mentally ill in some way and no, I was not her friend. There was no way I could have been after I experienced from her the behavior that I did. Another poster used the term "random viciousness" to describe her pattern of behavior, and I side with that. I wish I had never met her. Her behavior caused a lot of stress and anxiety in my life and, at the time, I simply could not understand what was motivating her. Now, I'm sad for her and the pain she was living through and am somewhat consoled to know that her behavior had a real cause. But I still wish I had never come in contact with her.

Someone posted about Jeremy and how could two people experience the same mental illness. I don't know. I didn't know Jeremy as well as Theresa, and I always found his role in her craziness to be a mystery. I suspected he didn't necessarily share her views as much as simply be in love with her and to be feeding off her energy. If more info comes out about this story, I will be curious what it will say about his half of their relationship.

Someone else asked why no one has talked about their work. Okay -- Theresa's video games are brilliant and wonderful. I don't know why she didn't keep working in this field because she was an innovator. I don't know her film work as well so I can't comment on it. Her blog was great -- perceptive, smart, witty and all that. She was a great writer. But in terms of her being prolific... She made the video games in her late 20s. After that she made a short film or two. I think she wrote a film script and she did the blog and a small number of essays and magazine articles. That is not much for ten-plus years of her life. Why she tried to go into film I don't understand except that it was viewed as cool and successful by mainstream culture to be a film director. The politics and interpersonal skills to deal with the large number of people involved in the filmmaking process I don't think suited her.

Jeremy was a very good artist.

Finally, I'm not opposed to Theresa's politics and have always been interested in conspiracy theory. Nothing I've posted here should be construed as to mean that I dismiss anything specifically that Theresa wrote about. You can be right and mentally ill (or randomly vicious) at the same time.

As for the whole "anonymous or not" controversy, like I wrote on another blog (the "Your Reality" blog), I was approached by one reporter doing a story on Theresa and Jeremy and declined to be interviewed. I have no interest in being part of "her story" for personal reasons and for the reaons the other anonymous poster wrote about. The irony is that in a tiny sliver of Theresa's world, there are people who know I know Theresa and know my opinion of her, so I'm really not anonymous when it comes to her. But within the broader internet world, I'd rather not open myself up to both the conspiracy hounds and the reporters who I'm sure are already at work on the Vanity Fair piece.

These blog postings have helped me figure out the story with Theresa for myself, and that's something I guess I needed to do. Thanks for helping me do that, and I guess I don't need any more than that.

kissyface said...

Anonymous 454/513 and Anonymous 544 (this smacks of dystopic literature, or a Kubrick film, which is practically the same thing) -

Thank you and you are most welcome. My own narcissistic traits were delighted by your gratitude for a safe venue to hash this out. Please, no apologies for emotional bleed or spill or whatever - I am nothing if not able to handle that. I really appreciate the obvious care and circumspect introspection (my word choice borders on oxymoronics, and absurd assonance, sorry) you show. I'm sure it's all very small consolation. No decent person really wants to speak ill of another, to tear them down, especially after they go so traumatically.

Sometimes, even the well-meaning 'deconstruction' or armchair psychoanalysis we do on other human beings seems petty and violating. Theresa certainly engaged in this over and over again with those of whom she disapproved, and not softly, I might add. That is no justification for anyone else's meanness, but I do think it's of great importance to try and understand another person on this level. It is a way to understand ourselves, as well as what they mean or meant to us.

I hear your loss quite clearly.

I am particularly struck by how much your descriptions echo memories I have about another prominent female figure in my life. If Theresa had such a personality disorder(s) as you suggest, the paranoiac and narcissistic, then she would have been very difficult to help, at least for the latter ailment. That is my own understandin, and from 'professionals,' though I should only like to give them a certain level of credit. If you have any guilt over that, that you could have done more, maybe some will be relieved. Though she was a deep thinker and probably even 'feeler,' it was easy to see the traces of grandiosity, judgement against others and lack of self-criticism. Even something as simple as, "I know this might sound crazy..." would have indicated greater health. The constant focus on Kate Moss always struck me as some sort of wishful identification - love of the bad girl, the hypersexualization, the remoteness/inscrutable glamour. Always the expression is the same - haughty, indolent, beautiful, feminine.

But she fascinated. And she was not without a love of a more vulnerable and open manner. Her palpable love and passion for Jeremy was charming. Her bulldog dedication to her personal truth, to philosophy, to art, to poetry, to anti-establishment (which was funny, given her uber-bourgeois obsession with fashion and glamour. Still, I am comfortable with paradoxes in people - we are never one thing.), to The Truth, to righting wrongs, to empowering women, to unapologetically being herself - all these things (at least as I perceived them), kept me coming back into her world for more.

Some people choose to live their lives as close to the limelight as they can get. They truly do a service to the rest of us, by living out archetypes that inform our own lives, either by inspiration or cautionary tale. I think Theresa Duncan wanted that, for whatever reason, and I think she would be spiritually ok with the way this is playing out. If she is not, she has my sincerest apologies for my participation in it.

And she still has my open mind if something else went awry, TOJOBO and others.

Part of what is galling about alleged conspiracy theories is that they remove the control of our lives from our own hands, heads, hearts. The discomfort of that dynamic (the tension, the anxiety) makes them neither true nor untrue. But what is true is that in any given situation we have control over our lives, maybe not the total outcome or material circumstance, but we can choose to stay in the moment and as close to the truth as possible. We can also dream better dreams and act accordingly, to change what exists 'out there.' We can choose sobriety, honesty, goodness, health, art, charity, love. To me that is sanity. I think The Wit might even agree.

Thank you all, this has been very interesting.

Huckleberry said...

I don't wanna say it.
I really, really, really don't.
But I cannot resist.

Y'all are beating a dead horse(s)...

Huckleberry, OUT.

kissyface said...

Huck - But you did so you must have. And you keep reading. Now I feel like I'm being you. Funny that.

Anonymous said...

i'm the person who posted at 5:30. the person who didn't know TD or JB and yet was verbally attacked by them for a year. (this should not be so hard to understand. they attacked all kinds of people who they didn't know personally.) in any case, i'm just writing to thank the person who wrote this:


"The biggest irony about Theresa is that she herself did the things she claimed were being done to her. She harassed and threatened people and spread malicious gossip about them all the while claiming herself as the "victim.""

yes, yes, yes, yes. it is deeply satisfying to see this in print. i can now stop searching the internet for evidence of the version of them i experienced. this was it exactly.

Steven Augustine said...

"Steven, I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about when you say 'Leaving aside the amazing red flag of the last sentence...'"

Anonymous, what I meant by that was that there's a possible clash of worldviews evident between your writing "...something was wrong. Not with the Bush administration, or the CoS, but with her," and Duncan's opinions as presented on her site.

I'm saying that your honest, heartfelt writing on the matter is important to anyone who wants to come a little closer to understanding some of what happened in this terrible case, but that we should also bear in mind that we're only hearing one side of the argument now.

Heaven forbid I should disappear from the earth tomorrow, but if it happened, I'd hate for the people I had problems with to be the ones writing my epitaph. On many of the passionately divisive issues that Duncan had very strong opinions about, positions like hers can be isolating.

And, still, minus the analysis of an objective mental health professional or two, we shouldn't take it for granted that the "mental illness" tag is a clinical finding.

I'm just holding out for a bit more info (I think Kate Coe, a friend of Duncan's, is working on an article, for example)until I can put this story to rest in my own mind, but your contribution most definitely helps.

(And if the timestamp on this indicates that I'm commenting obsessively in the dead of night; no, I'm writing from another country)

old friend said...

guys, you need to take a look at the gaskell thing and move on. jeremy went out with her in college. she broke up with him. it broke his heart. theresa was notoriously jealous of any previous girlfriends. theresa and jeremy were both obsessed with her. they were also both obsessed with anyone in those days who was doing well out of art school. they never stopped obsessing about anna, and many of us just tuned it out, thinking that it would eventually pass. then they got obsessed with CoS and govt conspiracies. then they blended that obsession with the obsession with anna. I've learned alot over the past few days about how people just living their lives, going about their business can get dragged into something. I don't know anna very well anymore, but I sure do feel for her. she has nothing to do with any of this and it is just wrong that a bunch of people/bloggers who knew niether T and J nor Anna to be hinting at some connection. just stop it. you have reduced yourselves to the level of people in tin foil hats in their parent's basements.

Steven Augustine said...

"Old Friend"...


The topic of discussion wasn't/isn't Anna Gaskell. Quite a few of us are concerned that immediately after the news of Duncan's death, "old friends" are all over the internet claiming that both Duncan and Blake were "mentally ill". This is a strange response from "friends" of Duncan's to the tragedy.

Any actual "friend" would perhaps have a tiny fragment of something positive to say, but it's not a preposterous assumption that close family and friends of Duncan's and Blake's are too devastated by the news as yet to comment. One assumes that *these* will be the people who don't comment anonymously, eh?

Precisely because we *aren't* tinfoil-hat-wearing cellar-dwellers, the rest of us will wait for a more balanced presentation of whatever facts are available before we draw any conclusions, despite the Anonymous Club's unimpeachable credentials in truth-telling.

Meanwhile, it's a fascinating study in human nature to track all of these overlapping and/or conflictingly (unreliable?) narratives...

steve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
steve said...

"In the long run....
We'll all be dead"

Anonymous said...

I only met Theresa in LA once, but I loved her blog.

I really appreciate this discussion and the blog owner's sensitive moderation of this discussion. I also appreciate the effort folks are making to provide a sort of balance, multi dimensional view of this terrible situation.

For me, Theresa's glamour continues beyond the grave; I mean glamour in the old, magical sense of the word as an act of casting a spell over someone, particularly to change how things appeared to them.

I know she subscribed to this view of glamor and helps to explain her duality as an anti-authoritarian truth seeker and lover of high fashion and image making.

I, too, hope that a talented writer will make an effort to investigate and write an article that provides a larger perspective. I don't feel bad about wanting to read it because I believe that Theresa's spirit wouldn't mind. When I read her blog I thought I was reading something by a woman who wanted her life to be a work of art. Perhaps that's why she created her own final chapter...

I also want to know about the status of the Weetzie Bat project she signed onto last spring. I thought she was an inspired choice to bring Francesca Lia Block's world to life as Theresa had the same few voice and truly appreciated the Southern California's magic. What happened?

I agree with Anonymous (6:30) that filmmaking probably wasn't the right medium for T's temperament. I have no idea what setbacks she faced in early July but I'm sure it was hard. Making a movie just breaks you down.

I experienced her sharp side and her brilliant side. I accepted both as part of the complex, flawed, and brilliant gem that I perceived her to be. I am truly sorry that others were hurt by her actions and consider myself lucky to have only received a scathing email from her.

I am truly sorry that J may have also taken his life. It sounds like he had so much more to do on his journey but I have to respect that was his choice.

I'm just really sad for both their families and friends.

Thanks again, Charm School, for providing a place to share all types of perspectives on this situation.

a Crone in LA

Doug Adams said...

Mr. and Mrs. Wit were not crazy. In fact they were pretty damn smart. A little too smart.

Just a bit of “Des Moines” digging in documents unavailable over the internet will show you that “The Trouble with Anna Gaskell” is that her legal guardian, Jim Cownie, was eyeballed by the Senate committee overseeing the investigation into the Franklin Cover up.

And Mrs. Wit made the connection.

It would appear that Anna Gaskell is a butterfly bought and sold.

kissyface said...

Things just keep getting weirder:

DOUG ADAMS - who are you? I have hit the link via your screen name and find a blurb that tells me you died two days ago...

http://www.psr.edu/
http://www.psr.edu/page.cfm?t=17&id=3246

Anonymous said...

Doug...how, when, why was he eyeballed? Please elaborate or it still just sounds like conspiracy theory.

Anonymous said...

"I also want to know about the status of the Weetzie Bat project she signed onto last spring."

Well, the rumor now is that she didn't sign onto the Weetzie Bat project, that she was not actively attached to any film projects.

Raul said...

From rigint.blogspot.com (a blog Theresa read--and ended up becoming a subject of) and professorhex.blogspot.com (another reader of Rigorous Intuition).

Remember the Johnny Gosch story by Des Moines journalist Tim Schmitt published in the alternative weekly Pointblank, and how Pointblank went out of business the same day? Pointblank's founder and editor was Jon Gaskell, Anna's younger brother, who was immediately handed the job of editing its replacement, Cityview, while Schmitt, who had been Pointblank's managing editor, was fired. Gaskell has apparently since claimed that the Gosch story was an "April Fool's joke," allegedly intended to whip "conspiracy theorists into a lathered frenzy." (From a Gaskell email: "It was an April Fool's prank. Those are some pretty strange people.")

Because Theresa read and recommended this blog I feel a particular burden to do right by her memory, so I want to proceed with caution and decency in all of this. There is contradictory information out there. I heard yesterday that the suicide note had been handwritten. So it's important for me to reaffirm my ignorance here: I don't know what happened. And Theresa's life may contain more abiding mysteries than the end of it.

http://rigint.blogspot.com/2007/07/thursday-july-26.html

1). Jeremy Blake's Wikipedia page was recently edited (from a New York IP address) to include the information that "Blake's badly decomposed remains were subsequently found by a fisherman about 30 miles to the south of Rockaway Beach off the New Jersey shore." This statement is footnoted to an article that includes no such information and as of this writing there has been no confirmation that the body pulled Sunday from the ocean off New Jersey is Jeremy.

Also in the Wiki entry is this statement: Blake was the romantic partner of aspiring cultural critic and pioneering video game artist Theresa Duncan who, having fallen on hard times, killed herself the week before Blake took his own life. (Emphasis mine)

I'm unaware of any information that Theresa had fallen on hard times. For most people, a loving relationship, the respect of your peers, and a desirable New York City address do not constitute hard times. If so, please, send some hard times my way. Is this inside information or someone trying to shape the narrative?

http://professorhex.blogspot.com/2007/07/gathering-my-wits-about-me.html

And, I second kissyface's question; re: doug adams.

kissyface said...

the wikipedia page for JB no longer says anything about decompsed remains. I did read to day that someone had been found on the Jersey Shore, however.

Tony B. said...

Just so there is no confusion, none of the following is directed @ the site host.

From ANON 4:23 PM:
"Well, the rumor now is that she didn't sign onto the Weetzie Bat project, that she was not actively attached to any film projects."

This is incorrect. Theresa and Jeremy were in the process of developing a privately financed, web-based feature length film with shoot dates in the Fall of this year. I know this because I signed on as the director of photography and my wife would contribute to the design.

In the brief time that I knew Jeremy and Theresa I found them to be two of the most compassionate, generous and dedicated artists a person could ever hope to work with. And I could easily say that Theresa was the smartest girl in the room. I have the utmost respect for those willing to tread unproven ground creatively, professionally or otherwise. At the end of the day, I suspect most would fail this gut-check. I will miss them.

As for the "anonymous" folks that seem to hold some (I'm most certain) petty grudge against the dead...? I say this: Those looking for a fight have already lost the one that matters.

That's all I really have to say about the matter. Unlike most, I'm not in the rumor business. I work for a living.

Pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Tony B.:

I stand corrected but I wasn't taking into account privately financed, web-based films. The question was about a studio film and that's what I was addressing--whether, at the time of her death, Theresa was attached to any publicly publicized studio projects.

Your film may have turned out to be a wonderful work, but I think you can agree that there is still a big difference in scale between being signed by a studio to make a picture and producing a web-based film.

tony b.. said...

"Your film may have turned out to be a wonderful work, but I think you can agree that there is still a big difference in scale between being signed by a studio to make a picture and producing a web-based film."

So true! It's much better. Yes, when you control the financing, as we would, it would have given us a greater amount of creative control. And honestly, in Hollywood, the status thing really wears off for most folks rather quickly, that is, unless your a recovering-nerd in development or a limp-dick 2nd AD. Me? I have a full head of hair and am perfectly satisfied with my endowment. You should see. My car is TINY. Besides, if money is an issue I would suggest going into medicine.

I'm starting to understand the animosity, anony-mouses. People are usually threatened by someone or something they don't understand. But fear not. You will soon be replaced by computers.

And seriously, why the anon., anon.?
You could very easily use the "other" category. Might I suggest "Xenu"? Or "oT-dawg"? "breadhead"? "tOmISmyCOpilot"?

This is fun. I really miss them.

So sorry, kissyface. I couldn't resist.

"Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand."
--Kurt Vonnegut

kissyface said...

tony b -

what quarrel do you imagine i might have with humor, so long as it isn't cruel?

i just made up and used the term anony-mouses to a fellow blogger this self-same afternoon. never saw it before, but mostly am surprised not to have thought of it before today. and here you are with it. odd.

finally, the explanations for such cloaked status have already been reviled, explained, defended herein, tony b. you must not have read the entire commentary, though i confess it's a fair bit to digest.

your added info helps explain theresa's absence on imdb, thanks.

tony b. said...

kissyface:
"...finally, the explanations for such cloaked status have already been reviled, explained, defended herein, tony b. you must not have read the entire commentary, though i confess it's a fair bit to digest."

I know. Cheap shot. Say no more. Honestly, I saw those comments and thought, God, what if one of her loved ones had come across the jibes in this discussion. I mean, her body isn't even in the ground yet. Rather despicable, no?

Anyway, much love. Now if you'll excuse me. I going to go lay down with my wife and tell her how much I love her.

-out

tony b. said...

Almost forgot:
RE: anony-mouse.

I love when that happens.
Now I sleep.

Steven Augustine said...

Tony B (and whoever other non-creepy commenters):


Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Tony B:

I think if you look at my posts at 4:23 and 8:44 and then compare your responses, you'll see that you're replying with anger and completely out of proportion to my own tone.

In my 4:23 post I answered someone's question about a Francesca Lia Block project. I used the word "rumor" because I've heard from good sources that Theresa was not working on such a project, that she had met with Block in the past but was not hired.

And in my next sentence I used the word "attached" to mean that she had been hired to work on another project. If someone has pursued private financing to work on their own project, I don't consider that being attached to a studio film. Note that I didn't say she wasn't working on any films.

I didn't draw any conclusions or make any judgements.

In my response to you I didn't slight an independent, web-based film project; I didn't suggest that studio films are better, or more legitimate, or more impressive.

What I said was that there is a difference in scale.

Your reaction was totally overblown and clearly you're responding to something other than what I said.

Finally, with regard to "Might I suggest "Xenu"? Or "oT-dawg"? "breadhead"? "tOmISmyCOpilot"?":

I had to look up Xenu on wikipedia when it first appeared in these comments the other day. I think Scientology is the silliest thing on the planet and have had annoying/disturbing personal encounters with budding Scientologists in my own life. Hubbard was a hack writer and nothing more.

If you had simply pointed out that Theresa was going to be working on an independent web film this fall, you would have made your point.

As for Theresa's loved ones and their reactions to what has been written here:

You'll note that the first anon--not I--said that "they hurt a lot of people and I know now those people just feel sad for them.

What's implicit here is that _even_ people who experienced Theresa's rage loved her and could not forget about her, and now grieve mightily for her and for Jeremy's fate. I know this for a fact, and would hope their loved ones would grasp this.

But some of us are trying to make sense of what happened without resorting to blaming a conspiracy, to explain that which doesn't seem to make sense. And that's why some of us have chosen to speak about what we think led up to this sad end.

tony b. said...

anon. 11:41:

Please walk away and let the woman rest in peace. Respect her family and move on.

LOOK:"they hurt a lot of people and I know now those people just feel sad for them." is an unsubstantiated comment from an anonymous contributor. If you choose to live your life by means of cognitive stenography, that's your business. But please, stop trying to attach your sense of self worth to someone you obviously didn't know. That is mental illness. Seriously.

Love your blog kissyface. See you on another thread.

kissyface said...

Oh Tony B. -

Now see here, I really like that you like my blog and like my way and all that stuff, because I'm weak-minded and like to be liked and all that goody-goody stuff. And I particularly am warmed by your declaration that you would go to bed and love your wife. Because that is as it should be, and far too many don't or won't.

And thank you for your self-censure. But I think after reading all this, you know quite clearly that I do also support the anony-mouses and even what you consider to be their sniping. I have, myself, written some things here about Theresa that are pure speculation, that come from what you might call my instincts about her, that clearly could be taken as ill-mannered criticism. Also clear is that I have substantial reverence for her.

No person is one thing. I reiterate (beat a dead horse, Huck?) that the dead are not, in my view, untouchable, though we should give due respect and wish them well, as maybe that assists in safe passage, if such conduits to who knows what and where exist.

Grief, I believe, is primarily for those left behind. But perhaps it does affect those moving on. Who can say?

I really am not chiding you, just asking you to have some understanding for the others here, as you do for the lost couple.

I'm going to put a link here to an older post I put up. Maybe it's useful, maybe not.

First, here's a long-ish excerpt:

Pema Chodron: The bodhisattva vow has something to do with going cold turkey, naked, without any clothes on into whatever situation presents itself to you, and seeing how you hate certain people, how people trigger you in every single way, how you want to hold on, how you want to get in bed and put the covers over your head. Seeing all of that just increases your compassion for the human situation. We're all up against not finding ourselves perfect, and still wanting to be open and be there for others. My sense of what it means to be a bodhisattva on the path, a student-warrior-bodhisattva, is that you are constantly caught with "don't know." Can't say yes, can't say no. Can't say right, can't say wrong.

...Trungpa Rinpoche used to say that the first step in the training of the warrior, which is to say, one who is cultivating their courage, is to place them in a cradle of loving-kindness. And this is really true. In the Buddhist teachings we talk about cultivation of maitri or loving-kindness toward oneself. This does seem necessary in order to have the willingness to work with all the messy and delightful parts of yourself. Real safety is your willingness to not run away from yourself. In terms of creating a safe environment, you want to create a space in which people can look at themselves and where that's going to meet with approval and it's going to be safe to do that.

http://beautifulcandy.blogspot.com/2007/06/teachers.html#comments

Thanks for being here, Tony B. And all the rest of you, too.

kissyface said...

One more thing, Tony, and I hate to cap this negatively, but you don't really think the anons are Scientologists, do you? C'mon, Mate.

Seriously, I can't believe I glazed over at this point, so I apologize for that. It's really easy to be dismissive of other points of view by easy name-calling. It's called an Association Fallacy, an "inductive formal fallacy of the type hasty generalization or red herring which asserts that qualities of one thing are inherently qualities of another, merely by an irrelevant association. The two types are sometimes referred to as guilt by association and honor by association. Association fallacies are a special case of red herring, and can be based on an appeal to emotion."

This is an illogical rhetorical device that pretends to be logical, often used by members of the current political scene. We can do better, here.

Furthermore, not comfortable with Scientologists, the rumors discomfit me a fair bit (and some of that feeling is from personal experience), but I am far more dismayed by bigotry. It's really easy to target the CoS, and there may actually be good reason to do so, but again, it's a guilt by association.

I'd stake money the "anons" have no connection there whatever. And even if they have, plenty of "members" get benefits from that religion without any involvement in the alleged wrong-doings. I had a chiropractor who belonged to CoS and she was amazing at what she did. I rue the day she moved from LA. I also managed to stick my foot in my mouth with her about the Church, apologized, explained my position - she never seemed to hold it against me, and continued to give me great care at a reduced rate. I'm part Swiss, it doesn't mean my granddaddy kept Jewish assets. I'm part Cherokee, it doesn't make me an alcoholic, proponent of slavery, noble or even tan.

Ultimately, implying the anons are something you consider vile is a smear without any supporting evidence, and that is what you are fighting for here, on behalf of Theresa, no?

I'm sorry for your grief. It must be really hard to reconcile all this. It must be really hard to lose such a great project. It must be sad and terrifying to watch two people you admired go down like that. It feels like it signals an end to hope. I felt that way a bit when I read the news. I felt it more growing up in a suicidal family; it seemed everyone was trying to die, and I was so young.

Keep loving your wife. You're a good man, Tony B.

Formerly Fooled said...

Charm School, thank you for writing
"The Wit is Dead: Requiem for a Blogger".

To all the ANONYMOUS posters here who made claims or repeated supposed claims that TD and JB were either paranoid, mentally ill, cruel and committing the act of harassment and stalking..... how convenient for you that Duncan and Blake are not here to defend these cowardly accusations.

Such posts are reminisient of the anon posts over at alt.religion.scientology google group where The Church of Scientology aka 'CoS'staff post comments filled to the brim with propaganda and personal attacks against any and all perceived enemies on a daily basis.
This strategy of spouting generalities and accusations that cannot easily be defended is part and parcel of Scientology 'church' policy called FAIR GAME:
The Original: Scientology's Fair Game Policy Document:
http://www.fairgamed.org/fairgame.htm
Scientology and FAIR GAME
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_Game_(Scientology)

All About Scientology's FAIR GAME practices and it's victims
http://www.fairgamed.org/

Theresa Duncan is not the first, nor last person who has claimed harassment by this cult and sadly, she is not the first to have been found dead after speaking up. Visit
www.whyaretheydead.net and see for yourself.

The lack of pertainent information on her death and Jeremy's MIA is a breeding ground for evil people to cover up what has been brought to light. In the meantime read up what you can of Duncan's because the blog may not stay up forever.

She was one very bright, creative and strong woman deserving consideration for her comments in general.The Rigorous Intuition blog of Thursday, July 26, 2007 states some new information on the Gaskell claims as well as providing TD's very good interview of Fr Frank Morales that makes sensible the 'conspiracy' issues the ANON's here have tried to minimize into being paranoia. http://www.rigorousintuition.ca/board/viewtopic.php?t=12578

Morticia said...

FF (I like that kitty) you are correct….they weren’t paranoid; they were knock, knock, knockin on Franklin’s door. And when they put Johnny’s name with Anna’s they knocked no more. Scientology is just a pseudonym for Satanism. Call John DeCamp....he'll tell you about Jim Cownie's name poppin up:

http://www.namebase.org/cgi-bin/nb01?_DE%20CAMP_JOHN_W

To Doug Adams…..great to hear from you! Talk to you later – I have to change the channell now (lol)

God Bless (and long live) Mr. and Mrs. Art

p.s. Gomez, you have ADD!

FC said...

I am someone who loved Jeremy, knew him very well, and have many great things to say about him. I could go on for days about his good side. Unfortunately, there was a dark side as well.

I would really like to see all of this insane conspiracy theory end. I am not a person who is generally immune to conspiracy theory. I hate the scientologists, the Bush administration, and never met Anna Gaskell. I would love to hear the truth about 9/11. But I have to concur with people who say that the two of them hurt a lot of people and were struggling with their own demons and that is why no one who knew them well questions the facts of their suicides. There is no evidence that points to anything but suicide. This is not something to be romanticized or glorified. It is just a terrible fact that we must now learn to cope with. I am so sorry that Jeremy and Theresa are both gone. And I really wish people who didn't know them or who only met them once or twice would let the subject rest.

tony b. said...

From kissyface:
..."but you don't really think the anons are Scientologists, do you? C'mon, Mate."
No, not really. Just being snarky. Really my only argument was for the fellow snarks to leave the professional rivalry at the door. Let them have their day. That's all. As for the "conspiracy" stuff, I have no opinion. I have seen stranger and equally horrid things in my day. It's not out of the realm of possibility. And in reference to her blog:
http://theresalduncan.typepad.com/witostaircase/2007/05/dessert_topping.html
Father Frank Morales is not crazy. And on the social justice end, it was GREAT to find a couple of like mind. And at least they tried.
That's REALLY all I have to say on the matter. To each her own.

-take care

Steven Augustine said...

"I am someone who loved Jeremy, knew him very well, and have many great things to say about him."

Why not say some of them, then?

People would be a lot less "paranoid" if so many of these comments weren't making the startling claim that suicide was somehow *inevitable*...it's an extraordinary opinion, no matter how dark or erratic or disturbed-seeming two people might get. What was the *worse* thing they did? Bad-mouth former friends? Shriek abuse? Steal from them? Slap people around?

The friends of Duncan and Blake who write (not here, but other places) that suicide seemed like the last thing either would resort to strike us, whether they're in denial or not, as giving the kind of response we're all familiar with.

The conspiracy theories are springing out of the unusual fact of their deaths, in the first place...and then these unusual responses to the tragedy. You have to accept this. And it strikes a very odd note, still, when we read things like:

"...no one who knew them well questions the facts of their suicides. There is no evidence that points to anything but suicide."

The first sentence is shocking. And the second sentence seems premature, unless you've been talking to the police.

Honestly, I want to know what either of them could have done that was *so* deranged and otherwise horrific that a double-suicide (as opposed to jail or substance abuse counseling, say) seemed like the obvious next step to you?

Anyone who clears that up with a few paragraphs will go a long way towards putting the conspiracy theories to rest; it should be simple enough to do.

Vemrion said...

Tony B, Steve A, and others:

I think we're going to have to accept the fact that most of Theresa and Jeremy's friends secretly hated them, and couldn't wait to go onto the internet after their sudden and tragic deaths to smear them anonymously while neglecting to mention anything positive or life-affirming about either of them.

Clearly, T&J were despicable, paranoid people who somehow shared a serious "mental illness" while lashing out at everyone close to them. I can only speculate that 4, maybe 5 people -- 6 tops -- will attend their funerals. Their penchant for speaking out against Scientology has nothing to do with it. If any of us had a friend die suddenly, the first thing we'd do is go on the internet and unload all our beef with them, right?

It's the only logical explanation.... right?

more said...

While I'm a long time friend of a family member of Theresa's I, sad to say, never did meet her. And until a week ago I didn't know she had a blog. Seems odd you say but she was a private person and I believe that after her move to the coasts she rarely returned to visit her native Michigan.

After spending some time scanning through her musings it's clear to me that she was a fighter and had a beautiful mind. Among her myriad literary offerings in particular the interview with Father Frank got my attention.

It's tempting but might be disrespectful to offer conjecture on how she met her demise. I suppose my predilection is that something doesn't smell right but I'll leave it at that.

Instead, in the spirit of her courage and sense of social justice I want to offer two websites. Spread the word the way that Theresa would have done:

http://educate-yourself.org/

http://www.projectcamelot.net/

Russell Cutts said...

Here's a thought for everyone reading this blog including those Anons who are so transparently trying debunk any notion that T&J might not have taken their own lives.

Investigative Journalism is a form of art and the beautiful Ms. Wit of the Staircase was takin on the shape of something akin to Mae Brussell. Mae Brussell exposed "conspiracy" locally, nationally and internationally. Was she a "paranoid nut"? I bet Rose Kennedy didn't think Mae was a nut when her husband was shot and killed one week after Mae personally handed her a note in the airport telling her it was going to happen.

She clearly knew what she was talking about when she referred to Jeff Gannon as a mind controlled psychological operative and even more clearly understood that there was nothing accidental about the "accidental" deaths of Gaskell children's parents.

More than likely the same can be said about the death of Wit.

Peace

Anonymous said...

In the next few weeks there will be at least 2-3 (that I know of) investigative articles in mainstream newpapers/magazines on Theresa and Jeremy's death. Things will be a little clearer to everyone then, I hope.

One thing I would like to point out is that callng Theresa an investigative journalist seems like a mischaracterization. Comparatively little of her blog had to do with conspiracies, the federal government, scientology, etc.

Her written work has been more aptly described as cultural criticism. I haven't statistically analyzed her blog but my feeling is that there was a lot more on Kate Moss, perfume, historical miscellany and Jeremy's art than there was on conspiracies.

This isn't a criticism, just an observation. It seems like a lot more attention is being paid to a relatively small part of her blog's output, as if it somehow explains things. You might as well conjecture that Kate Moss arranged her death because she was tired of the attention, or that some perfume creator was upset with a bad review.

Anonymous said...

Her blog was eclectic for sure, however....when her post entitled "The Devil in Dick Cheney" could not be completed because she turned up dead.....

I'd say she crossed the "Mae Brussell" rubicon.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossing_the_Rubicon

Anonymous said...

Anna Gaskell's art work is all about "Alice in Wonderland"

http://www.postmedia.net/999/gaskell.htm

Hey Kissyface, can you say "Charm School programmed keys"

If you can't say it....can you google it? See, it's magic story!

kissyface said...

The Last Anonymous who wrote:

"Hey Kissyface, can you say "Charm School programmed keys"

If you can't say it....can you google it? See, it's magic story!"

Huh? Wuh? I said it aloud, then I googled it, and I still don't know what you're after here... please explain.

thanks.

Anonymous said...

As someone who hung out with T & J in the 90s and was/is close friends with those who were harassed by them, I'd like to offer my observations and feelings. It does help to write about this.

I personally had nothing but positive experiences with both. I was fond of Theresa. She encouraged me and struck me as very supportive and friendly. Jeremy was harder to relate to. He was very private. Theresa helped open him up.

Unfortunately, they cut off friends after Jeremy became more well known. Perhaps the fame exacerbated whatever underlying mental illness may have existed.

I do not use the term mental illness lightly and I do not use it critically. Most people have experienced mental illness in their lives in some capacity. I'm shocked to see it still has a negative stigma in today's society. Yes it is true that a lot of creative people show higher signs of mental illness, perhaps because of the heightened sensitivity or because it's a way to work through past traumas.

In any case, both T & J exhibited signs of mental illness. Taken alone, the following symptoms don't mean much: rages, drinking, attacks on long-time friends, paranoia, grandiosity, arrogance, isolation from people who could help them, etc. But seen as a whole, they are indicative of very serious emotional problems. It seems to me that they were co-dependent and fed off each other's illness. I have no credentials as a psychologist but I have a parent who is mentally ill - diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. So I have some knowledge.

Anon. 4:54pm wrote: "For good or for bad, the social circles that she traveled in take a certain acceptance of mental instability as a sign of an artistic personality, rather than as an example of psychological unwellness."

This is all too true.

I believe there must have been some trigger that led to Theresa's suicide. Perhaps it was due to financial problems - I haven't read or heard anything that explains exactly what happened with her supposed studio deal or why Jeremy returned to Rockstar (a video game company he worked for in the 90s as an art director) as an in-house graphic designer. Perhaps it was due to Scientology harassment. Perhaps there were family or relationship problems that no one really knows about.

While I definitely would not want to talk ill of Scientologists, I've read enough of their Fair Game practices to want to know more about Theresa's claims of harassment. Why haven't we read anything about the police reports she made? Was she really being harassed or was this a delusion? Perhaps this will come out in the investigative articles

It disturbs me to read some of the criticisms of Theresa, as if Jeremy's suicide was all her fault. Anon. 8:39am wrote: "dragged jeremy into her increasingly paranoid delusions." Jeremy was very, very perceptive and well-read about mental illness. I don't think he would have let Theresa "drag" him into anything. I believe he was very much in love with her and probably had his own unresolved mental health issues.

I'll end with this-Jeremy and Theresa gave me special moments that nurtured my creative spirit. Both were huge influences on my life. What struck me about them, and what has stayed with me, was their focused determination and perseverance to pursue their creativity. That’s why it’s so sad to have lost them. They were both so incredibly talented and bright and driven. I’m glad to have known them.

Anonymous said...

p.s.- I apologize if I offended or disrespected anyone by writing with the assumption that both committed suicide. There hasn't been confirmation that Jeremy's body has been found or that Theresa's death was a suicide.

Raul said...

"Charm School programmed keys"

Trance-formation of America

by Mark Phillips and Cathy O'Brien

Chapter 7. Charm School

Alice in Wonderland programming, revisited:

From Cathy O'Brien's book, 'TranceFormation of America' (the link has 81 reviews), an ex-MKULTRA who was seemingly being put through the same as perhaps some of the people photographed in the links above:

"It was Houston's G.E. capacitor scam that provided me insight into the elaborate Long Island docks drug network run by U.S. Congressman Gary Ackerman (D.NY). I first met Ackerman in 1981 when Houston was booked into the Woodberry Music Festival with known CIA-mind control victim Loretta Lynn. Senator Byrd proudly claimed Loretta as his mind-controlled slave and told me, "I literally made Loretta what she is today, and she is maid to order." Loretta's son and secondary mind-control handler, Ernest Ray, told me, "I know what the Byrd did to my mother. I can get away with murder... All I gotta do is call him and I'm free as a bird/Byrd." Loretta's road manager, Neo-Nazi pedophile Ken Riley, who was also Alex Houston's best friend, often assisted Houston in handling me. Riley in turn handed by Charm School programmed keys, codes, and triggers to Congressman Ackerman, who skillfully accessed my Alice in Wonderland mirror theme programming.

...

It was a sunny, fall day in 1983 when U.S. Congressman Guy VanderJagt met with my CIA operative mind-control handler, Alex Houston, my then 3 ½ year old daughter, Kelly, and me on the steps of the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C. Kelly appeared familiar with VanderJagt, although I had never previously remembered seeing her in his company. Even so, I could not think to realize he was, in fact, sexually abusing her as he had me when I was a child. VanderJagt knelt on one knee in front of her to talk with her, assuring her that "today was a special day" because she would "see Uncle George (Bush) while mommy sees Uncle Ronnie (Reagan)." He stood up and took her by the hand, saying in Alice in Wonderland cryptic language, "Let's go on an Adventure together" and led her quietly and robotically away.

Cathy O'Brien:

Mind Control & MKULTRA, Cathy O'Brien and Mark Phillips, (Edmonton, Canada presentation)
1 hr 44 min - Jul 24, 2006 -
(89 ratings)
Mark Phillips and Cathy O'Brien expose the Federal Government's involvement in Mind Control projects, research, and abuse of its' own people. This is the...
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7461738120783343519

kissyface said...

Raul - It's very Manchurian Candidate.

Raul said...

kissyface,

Choose one or both responses:

You asked.

(or)

It is, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

It is perhaps a bit unseemly to speculate because this is very and not an appropriate topic for speculation but I worry people are being unfair to Theresa and Jeremy. What no one seems to mention is that she was working on a film, her first major film. If anyone has ever worked on a major project (a book, a film, etc.) that their future success depended on, I suspect they will understand. Suicidal thoughts are very common when you are enmeshed in trying to create a masterpiece but when you believe it might be the one chance you get. Death seems better than failure and there are other aspects to public creative projects that push people into despair. It happens even to the very sane under duress, although most people don't act on those thoughts.

I'm not saying this is what happened to Theresa. I think we can never know for sure what happened and we can absolutely never know what was in someone's mind. It is so hard to be on the cusp of success. It is so hard to live in a world where it can seem like success is all that matters, where no one can afford to fail. Priorities become distorted in ways those on the outside can't comprehend.

I am reluctant to comment because I see ways these deaths can be turned into a side show (and ways that I am becoming a spectator) but I think there is a false dichotomy here. From a certain place, a place of striving to create something great and fearing you won't be able to, killing yourself starts to look like it makes sense. And many of the most brilliant and successful and creative people have toyed with the idea. Some give in.

Theresa was not a madwoman and Jeremy was not her stooge or her symbiotic partner in insanity. If they strayed into paranoia or despair they didn't go anywhere entirely unfamiliar to most of us.

I offer this only because I'm not seeing explanations that leave room for someone to kill themselves and still be recognizable as primarily sane, whose voice should still be heard as whole, as authoritative and authentic. (Even if they sometimes lost touch.) It is another possibility.

Anonymous said...

"Suicide - suicide! It is all wrong, I tell you. It is wrong psychologically. How did (the narcissist in the story) think of himself? As a Colossus, as an immensely important person, as the center of the universe! Does such a man destroy himself? Surely not. He is far more likely to destroy someone else - some miserable crawling ant of a human being who had dared to cause him annoyance ... Such an act may be regarded as necessary - as sanctified! But self-destruction? The destruction of such a Self? ... From the first I could not consider it likely that (the narcissist) had committed suicide. He had pronounced egomania, and such a man does not kill himself."

["Dead Man's Mirror" by Agatha Christie in "Hercule Poirot - The Complete Short Stories", Great Britain, HarperCollins Publishers, 1999]

"A surprising ... fact in the process of self-splitting is the sudden change of the object relation that has become intolerable, into narcissism. The man abandoned by all gods escapes completely from reality and creates for himself another world in which he ... can achieve everything that he wants. as been unloved, even tormented, he now splits off from himself a part which in the form of a helpful, loving, often motherly minder commiserates with the tormented remainder of the self, nurses him and decides for him ... with the deepest wisdom and most penetrating intelligence. He is ... a guardian angel (that) sees the suffering or murdered child from the outside, he wanders through the whole universe seeking help, invents phantasies for the child that cannot be saved in any other way ... But in the moment of a very strong, repeated trauma even this guardian angel must confess his own helplessness and well-meaning deceptive swindles ... and then nothing else remains but suicide ..."

[Ferenczi and Sandor - "Notes and Fragments" - International Journal of Psychoanalysis - Vol XXX (1949), p. 234]

Anonymous said...

Whether you agree with it or not, this is the most in-depth article so far on Duncan's life:

The Theresa Duncan Tragedy

Steven Augustine said...

Very sad.

Anonymous said...

sorry - I'm a new Anon - I have no blog name yet, but will get one.

To: TOGOBO - I'd be interesed in seeing those mind control links you were talking about.

I'm saddened and confused by all of this. You can't diagnose TD as having a drinking problem off the cuff, just as you say others can't say the same for her being mentally ill. Just face it - no one really knows. If she was either, only her closest circle knew (if she allowed a close circle, it could've just been JB), and you probably won't hear from them any time soon.
I can only conclude that all here are working through their confusion, and if long time bloggers, are giving Theresa a proper Blog send off, by writing your hearts out.

Anonymous said...

New Anon again.
Edit- only the first sentce was to TOGOBO - the rest was my comment to this blog.

kissyface said...

New Anon -

You are, of course, right. No one really knows who didn't know her.

Here's a link to an article written by a good friend of hers: LA Weekly article by Kate Coe Another Anonymous left it here a few days ago. Worth a read.

Be well.

tojobo said...

Hello Anon. Here are few links to get you started.
1977 Senate hearing on MKULTRA
http://www.druglibrary.org/Schaffer/HISTORY/e1950/mkultra/index.htm

The Search for the Manchurian Candidate
http://www.amazon.com/Search-Manchurian-Candidate-Mind-Control/dp/0393307948

Electronic Harassment:
http://myweb.cableone.net/mtilton/

Video: Testimony @Presidents Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, March, 1995.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iflBkRlpRy0

More Video of same:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXDASDDrDkM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-ES8Bv0_8w

Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments
1995 Hearings
http://www.raven1.net/hradexco.htm#CHILDTORTURE1

As for mind control and much more, I would suggest looking @:
The Church Committee Reports of 1975
http://www.aarclibrary.org/publib/church/reports/contents.htm

Please be advised that this is very rough stuff and some may find the content objectionable. I would also encourage you to maintain a skeptical approach when dealing with this subject. There are folks out there with agendas willing to use and manipulate this information for personal or political gain. I would stick close to the facts and always question the messenger (that includes me). We are all prone to bias and limited by our individual perspective.

Unfortunately, due to posting here and on other sites, I've recently fell victim to a rather unpleasant web stalker. So, forgive me if you don't get a response. This will be the last time I'll speak on the matter.

Thx.

Alison said...

Thank you for this most respectful posting. I am comforted and relieved, perhaps on behalf of many more eh?

Anonymous said...

I'm really shocked and saddened that people think the term "mental illness" is some kind of slur or criticism. I think it's that attitude that sometimes prevents people from seeking help. Having an illness doesn't make you less intelligent. My family member who suffers from a mental illness is probably the smartest of all of us and a great writer. She can seem quite normal when she's not accusing everyone of raping her. And by everyone,I mean celebrities and politicians she's never met. She's still brilliant and talented, just burdened by this problem. Theresa was clearly very talented too. I'd like to thank the owner of this blog for being so tolerant and thoughtful.

kissyface said...

Dear Anonymous 11:29 -

There's not a rational person out there who would criticized a busted legged bloke for getting a cast or a woman infected with strep for taking her rightly dose of penicillin. Perhaps we view mental/emotional ailments (and why are they termed mental rather than the later? Could be a misnomer.) as more under our control - the physical examples seem more like invasions from the exterior world. The truth is they are probably as much symptomatic of our interior life as the psychologocal problems are, but whatever the case, having a screw loose should not be viewed as 1) impossible to remedy 2) contagious (though I can see where proximity can drag you down) 3) grounds for anything less than compassion 4) a rarity.

Marginalizing it makes it harder for people to want to reach out for help. How many men (primarily, though plenty do go), do I know who won't even consider seeing a therapist because they fear admitting to that sort of vulnerability. It takes strength to heal yourself. It is weak to deny your problems.

Anonymous said...

From 11:29: Thanks, kissyface, for your thoughtful response. There has certainly been improvement in the acceptance and understanding of mental illness, but clearly there is a long way to go. It pains me that people refuse to recognize the symptoms of a sickness. Of course, anything in this world is possible, but Theresa Duncan's conspiracy theories remind me very much of the letters I used to see when I worked at a newspaper. Schizophrenics are very fond of sending long documents about conspiracies against them to anyone they consider important: the media, the president, the head of the CIA, etc. After you see about 20 of those, you really see how these people are in true psychic pain from their delusions.

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This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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幸運的是找了一位儅畫家的男朋友,有專門的畫室,還開設了素描班,用畫筆記錄下我的美麗瞬間。爲了更加富有魅力,我同時還參加了朋友的美容中心減肥班,每週堅持做facial,我要將我的美麗最大限度地延續。

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