The Blue Raccoon

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Duncan-Blake Effect Blossoms Unabated

Image: The Wit of the Staircase, October 27, 2005;
"Letting The Freak Flag Fly."

Since I first began my own version of explicating the Duncan-Blake Effect in the blogosphere, the event of their deaths and subsequent parsing of their lives has jerked and clunked like some kind of cyber-era gholem. The creature doesn't exist in any space, yet it has breathed, and achieved a wobbling virtual life.

And yet...

The majority of the world that took little or no notice of the doings of either Duncan or Blake has moved on. The Getty repatriated 40 pieces of ancient art to Italy, a massive Minneapolis bridge collapse caused a laggard re-examination of the nation's spans, and a worrisome stock market downturn may pull the rest of the world with it; more ice in Antarctica is melting than has been ever recorded; a new anti-biotic resistant staph infection is affecting people who've not visited a hospital, and meanwhile Zimbabwe implodes and Pakistan's government is on the edge, they are dying in droves in Iraq, dangerous brinkmanship is continuing as practiced by the U.S. and Iran, and miners are trapped 1800 feet below the surface of Utah. And here in Richmond, Vee-ay, we observe the passing of the great Oliver Hill Sr., at age 100, and consider yet another visioning of the downtown masterplan.
In our personal lives, a friend is afflicted with cancer, and the sister of another is near death due to the disease.

Yet, here we are, billion-eyed audience.

I've read in a few blogs how people think that the multiple plotlines and hoaxie-poaxie hi-tech hi-jinks is like the plot of a William Gibson novel (I cannot be sure, though I think I drew the comparison early on, but it's the Interweb, and many millions of people have read his books, which is why he is William Gibson, and I have a blog).

His Idoru provides a creative platform for those who've suggested that perhaps a) Theresa Duncan didn't actually exist, b) This is all some kind of alternative reality game. Um, well. Like Dr. Johnson, I refute it, thus! (sound of rock getting kicked).

Pattern Recognition shares some kinship at least with the cultish following of Duncan's blog, similar to how Gibson's "footage" is debated on various forums. I've not read his most recent, Spook Country, but even the title in that case and the basic plot sounds familiar if to nothing else than those psy-ops references made in Duncan's posts. This also refers to those bloggers who are attempting to perform some form of disinformation-fu on the presumed nest of plots and counterplots by which the writer and artist became ensnared.

To quote the Boing Boing summary: "Spook Country tells the story of a cadre of spies, artists, and losers who collide in the roiling turmoil of twenty-first century, destabilized geopolitics."

Huh. Need to hunt it up at Creatures and Crooks this weekend.

At any rate, the Blue Raccoon readers who remain interested in the Duncan-Blake Effect can now access avenues of approach that give rational and sane perspective to an irrational and insane occurrence.

Ron Rosenbaum, since that fateful morning in Starbuck's, has chosen to work the beat. What's been more interesting to me, in a meta way, is how Rosenbaum has seemed somewhat overwhelmed by the reaction in the blogosphere to the deaths, and to his own thoughts and speculations. A recent comments spat resulted in the unwitting assailant making profuse apology, and Rosenbaum announcing it as a "Blogosphere First!" Considering the downwright vehemence and vitriol poured out on the comments pages on some within the comments columns and forums related to the suicides, I can understand his pointing out anybody expressing remorse about anything.

Seawords is an elegant majestic epic. Kind words have been extended to me there, and I return them here. Why we are doing all this, though, is a bit beyond me. Though as the man once said, philosophy is a luxury of the leisure class and so, I would add, is the following of a strange couple of deaths at "the intersection of art and technology."

* From The Desert To The Sea... by John Stodder has, from the outset, provided compassionate, cogent and non-conspiracist analysis. And he holds great stock in the well-wrought sentence.

Gloss was the first, in my awareness, to present a metaphorical and poetic interpretation undergirding the Duncan-Blake Effect, with three posts, the first on July 21 and two on July 26. And for that credit is due.

Theresa Duncan Central remains busy as Poulet promulgates the first tenets of Duncanology while dissecting several of Duncan's web posts and explaining that she with knowledge aforethought cribbed other writing. This discussion is locked in that debate of: is appropriation art, or was it just out-and-out plagiarism? There was that incident with the perfume column. TDC has also been making the case that both Duncan and Blake were obsessive pot heads and that either made them paranoid, or exacerbated their tendencies.

I can say, that in college, when hanging out with a bunch of cannabis-crazed Northern Virginians, who were products of homes with too much money and not enough of almost anything else worthwhile, that, indeed, the stuff turned them into solopsistic goofs. But there was a darker tinge to all the silliness, and with them I first became acquainted with that Illuminati -Aleister Crowley stuff. They were all role playing gamers and for a while, took the whole rigamarole way far too serious.

Among those in that coterie of chronic huffers, a few suffered from some synapses firing off in the wrong direction. People I thought were kind of brilliant, turned into mush heads and slid into nuttiness, went to stronger drugs and somehow didn't die. At least two with whom I was acquainted were institutionalized.

So. If as TDC suggests Duncan and Blake were doing too much of the THC and for a considerable time, then, well. I can see how their thought processes burrowed too far inward, out of the sunshine, and any effort for a happy resolution.

One thread that TDC may get around to--at least I noticed it--was Duncan's frequent mention of her own psychoanalysis and of analysis as a a scientific discipline. Not that that's a bad thing. Heck, in some circles if you're not in therapy, something's wrong with you.

In the yards of verbiage I've seen on this matter, however, it's not -- to my knowledge-- been mentioned. People will say she's paranoid and crazy, but, well. If so, there's proof. Somebody somewhere is holding some files -- I mean, not in an X-Files sense-- and won't share them due to confidentiality. But you wait: remember how you read it here first -- maybe it'll come out in one of he big fat glossy mags -- "I Was The Wit's Analyst" --Breaking silence for the first time, Dr. Naomi Weintraub..." You see where this could go. And of course, Dr. Weintraub (I'm making her up, so don't get all excited) won't really be able to say anything specific, and the whole story will just be a gratuitous rehashing, with jarring page design and pictures cropped for maximum tension.

I am staying away from the fervid conspiracirati sites. I've had to muck through them in my preparations, and I'm just leaving them to their devices. Somebody will earn his or her master's degree assessing those word salads.

A further personal note. Back in the early 1980s, I was a copy clerk for the morning paper here. Copy clerk then meant everything from making coffee, to fetching the various zoned editions of the paper as they came trundling off the massive printing presses and getting stained by the ink; shooting page diagrams to composition via pneumatic tube; running to the "morgue" to fetch fat little envelopes of news clippings and sleek black 8 x 10s of the famous and infamous; and hieing down to the bus station to pick up roles of film shipped from state bureaus.

I also sorted the mail. And here I discovered how people would devote considerable time writing letters, preparing diagrams, typing reports, explicating in often dizzying detail how various civic and military and covert authorities were filching their mail, poisoning their pets, stealing money out of their bank, causing the ringing in their ears. The newspaper itself was either the last best chance for these individuals to seek justice, or implicated in the plots themselves, or both.

They were for the most part tossed out until I came along. I saved them. By time I left, my collection filled a considerable box. I was young and naive and thought: Not all of them can be crazy, right? The mad trove is up in the attic now, festering.

And so, here I am again, sorting through the mail.

And my next installment is coming soon.

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At 8:58 AM, Blogger monnie said...

“I had visited Ms Duncan's blog on a more than daily basis. As she always had yet another thing to say later in the day. I love to read the writings of intelligent, humourous and loudmouth women...."

Was a comment left on Ghost of a flea by myself not Agent Bedhead just for clarification.

Your blog has made for some interesting reading. I too have been left mouth agape with the reactions to death's of these too individuals

aka rockabillygirlscout

At 3:35 PM, Blogger Ideefixe said...

"And here I discovered how people would devote considerable time writing letters, preparing diagrams, typing reports, explicating in often dizzying detail how various civic and military and covert authorities were filching their mail, poisoning their pets, stealing money out of their bank, causing the ringing in their ears. The newspaper itself was either the last best chance for these individuals to seek justice, or implicated in the plots themselves, or both."

Would it be possible that a big city newspaper, like the Los Angeles Times, for example, might have such a collection? How interesting......

At 3:47 PM, Blogger HEK said...


Greetings, and thanks for reading.

Indeed! My guess is all media outlets get a share of this kind of conspiracist correspondence. One could probably make a study and publish the most unique--best written, most creative packaging, etc.--from assorted collections. The names would be redacted, of course.

One could divide up the material according to the particular theory propounded by the author...could be ...interesting.

I need to find that box!

At 9:20 AM, Blogger Kate said...

My tongue was firmly in my cheek when I wrote that. I'm pretty sure that the LA Times had Blake's chronology somewhere in the building before they died. Who was it that said it's better to be lucky than smart?

At 12:45 PM, Blogger HEK said...


Blake's document was some 28 pages, if I recall.

Oy, when excerpted chunks of that exegesis get spread over glossy pages -- well. It's all just sad, sadder, saddest.

At 12:47 PM, Blogger HEK said...

P.S. to Kate:

An assortment of conspiracy material sent to various media outlets could be a job for "Found Magazine" -- The Paranoid Issue.


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