Friday, August 10, 2007

A most delish Theresa Duncan read

Fellow Duncanologists, I've hit the mother lode. I've found an archived thread from December 2006 at lit blog Elegant Variation featuring none other than the Wit. The discussion centers around Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl which made it to the New York Times Top 10 Books of the Year list. Elegant Variation's stance and that of most posters on the thread is that the book didn't merit being on the list.

Posting under her own name, Duncan quickly enters the discussion troll-like, guns blazing and off topic.What ensues is a lively and entertaining debate (if you've ever posted drunk you'll recognize the Wit's voice here) in which the she gets her ass kicked roundly by some pretty sharp lit geeks.

In the thread she name drops the Chateau Marmont (where she says she's off to have breakfast that day) and "the studios," mentions that she's a "critic for Artforum and Slate and other digital and paper rags," brags about "all the reading I'm going to do this week," and eventually makes a thinly veiled threat at one of the other posters. More interesting, she brings up plagiarism:

I do feel though that the cultural license to fixate and criticize people like Pessl has become overly lax (like the plagiarism fixation) and that our critical dialog is straying into the territory of nitpicking and ressentiment.
This is the Wit at her feline "best," claws extended, flying by the seat of her pants and genuine in the belief that she's talking rings around people and landing squarely on her feet. This is what I imagine the people who knew her personally mean when they speak of her dazzling personality. A must read.

Extra credit reading: One of the posters who participated in that thread recently posted his own thoughts on Duncan's passing.

5 comments:

poussin said...

But the very best part of that friendly discussion was that she was finally forced to admit that she had not read the work in question, at which point she indicates it isn't worthy of her attention.

You're quickly becoming infamous, Poulet. Some wish to subject you to a good flame-broil.

rev said...

The most fascinating part of this whole discussion, in my opinion, is that Theresa announced that she was having breakfast at the Chateau Marmont. Is this the beginning of a new period of comment-leaving where one must depart mid-discussion for a venerable Hollywood hangout? I'll check back in after I return from the Betty Ford Center...
Posted by: tod goldberg | December 09, 2006 at 11:54 PM


:D

Kate said...

I wonder if Miranda is Miranda July?
And it's odd that no one in the thread brought up Duncan's ill-famed piece in Slate, even though she mentioned that she'd written for it.

Renee said...

"Whether you are a male or female, or an eighteen year old pole dancer at The Lusty Lady, Fran, what you wrote is the opinion of a granny."

*laughing, shaking my head* That's classic TD. It's her ultimate insult. And it's the insult of a 12 year old -- from a woman who was nearly 40.

KATE said...

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