Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Theresa Duncan didn't have readers, she had fans

I had never heard of The Wit of the Staircase until this post on L.A. Observed. Right after reading of her disappearance on L.A. Observed, I headed over to Duncan's site, hoping to find some new and fresh writing. What I found was disappointing.

I've wondered since how could Duncan's readers not see right through her literary b.s.? I noticed it immediately. How could supposedly smart readers (who also happen to be writers) like Ron Rosenbaum and Kevin Rodderick (who apparently couldn't tell if Duncan's L.A. Lunar society was real and called the Wit "a personal favorite of mine") be so easily bamboozled? Reader Poussin has some thoughts:

Duncan didn't have readers. She had fans. She had girl crushes, lesbian crushes, young male crushes, crusty old git crushes, etc. Read her comments, where she permitted them. Often you will see remarks about her looks. This is why there are so many defenders. It isn't about plagiarism to them. Beauty will always ease misdeed. There are as many excuses as the day is long. How many excuses have we seen already?
See, Duncan was perfect for people. She filled a need in their desperations, however she did that. There was a sexual subtext to much of her fandom. She was what these fans wanted to be, and they felt golden for having found her. She wrote into that myth, using her charmed Venice lifestyle in funky hippie cottage, darling boyfriend, expensive habits and tastes.

It's true, Duncan often posted photos of herself but did she really seduce her readers? Is this why it's so hard for them to admit they were duped? Why do so many tie their identity to this woman? Why do they personally feel insulted when her fake front is exposed? Why do they take their anger out on those who expose the truth?


Lou said...

I was no fan, but did for a while visit the blog to check the links she posted (I came upon wood s lot thanks to the wit) and the cool pictures, even though the latter quickly became monotonous and tiresomely sexist. I found her blog through a shared interest in perfume. Her own infrequent writing - either about perfume or her evidently phony lunar society - seemed preciously hip and sophomoric to me, as well as increasingly rabid. But her writing wasn't really a dominant factor on the blog; most of it were linked quotes from recent articles.

After the perfume plagiarism and the cavalier way she dealt with it, and her freely borrowing pictures from the Facehunter without crediting him, my interest cooled considerably and my visits became sporadic. They eventually stopped altogether when she posted hostile b.s. about baby boomers and feminist art. I am, btw, of her generation.

I do think Poussin has an excellent point. And TD did all in her might to become some kind of virtual rockstar, creating a mystique et cetera. But this made her an amusing 'case' in some ways and to some people too, I'm sure. So fandom certainly doesn't cover the entire scope of readers.

Unknown said...

Wow, I was gonna respond but "lou" kinda stole my words;)
I enjoyed her blog like a hub-linking to interesting things elsewhere--wood's lot, RI, cool Gaurdian articles. Even after her passing, I still have access to a lot of the same info,thanks to her pointing it out. I appreciated her eye for things I was mutually intrigued by.

Now, on the subject of her, Theresa, I can spot a narcissist miles away--They themselves are so filled with envy, their raison d'etre is to inspire envy in others(hence, I see insecurity, rather than a charmed life). I'd like to say more but I'm off to the Chateau--rev up the Alfa, darling.

Whodoo said...

Poussin's "Beauty will always ease misdeed" strikes me so ironic in view of the fact that internet bloggers could be anybody. She could have been a man. She could have been anything. But post a pretty picture, et voila! GENIOUS!

The things she plucked from the myriad were interesting to me -- well, not so much the things themselves as how the one who chose where to focus revealed herself in those choices.

She had an interesting point of view -- yes, flawed in a million ways, yes, narcissistic, and lazy in the plagiarism, but still. It was sort of "What did Theresa choose today?" that kept my interest.

But also that she tried so hard. So desperate for recognition, so determined to be somebody, so actually young as in childlike(ish?) in her viewpoint, despite her insistence on her own sophistication. It's heartbreaking.

arebours said...

and how bout that book(if no one has mentioned this,already)by jenny Uglow"The Lunar men"who had a little club called "the Lunar Society"www.complete-review.com