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August 09, 2007

Good artists borrow

TheresaDuncanOnlySleeping.jpg

Saying suicides are "given less of a grace period than those who die young in accidents or from illness", the New York Observer reports from Jeremy Blake's funeral and references some of the lurid reportage following the death of Blake and Theresa Duncan (via The Seaword*). While not discounting the more unfortunate accounts of her life, this passage about Theresa's blog moved me.

Paranoid postings aside, the blog most often chronicled her relentless curiosity. She quoted Walter Benjamin and praised Charlotte Gainsbourg and would give only enough personal detail to leave the impression that she and Mr. Blake inhabited a strange, dark, fragrant other world, where Lunar Societies meet at midnight and one wakes up naked at dawn in a pink masquerade-ball mask.

There are some people who would read irresponsible fantasy, even duplicity, into creating a second life like this. Oscar Wilde had a different name for the practice, viz Art. William Blake, the Imagination.

On a related note, my comment especially.

* The image lifted from another post at The Seaword, "young, sexy & dead". A propos Theresa argument, I am fully expecting a film about the couple... vampires will continue to feed, even on the dead.

Ibid Update: The Seaword offers a sensible rebuttal. Though I should add Americans - and Canadians - tend to take the view that every reference must be made explicit in order to be legitimate. This is not the case in French scholarship. In a country where it is still possible to assume a readership with a classical education there is no need to telegraph an allusion to Plato. Sadly, the English-speaking world has a created a culture where sensible people can quote Scripture or Shakespeare and have not a clue they are so doing.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at August 9, 2007 07:14 AM

Comments

But surely a movie would be in keeping with the way they lived their lives and deaths?

Posted by: Andrew Ian Dodge [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 9, 2007 08:01 AM

True. And I admit if anyone cared to make a movie about my life (poor souls) I would be just as happy for it to be a real hack job; better to be talked about than not talked about, etc.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 9, 2007 08:50 AM

Yeah, but even Daniel Pearl's memory was jacked up by Hollywood's take on it.

Perhaps after a number of years, a movie would be a good idea, but can you imagine how - in Hollywood - it would not be at the mercy of Scientologist censors?

Posted by: agent bedhead [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 9, 2007 02:14 PM

There are some grotesque casting possibilities...

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 9, 2007 02:24 PM

"Sadly, the English-speaking world has a created a culture where sensible people can quote Scripture or Shakespeare and have not a clue they are so doing."

You can thank John Dewey for that.

Posted by: tsol [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 9, 2007 04:13 PM