Alex Constantine - December 27, 2007
Bloggers scoffed immediately:
"AUG 31: Today's Newsweek article's claim that Theresa and Jeremy were driven crazy by technology and killed themselves because they were "mesmerized" by the Internet is so mindboggglingly stupid it's (almost) beyond commentary. ... "
EXCERPT FROM THE NEWSWEEK PIECE ... BY A DOCTURAL STUDENT AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, NO LESS:
Truly, Madly, Deeply
By Tony Dokoupil
Sept. 14, 2007
Theresa Duncan created acclaimed videogames. Jeremy Blake was a digital-art pioneer. They were talented, successful and in love. And then they committed suicide. How the technology that infused their work helped destroy them. ...
" ... For some, technology and mental illness have long been thought to exist in a kind of dark symbiosis. Blake and Duncan’s case follows a long history that began when the electric age upended daily life with baffling, complex innovations. The first victim is believed to have been James Tilley Matthews, an 18th-century British merchant who thought France planned to take over England with a mind-controlling magnetic machine using technology developed by Frank Mesmer—from whom the word 'mesmerized' is derived. More recently, the introduction of television inflamed the minds of patients who believed that their TVs were watching them or broadcasting secrets about their lives. In this regard, the Web is especially powerful. 'The condition of being super-social and super-isolated at the same time is an Internet-era kind of thing,' says Fred Turner, a media historian at Stanford University, who speculates that as Blake and Duncan withdrew from friends, 'their only reality check left was the wisps of information on their computer screens. And unfortunately, that isn’t a very powerful check. ... '”
Case closed. Theresa was suffering from internet psychosis. Fred Turner said so. Happens every day.
She even had toxic technology INSIDE OF HER:
" .... Duncan was bracingly smart, bright-skinned and blond, with so much energy it often seemed as if she were fueled by some inner reactor. ... "
BTW, Newsweek used statements made by Beck, whose testimony has been inconsistent and even false in some instances, to reinforce the image of Theresa as a mewling, puking "paranoiac."
" ... In a disjointed 2006 e-mail to an art-world friend, Duncan claimed that BECK, a second-generation Scientologist, had told her about his plans to leave the church. This knowledge, she wrote, would make her “priority No. 1 for their paranoid and dangerous security wing.” (A spokesperson for Beck denied to NEWSWEEK that the exchange ever occurred, and a spokeswoman for the Church of Scientology called Duncan’s allegations “absurd.”)
- Alex Constantine