Eye Hears Voices
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Eye Hears Voices

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Photo from this week’s Eye by David Topping/Torontoist.

No-one’s perfect. Darren O’Donnell, for instance, is a spectacularly creative and interesting Torontonian responsible for some of the city’s most thrilling projects. As he admitted in Eye‘s cover story about him from the beginning of April, he’s also “paranoid…It’s a mental-health issue. I just think everyone hates me because I hate myself. So it’s very difficult to project that over everyone and everything all of the time.” According to the article, written by Eye‘s newest staff writer, Chandler Levack—an article significantly less charitable to its subject than you might imagine—O’Donnell’s seeing a therapist, and, “in 1993, he spent three days in the psych ward of Toronto General, suffering from delusions that included believing that he could cure AIDS, that ‘the universe was magical,’ and that he could radiate dangerous high-energy beams from his eye sockets.”
What he isn’t is schizophrenic, which Eye‘s initially published story said was the reason for his hospital visit (he was having, the paper said, “schizophrenic delusions”). That mistake led Eye to issue, in this week’s paper, one of the most entertaining and, taken by itself, befuddling correction notices we’ve ever seen:

Incorrect information was published in “O’Donnell-land”…Darren O’Donnell spent three days in Toronto General hospital, not three months. He has neither experienced nor has he been diagnosed with schizophrenia. EYE WEEKLY regrets the errors.

Haha, oops. The online article has since been updated with the changes (though those changes aren’t in any way noted), but all of that’s not even the weirdest thing about it all. No, that’d probably be a twenty-two-year-old blogger’s “open love letter” to O’Donnell in the wake of the story three weeks ago, and the response it elicited from the performance artist.


In an entry dated April 12 on a blog called “Bee Coming!”, the blog’s author—apparently an OCAD student named Xenia Vakova—wrote a strange (and strangely candid) “open love letter” to O’Donnell, an entry since deleted but preserved by Google’s cache. One paragraph read:

When I read that you had experienced bouts of schizophrenia, all I wanted was to wrap you in a blanket and kiss your bald head until it was all better. Soon after, I also began to feel sorry for myself, because I realized, at this moment, that my dreams of bearing your children would never come true.

The next:

You see, Darren, schizophrenia also runs in my family. Together, we could produce fucking brilliant children – as well as gorgeous, if I may add – but the high possibility of them turning batshit crazy makes this dream of mine a chance I am not willing to take. With all the love we would surely shower them with, their horrible brain genes would inevitably make themselves evident and turn our poor sexy babies into tortured souls. Let’s not pass on our own mental suffering to the next generation!

Another:

Because even if we both earnestly agree not to have children with one another, we’ll still be madly in love – and that is a love that must be consummated at least once a day. Assuming that your sperm creatively take after you, they are sure to find their way around any birth-control-related obstacles.

Less than twelve hours later, O’Donnell himself, or someone somehow using his authenticated Blogger profile, left a comment replying to Vakova’s article and slamming the author of Eye‘s 2,500-word feature about him:

Haha, yes you ARE crazy, but luckily Chandler Levack is a childish, sensationalist writer, too young and inexperienced to know the difference between a couple days of psychosis and schizophrenia. There is no schizophrenia in my life or my family.
But let’s hold off on hooking up until I figure out what’s wrong with my prostate.
What kind if work do u make?

Anyway, as we were saying: no-one’s perfect.

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