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Kevin Roderick on Blogging Theresa Duncan

Jeremy and Theresa photo by Bret of Yo Venice

News of the sorrow-producing deaths of blogger, writer, filmmaker Theresa Duncan
and her lover, new art star, Jeremy Blake, appeared in the blogs way before any of the conventional news outlets managed to be curious enough to write a story.

Kevin Roderick at LA Observed (LA’s primary morning must-read blogger) broke the story on Thursday, July 19, with a fuller entry the next day, plus multiple follow-ups. Various blogs soon followed. Whereas the New York Times and other New York papers finally managed to slap themselves awake a full 48 hours later, on Saturday, July 21 (or shortly thereafter).

Amazingly, the somnambulist LA Times didn’t get around to writing about Duncan and Blake until Wednesday, July 25 —never mind that Venice resident Duncan was a vibrant player in the LA’s new literary scene—thus her death was a story the Times should naturally have covered, (ahead of, say, yet another idiotic blurb on freaking Posh Spice).

For the record, WLA even saw fit to write about Duncan’s death
three days ahead of the Times, even though it clearly wasn’t a social justice issue; it was nonetheless a story that wouldn’t leave my head.

Today, Roderick, does his KCRW commentary
on the relationship of the blogs to the coverage of Duncan’s tragic story. (You can listen on the radio at 4:44 PM, or just find it online, whenever you like.) Judging by blogmaster Kevin’s other KCRW commentaries, it’s worth a listen.


  • Celeste, I only read your previous post on this. Suicide always bothers me, and these two cases don’t make sense based upon the description of the people who died. There has to be more that we’re not seeing.

  • Woody, I agree. I’m gathering stuff for a longer post, that I’ll likely do over the weekend. It still won’t answer the central question, but it’ll put out more puzzle pieces.

    A very smart writer friend of mine (who shall remain nameless at this point) is talking about doing the real research necessary to paint a fuller picture in the form of a long magazine piece. I really, really hope he does it. Because there’s something about this story—over and above the obvious tragedy of two talented, attractive, likable people killing themselves—that bothers most who come in contact with it.

  • Could they have had some sort of secret substance abuse problem? The LAT story describes them as paranoid about being followed by Scientologists, and they come off as really weird: disowned friends who doubted their stories. TomKat may be vapid and apparently unable to think for themselves without a strict pseudo-religious dogma micromanaging their lives, but is there any proof that the “religion” goes after people who somehow find out too much about them, but choose not to join? (Kind of like the extremisst sects of Mormons?)

  • Well, I knew her and I’ve got an assignment from the Weekly to write about her. Much of what’s been reported isn’t true, and nearly everything on line isn’t true. I’m moderately horrified at the number of people who write about her and Jeremy who never met them.

  • Kate: Are you suggesting the LAT article is incorrect?

    In today’s CityWatch, Brady Whitewater rips to shreds the “Grand Illusion” article in your Weekly of this week, by one Zuma Dogg, gadfly activist — apparently Brady doesn’t know who Zuma really is and thinks he’s a real reporter, since he’s given a full byline like one, and is appalled at the factual inaccuracies and absurdities throughout. (Check out LAist on 7/25, interview and video with Zuma, to hear how he writes from “bitterness” etc., with no education or professionalism.)

    Does the Weekly have any prerequisites for its writers, apart from being cheap and in his case, possibly bringing with him some of his ragtag band of followers? NOT to question your integrity or qualifications, since I don’t know you — and of course Zahniser, who just leaped to the LAT, was in a different league. But this sort of article and incredulous reaction it elicits from someone who REALLY knows the circumstances and principals behind Grand Avenue, calls into question not only the Weekly, but virtually any paper other than the LA/NY Times and such.

    With Mirthala being brushed off as just a “newsreader” and not a “real reporter,” what does that term mean anymore?

  • WLa,I love the photos here and the great information you are gathering.Roderick is doing a good job of following up on this matter and I appreciate the information about the show and your continued work on reporting about this terrible situation.

    valerie gisiger is correct. A person claiming Scientology is harassing them is not one to dismiss lightly and the subject is rearing it’s ugly hear on this matter. Jeff Wells’Rigorous Intuition Blog has several updates of information that confirm some of the comments Theresa Duncan has made on people she claimed were harassing her.

    Note the Anonymous comments on the RI site… pure CoS Fair Game if you ask me. And of course, anyone aware of Scientology’s history of harassing others and it’suse of Fair Game tactics can well understand the connection and comments Theresa made. visit:

  • It’s not MY weekly, I’m a freelancer, so I’m not terribly up to date on pieces there other than my own.

    And, yes many things in the LAT piece are incorrect.

  • So many wild assumptions one could make from all these shreds of motives and reasons… Are we really preparing to accept the possibility that Theresa Duncan was killed?!?!! or are we just assuming threats and pressure from CoS drove her to that end? And if so, did Jeremy take his own life because of the guilt? Jeremy was the one who worked with Beck and dated Anna Gaskell… thefore Jeremy brought this on the couple. Could this be some insane Orwellian cover-up? Are we ready to fathom that Jeremy staged his own death?

  • […] “Well, I knew [Theresa Duncan] and I’ve got an assignment from the Weekly to write about her. Much of what’s been reported isn’t true, and nearly everything on line isn’t true. I’m moderately horrified at the number of people who write about her and Jeremy who never met them.” – Kate Coe, July 27, 2007, 7:50 p.m., on Witness LA.Com […]

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