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Pulitzer Prize-Winner Charlie LeDuff Plagiarizes Himself

Charlie LeDuff is a former New York Times writer, a current Detroit News writer and the type of person who puts his ethnic heritage in his bio. He's also a Pulitzer Prize-winner, which pairs nicely with his newest title: goddamn plagiarist.

In a borderline-racist video piece accompanying his new article, "To urban hunter, next meal is scampering by," which profiles a Detroit hunter and peltmonger whose game of choice is raccoon, LeDuff makes sure to put on a grand show about how silly and gross he finds the Coon Man's life. After demanding that the hunter kiss the skinned carcass of his latest catch, LeDuff then sits down to a freshly prepared coon meat dinner with the old gentleman. "Do you like it?" asks the kind hunter who generously invited LeDuff into his home and cooked for him. LeDuff will only reply, "This is…something," before making secret, dramatic, terrified eyes to his cameraman. Ha ha ha! Educated people are repulsed by that poor black guy's food! Isn't that hilarious?

We understand the classist bullshit far too well, but one major thing confuses us: shouldn't LeDuff have known he wasn't going to like raccoon after eating in pursuit of an eerily similar story about a decade ago for the Times?

J'accuse:

On the coon mens' homes

NY Times:

Nestled among the million-dollar homes of this old Victorian whaling village is Mr. Dam's suburban Appalachia, filled to the gunwales of its four acres with motors, mounted animals, whale oil lamps, wine casks, beehives and berry bushes.

Detroit News

His little Cape Cod is an urban Appalachia of coon dogs and funny smells. The interior paint has the faded sepia tones of an old man's teeth; the wallpaper is as flaky and dry as an old woman's hand.

On the taste of coon

NY Times

For the curious and coon connoisseur alike, one of the few places to procure this meat, which tastes something like a mix of pork and mutton, is from Hank Dam the trapper man…

Detroit News

He believes coon meat tastes something like mutton or pork [Ed: So do you; you said so 10 years ago.], but to the uneducated pallet, it has the aroma and texture of opossum.

On coon meat fans

NY Times

His clientele ranges from bristle-faced outdoorsmen to transplanted Southerners who consider the meat something of a delicacy.

Detroit News

…Beasley says he hunts coons and rabbit and squirrel for a clientele who hail mainly from the South, where the wild critters are considered something of a delicacy.

The part where crazy rambling doesn't seem so crazy

NY Times

"With the bunny huggers making a squawk about the business and the destruction of natural habitat, I'm about what's left," says the 77-year-old Mr. Dam, who now earns most of his income removing nuisance critters from attics and chimneys. "Can't make a living off the land if it's covered in blacktop. … It don't make a lick of sense…"

Detroit News

"Coon or rabbit. God put them there to eat. When men get hold of animals he blows them up and then he blows up. Fill 'em so full of chemicals and steroids it ruins the people. It makes them sick. Like the pigs on the farm. They's 3 months old and weighing 400 pounds. They's all blowed up. And the chil'ren who eat it, they's all blowed up. Don't make no sense."

We guess LeDuff's operating under the motto "Once you win the Pulitzer, fuck it."

Comments (4)
No. 1 · Cairn Rodrigues

I've never heard of this guy until this morning but it's a bit appalling that, being in the business of the written word and all, he can't spell. An 'educated pallet'? Really? I tried to educate my pallet once and it just layed there like a small platform begging to be loaded up. Where did I go wrong?

Posted: Apr 2, 2009 at 11:25 am · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 2 · NHCt

I used to kind of like LeDuff's writing in the Times. But then he got caught plagiarizing a story about the Los Angeles River and came off as a world-class douche bag on Colbert and now he's dead to me. Good to see he's still up to the same old games.

Posted: Apr 2, 2009 at 1:38 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 3 · dexter

leduff has quite a resume: a proven instance of actual plagurism acknowledged by the NYT, a close friendship with Jayson Blair when they were both part of the NYT affirmative action internship program, and here in detroit he's been caught in several scandals (including several notable falsehoods in a story about a dead body in a warehouse that he tried to turn into a Pulitzer series on the homeless a la Scott Templeton on the last season of The Wire).

in this instance, he poached the story of the "coon man" in question from a local blogger who featured the guy just a few weeks before leduff (the blogger's story was published in the local alternative weekly):

http://www.detroitblog.org/?p=562

He's your typical suburban detroit douchebag reporter, in this case trying to stage a comeback as a hardboiled gonzo Charles Kuralt swooping down from his safe white suburb into the dark, black city to write about all those crazy colored people and their hilariously offbeat ignorance.

Posted: Apr 3, 2009 at 10:06 am · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 4 · i love fanofgrendel i would die for fanofgrendel

they should award fanofgrendel a lifetime pulitzer price and one of those nobel prizes two cause hes the best

him and me got some stuff to discus smore moremoremoremore

my head hurts real bad on fridatys

Posted: Apr 3, 2009 at 4:36 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
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