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?
On the coon mens' homes
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.
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
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…
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
His clientele ranges from bristle-faced outdoorsmen to transplanted Southerners who consider the meat something of a delicacy.
…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
"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…"
"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."