Charlie LeDuff, the New York Times color writer beloved of Howell Raines, has resurfaced. LeDuff has been a stay-at-home dad in Hollywood since his patron, a fellow Southerner, was deposed. Though there are rumors of something much more scandalous, the formerly rising star gave this as the reason for quitting the Times: "I can't write the things I want to say. I want to talk about race, I want to talk about class. I want to talk about the things we should be talking about." In which case, he should be very happy in his new job at the Detroit News, hometown paper of the most racially segregated urban area in America.
Can't get enough of as-of-yesterday retired Times-man Charlie LeDuff? There's a nice little interview over on "Journal-isms ." Seems that Chuck's a little put out that they gave Dan Barry the Crappy Overwriting Across the Country column that by rights should have been his. Also, "I can't write the things I want to say. I want to talk about race, I want to talk about class. I want to talk about the things we should be talking about." See, Charlie knows a little about race, being "one-eighth Native American." And how! "The late 'Gerald Boyd said I was the most diverse person he knows,' LeDuff said. 'And that dude was black.'" Okay, we added that last line. But you know that's what he meant.
What with Dan Barry filling the role of terrible overwriter who covers crazy crap from around the country, and Alan Feuer surely soon due back from a very long vacation, Charlie LeDuff's services have seemed more than a bit unnecessary at the Times. Charlie seems to have recognized that himself, because he has—yes, yes, it's true!—left the paper! Romenesko has the memo, which goes for the "book tour" excuse, but either way, it is time for all of us to party down! Like, Andrew WK party. 'Til you puke. Awww, puke: now we're all nostalgic for Charlie's prose. Hey, maybe the Observer should hire him to write the TV column or something!
Haven't yet caught Timesman Charlie LeDuff's new Discovery Times Channel documentary series, Only in America? (Can't imagine why, when it premiered at 10 p.m. on the Friday night leading into Labor Day weekend.) Each week he delves into a certain only-in-America subculture, taking part in its rituals while reporting on it. And this week, when LeDuff participates in the gay rodeo circuit, is perhaps the perfect time to be introduced to the series.