I picked up Charlie LeDuff’s book at the library this week, US Guys, a book about American Dudeness and I’m impressed. I saw this guy on Colbert and thought he was a chode. The three books I’d gone to the library to get were already out and this was about all that was left.
LeDuff is a mix between Lou Dobbs and Hunter S. Thompson. He rails against the hopelessness of the middle-lower class unable to find work because there are no more living wage jobs for a man willing to put his uneducated, beer-soaked shoulder to the wheel. Which is kind of a buzzkill (seriously Lou). But LeDuff is narrating from atop a bull, while wearing a spaghetti strap dress at a gay rodeo — he’s got my attention.
There are a lot of choice quotes, but the one that sticks with me most is from the intro, where LeDuff is jabbing at some of his NY Times cohorts:
American ambition has gone flat… I doubt it. Consider that while our factories have moved to Mexico, the Mexicans still come north where wages are twenty times higher. If I could go to Canada and make $200 an hour, I’d shovel horseshit with my bare hands. Most of us would. Somewhere in there lies the root of ambition.
Somewhere? That’s my problem with this book. LeDuff has some great insights, but refuses to pull them into a cohesive thread (As far as I’ve read — 3 chapters). His stance is that nothing and everything is wrong with the American man. He’s not out to solve it. Which may make this an entertaining, but forgettable read.
For more on LeDuff, check out this NPR interview.