Monday, February 2, 2009

Simple writing, complex subject

A body frozen in a block of ice. (Max Ortiz / The Detroit News)

I might be partial to this story because I have family ties to Detroit, so I'd like to know what you think of it.

I'm a fan of The Detroit News reporter Charlie LeDuff, who left a gig at the NYT. He explained it this way: "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."

Anyway, back to the story, which is about a human being who was discovered frozen in a block of ice. Usually, I hate when a reporter includes himself in a story. LeDuff pulls it off.

It's a short story, but it sums up what is going on in that city right now on so many levels.

I can't quit thinking about the guy in the ice. Someone mentioned to me that they'd like to see a follow-up on who the dead guy is. I don't think we should know. That's part of why this story is so powerful. I think the point is to make you wonder -- and then feel guilty and sad -- that this guy was left that way.

But if you want to know, there was a follow-up story. And it, too, broke my heart.