Tuesday, August 08, 2006

    Claire Hoffman--Girls Gone Wild

    The feminist-leaning blog-world * (of which has myallegiance and readership) is humming about Claire Hoffman's 'Baby, Give Me a Kiss' story in the LA Times. If you haven't read it, do so now. Then come back. I will wait.

    I will talk about Ms. Hoffman's article, not of content (which is sterling) but
    of form and tone. First, her article moves and sounds like a feature of a
    news magazine (like the New Yorker or the like) rather than the standard news
    format. It appeared in the "Magazine" publication, but I found
    it online. This format allows her freedom in writing from a personal
    point of view. This pov is crucial and critical to her subject--as well
    as damn persuasive to her theme.

    OK, her content (I have to take it on) deals with a bio-piece on Joe Francis,
    the founder of "Girls Gone Wild" videos. In short, he is an
    ass...an ass that is at worst a rapist and a best a misogynist. This is
    not news so much as confirmation.

    Ms. Hoffman opens frames her expose with a tangible event (very well done--all
    comp writers take note): Joe twisting her arm and laying her down on the hood
    of a car a-la COPS. She will then return to this incident in the closing,
    providing more details and eye-witness accounts. She does so, with this
    frame, with a restrained tone. She is not on a screed, but rather
    presenting the initial telling in a reporterly sort of way. In the end,
    she is lawyerly laying out a case, closing with the devastating clincher (and a
    good story has a "gut-punching" clincher) of Joe asking for a kiss
    (giving the story a title--another excellent tie in, providing closure and a
    sense of symmetry).

    A kiss, asked after a physical encounter, evokes a long history of abusive
    men--which Hoffman, by only alluding to this dynamic, adds emotional weight to
    the story. In between the opening/closing frame, Hoffman details the
    public facts of the guy (started with exploitive violence, moved to exploitive
    sexuality) and his business (videos of teenagers getting naked sell really
    well) and his ethics (not actively investigated, but a case against him having
    any is well made).

    Hoffman doesn't present her case with emotional weight. Rather, she sets
    up a personal encounter and then develops a profile of the man finishing with
    specific actions alleged in court against him, including business fraud,
    abusive behavior and a set of rape allegations.

    I find her approach both compelling and convincing. Her only lapses come
    from a superficial overview of the societal impacts that his approach to female
    sexuality, including the flip-side of the exploitation--that being sexual
    liberation of young women. While I think necessary to the flow of the
    piece, it was not deeply investigated enough to be satisfying...especially
    after I finish the article, angry for a broader context in which to affix my
    reactions about what I just read. Of course, that was not her intent.

    Overall, a brilliant piece: well-paced and impacting. The fact that I
    have blogged on it (my first evaluation of a piece on this blog) points to
    writing that prompts action. Thanks Ms. Hoffman.

    * Below copied verbatim from Ancrenewiseass:
    Amanda at Pandagon, Ezra
    Klein
    , and ZuZu
    at Feministe
    . Jessica
    at Feministing
    has an idea for taking action.


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    2 Comments:

    Blogger psychgrad said...

    That's pretty amazing and disgusting.

    Tuesday, August 08, 2006  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    OMG....i cant believe what an assshole Joe Francis is. Makes me rethink that his abduction is an act of karma.

    Saturday, September 09, 2006  

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