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The Man, Amen

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Moderator1, Feb 18, 2010.

  1. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    We're at the point in the semester where my class is reading Charles Pierce's story on Tiger Woods from GQ in 1997 and we talk about it next week.

    I'd love to be able to share some "professional" opinions with them. What was your reaction when you read it? What kind of impact do you think it had on the business?

    A link for those who may not have read it:

  2. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    I don't know how to put it into words as well as Double Down or several others probably will, but I'll say there was something in this piece, beyond the graphic jokes and the obvious fact Tiger was a complete dork, that made Charlie Pierce my journalistic idol.

    He remains so today, despite the fact I disagree with him on just about every opinion he has. But the man can fucking write.

    It's in the flow of it, the words that would have seemed overwritten in most places but somehow weren't here, something. But it grabbed me. I re-read it every little bit, at least once a year.
  3. Piotr Rasputin

    Piotr Rasputin New Member

    An incredible, seminal piece of writing and journalism.

    And it's a great idea to use it in a class. In a classroom setting, I think there's a worthwhile discussion to be had regarding the merits of printing Tiger's off-color jokes verbatim. When that is a good idea and when it's just a need for a writer to get some cuss words in there to be "edgy" (take a bow, Rolling Stone), what type of publication you're writing for, and what constitutes on-the-record conversation while spending time with a source to gather information for a profile.

    Especially in light of what ended up happening as far as Tiger's relationship with the media (does Tiger eventually clam up anyway because he's a personality-free automaton? I say yes), and what John Rocker did to himself a few years later.
  4. fishhack2009

    fishhack2009 Active Member

    Here's an eerily prophetic quote:

    [/b]"Well, what did you think of the shoot?" Tiger asks, yawning, because being ferried by a limousine and being handled by beautiful women and being photographed for a magazine cover that will get him laid 296 times in the next year, if he so chooses, can be very exhausting work.[/b]

    I'm just reading this piece for the first time, so I'm reading it through the prism of what we've learned in the past few months. Had I read it at the time, I would have been shocked, because the language and the jokes seemed so at odds with the carefully crafted image Tiger had even at that early stage of his career.

    Piotr's suggestion is great. Here's another potential area for discussion:

    Does the fact that a subject apparently feels this free to "let his hair down" with you mean that you might be too close to the subject to do an objective piece?
  5. JackReacher

    JackReacher Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the link, Moddy. Read it for the first time last night. This quote stuck out the most to me....

    "I'll be satisfied if he's just a great person," Earl says. "I don't give a shit about the golf."

  6. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    "Hey Darla..."

    It's a brilliant piece of journalism by Pierce. It's also the main reason why Woods started shutting himself off from the media. That's not Pierce's fault.
  7. Shaggy

    Shaggy Guest

    I can't believe how prophetic it was. Pierce had him completely figured out when he was 21 years old. To me, the dirty jokes didn't add a ton to the story, it was all the other details that made it great.

    It takes balls to sit down and write a story that you know will piss off every single source you talked to. But that gave the world a glimpse of Tiger Woods that was dead on.
  8. Harry Doyle

    Harry Doyle Member

    That story just makes me smile. Every time. Agree with IJAG, that it manages to avoid feeling overwritten, despite being, perhaps, the most overwritten piece of writing I've ever read. Impeccably reported, it's a story told. There is nothing for the reader to interpret, no allusion to Woods' braggadocio. Totally unfiltered. Here's the man, get the fuck out of his way.

    The blasphemy stuff might turn some people off, but it just makes so much sense.

    My favorite line:

    Unlike John Daly, who approaches a golf ball with a club in much the way Mel Gibson approached English infantrymen with a broadsword, Tiger has a swing that is both controlled and clean. "I never go past parallel," he says. "I think people look at me and say, 'That's the way I want to hit the ball.' "

    What we never could have known in 1997, is that this may be the most genuine, truest account of Tiger Woods we ever get.

    And the dirty jokes do add to the tale, in my opinion. Would you have ever thought of Tiger Woods as that kind of guy before this story? Nope. Again, unfiltered.
  9. henryhenry

    henryhenry Member

    aside from the take on tiger, the piece reflects pierce's obsession with himself.

    first person singular - the signature element of a pierce piece.
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