Monday, March 16, 2009

"Keeping it Real" Writing from Esquire

Some interesting writing in the issue of Esquire Magazine... much of it around the general theme of identity / being true to yourself and yep, keeping it real.

The cover story by Tom Chiarella is about celebrity guy Ben Affleck... who also happens to be: a parent of two (yes, with a celebrity girl), an accomplished writer (if you recall "Good Will Hunting"), a pretty good actor (reference back to his monologues in "Boiler Room" and the aforementioned "Good Will Hunting") and an up and coming director (with "Gone Baby Gone" to his credit).

All of this being said, the Chiarella piece manages to convey how Affleck is often stuck in this "celebrity guy" role despite all accomplishments above and beyond that. It's an interesting read showing what someone in this position faces. If someone doesn't have time to read the piece itself, the story title of "Ben Affleck: A Smart, Talented Man Trapped in Lindsay Lohan's Life" conveys the point pretty well.

Additionally, this issue of Esquire contains a piece by my writing man-crush object of admiration, Chris Jones. The story titled "Jonathan Papelbon Grinds His Teeth" is a profile of the Red Sox closer that reveals the focus and downright anger that Papelbon channels to help him pitch so successfully.

Finally, there's another piece by Chris Jones that's much shorter and (using the results of google searches as a yardstick) gathering more attention than the one he did on Papelbon. Titled "My Vacation from Hate" it's about the return to competitive golf of Tiger Woods and how Jones enjoyed golf more without Woods around. This piece from the Detroit Free Press website quotes Jones' story at length, but doesn't quote Jones' sentence about how depressing it was writing this 2003 Esquire story on Woods. The statement made in this most recent piece is "there's no joy for me in anything Tiger Woods does"... likely referring to how Woods closes off his personal life from view (and the 2003 story was written even before marraige and kids for Tiger).

So... all this being said, you've got three different stories from this issue all tied together by the theme of keeping it real / dealing with the spotlight / being true to yourself / etc etc. In the case of Jonathan Papelbon, there's someone who basically sticks their chin out at the world and is brutally honest. With Tiger Woods, you've got someone who shields the world entirely and then with Ben Affleck you've got some sort of middle ground with a guy working hard to maintain a private life while at the same time live a human experience. Interesting stuff.