Can we ask subjects about their beauty marks, moles and scars—or does it cross a line? Also, five questions with R.J. Ochoa and Jim Murray meets Flavor Flav.
I think you hit a good topic right on the mark, as you'd say. I've done countless profiles in the last 50 years, from athletes to killers to broadcasters to barkeeps. If there is something prominent and I think it would enhance the word picture about the subject, and I don't find it off-putting or insulting, I try to work it in. If a woman owns a bar and one of the first things she mentions is her love of tattoos and she lifts up her leg to show it off, I'll use that. I will ask about a scar, but often won't us it. When I'm with a subject, I write down everything ... photos on wall, fake flowers on the coffee table, smell of last-night's fried chicken ... and use some if it's not insulting. Sometimes, a simple description of the action tells the story. For example, long ago (decades), I wrote about Olympic heavyweight wrestling champ Chris Taylor. He had gone to Iowa State at the same time as I did. In my profile of him later, I slipped in a mention, without further description, of the fact this 450-pound man rode around campus on a nearly invisible Honda 75cc motorbike.
ChatGPT seems to have confused journalism’s Murray with television’s Michael Strahan.
Looks like you did ask Dye about his facial mark: "... Dye was hunting in the woods outside Kansas City when he tripped and fell into a bush of thorns, opening a gash on his right cheek. Two thick scars remain."