Never underestimate the power of a half-naked girl to draw attention to something good — or, in this case, something GOOD. According to Technorati, the most linked-to video in the blogosphere today is this clip, in which slow camera pans reveal factoids on the omnipresence of internet porn, each one written on the body of online porn star Kelle Marie.
The video was produced by GOOD Magazine, the flagship of a media empire built by Ben Goldhirsch (the son of publishing mogul Berni Goldhirsch) around “the sensibility of giving a damn.” Part of GOOD‘s mission is to post original videos several times a week on YouTube, each one dedicated to one small act of cultural intervention or gesture towards “transparency”.
With its twinkly score and, um, subject-matter-specific mise en scene, Internet Porn is an excellent example of GOOD‘s somewhat cheeky approach to media activism. There’s nothing that turns me off faster than didacticism, so I definitely appreciate GOOD‘s reluctance to preach.
It’s propaganda for sure, but each of the five or six videos that I watched were, first and foremost, highly watchable pieces of entertainment. Subversive but not in-your-face, persuasive but not obnoxious, each clip plays kind of like a Sesame Street segment engineered specfically for the media-fried adult brain (obviously, Big Bird doesn’t hang with a lot of internet sex workers). They can be a little twee, especially when digested back-to-back, but I’ll take slightly-too-precious over overly-self-serious any day.
The GOOD videos are, thus far, mind-bogglingly well-done when you consider range of topics they cover and the rate at which new clips are added to the library. Over the course of the past month, the GOOD factory has spit out a partially animated examination of “the disparity between the myth and the reality of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s birth.”; a fully animated look at the secret life of our tax dollars, a video profile of new media artist/engineer/GOOD Mag covergirl Natalie Jeremijenko’s Floating Clinic–and seven other clips.
How do they do it? When profiled by the Wall Street Journal last year, Goldhirsch talked of feeling a responsibility to work hard to make the most of his inheritance. “We’re in a quite rare and luxurious position. We’re young kids with the capital to put behind our passions,” he said. “There is such great potential given by the resources my father left, it would be a shame not to hustle toward that possibility.” So far, the hustle seems to be working.