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Let’s accept Tiger’s apology in hopes we never have to see him again.

February 22, 2010

Tiger -- don't go away mad, bad or sad. Just go away.

Only three days have passed since Tiger Woods delivered his extraordinarily dull and cynical “apology,” and already I’m sick of the whole story. So let’s give him what he says he wants: the freedom to repair his marriage in privacy. Let’s ignore everything about Tiger Woods, good or bad, for the next, oh, let’s see: Thousand years? Yeah, that’s about right.

I would have ignored the Tiger fiasco altogether, the way I do most celebrity “news,” if not for the announcement of two books promising one version or another of the “inside story.” Steve Helling, who works for People magazine, swears that Tiger Woods will place the sex scandal “in the larger context of his life,” according to Galley Cat. Helling’s book is scheduled for May publication by Da Capo Press.

In June we’re to be treated with a competing scandal book, Unplayable: An Inside Account of Tiger’s Most Tumultuous Season, by Robert Lusetich, a golf writer for Fox Sports.

With apologies to Helling and Lusetich, who may merely be good journalists trying to make a living, I hereby issue a call to boycott these and any other books, magazine articles, TV shows or news reports, blogs, or anything other communication, digital or analogue, containing the words “Tiger Woods.”

Uh…That is, after you finish reading this one.

While Tiger may be entirely sincere in his expression of remorse and acceptance of guilt and desire to repair his family, the press conference was a brilliant exercise in insincerity. He hit all the marks of celebrity crisis management, like putts at Pebble Beach:

Tiger took responsibility. He said he was sorry. He talked about “treatment” for his problem (no, not a bloated, cancerous ego, but “sex addiction”), he apologized to his wife, his employees, his fans. He mentioned religion (a brief spark of interest, as Woods referred to Buddhism, not the standard go-to-guy, Jesus).

As Rebecca Dana observed at the Daily Beast, Woods ended “sounding more like a fallen god than a humbled man” when he asked his public “to find room in your heart to one day believe in me again.”

Therein lies the problem. By elevating celebrities to god-like status, we rob them and ourselves of our mutual humanity. If he wants to save himself and his family, Tiger needs to withdraw from the public eye. Permanently. Try to regain something like human proportions for his thoughts, feelings and self image.

Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! No, course that’s not going to happen. Tiger, as shown by his exquisitely timed and executed performance on Friday, is interest in rehabing his image, which, oh by the way, includes repairing his marriage. He wants to regain our love and worship (and the multiple income streams that go with these).

One last observation: I am more than a little shocked at the misogyny of the vituperation towards Tiger’s mistresses. “The women he chose, I’m sorry, they were hooker types,” said British actress and celebrity divorce survivor Tricia Walsh. “Bloody waitresses and things.”

Uh, that’s “sex worker” to you, sister. Walsh’s remark is breathtaking in the thoroughness of its retrograde political subtext. 1. Tiger, the man, should be given another chance; the women he slept with can be dismissed as “hooker types,” not worthy of our compassion. 2. Walsh casually equates “hooker” with “waitress” and “things.” What it is this, 1950? 1750?

It was barely more than a century ago that all actresses were assumed to be prostitutes. I suggest you walk a mile in a girl’s pumps before calling her a hooker. And need I say: Hookers are people, too?

30 Comments leave one →
  1. Candice permalink
    February 22, 2010 2:15 pm

    Come on, now. Do not judge lest ye be judged. I watched Tiger’s apology and thought it sincere. He has always sort of hidden from the media until now, when he can’t. I believe his sex addiction is probably real and he is trying to get the help he needs.

    Of course there are those who will cash in with the books when there is money to be made.

    I used to work for Da Capo Press, by the way.

    As for Tricia Walsh–whoever the heck she is–those comments are just ludicrous and not to be taken seriously.

    • Chauncey Mabe permalink*
      February 22, 2010 3:48 pm

      A commentator on CNN kept disparaging Tiger’s “girlfriends” as gold diggers coming forward now only to cash in — as though that were a bad thing, or in any way different from Tiger trying to rehab his image.

      Why shouldn’t the girlfriends come forward? It’s not only his story, it’s theirs, too. And if he should be allowed to take control of his story (and make money by repairing his image and returning to golf), why should they not take control of their stories and make money (by writing books or suing Tiger)?

      As for Tiger’s sincerity, I am not suggesting he is anything but sincere. What I’m trying to say is that contemporary celebrity culture, with its consultants, makes the question of sincerity irrelevant. All that matters is that he touches all the bases.

  2. Tommy permalink
    February 22, 2010 2:20 pm

    I have a friend who says Tiger is not a tiger, he is a lion cheetah. She’s a funny cat.

    I never paid much mind to Tiger, so I have no problem joining in on your boycott. I have canceled my up-coming trip to the zoo.

    If he really is suffering from an addiction and is trying to rehabilitate and recover from it, I applaud him. I also realize he’s a new-comer and they are quite frequently full of it.

    • Chauncey Mabe permalink*
      February 22, 2010 3:51 pm

      Har-har. Perhaps Tiger does suffer from an addiction, it’s not my place to say, one way or another. But how very convenient, don’t you think, to be considered a poor little rich boy with a psycho-emotional compulsion, rather than a spoiled horn-dog athlete who thought he could get away with anything? And yes, I am aware Tiger touched on this problem during his remarks, which shows, if nothing else, how smart his consultants are. Maybe it shows sincerity, too.

      • Tommy permalink
        February 22, 2010 4:15 pm

        I am sure Tiger’s anguish for getting caught is sincere.
        I am sure Tiger’s anguish for hurting his family is sincere.
        What happened to the days when stuff like this was no one’s business, when men and women who had infidelity touch their homes they went to their priest or village elder and not the media. It is a sad comment on todays’ society.

  3. February 22, 2010 2:47 pm

    I have the real story. I do not understand. As our children die we watch this? I could not imagine anything less important.

    • Chauncey Mabe permalink*
      February 22, 2010 3:52 pm

      For once, Mike, you and I are in complete agreement.

  4. rachel permalink
    February 22, 2010 3:28 pm

    I don’t care. I don’t care. I don’t care. I try to ignore it, but it’s impossible. Everywhere you go people are talking about it. Work, the store, friends, my freaking grandmother. I’m sick of him. I agree, Chauncey Mabe, it would be great if I never had to see or hear of him ever again.

    “Sex addiction.” Hahahahahahahahhahahahahahahha. Men already use nature as an excuse for their poor sexual behavior, but if he has a sex addiction he cannot be blamed, not really, for the wrong he has done. Poor Tiger.

  5. Chauncey Mabe permalink*
    February 22, 2010 3:56 pm

    Wow, let me say that Rachel wrote this comment before I made almost identical remarks in response to Tommy, above. So don’t be thinking she’s copying me. Nothing could be further from the truth. But it is remarkable how closely we think on these matters, no, Rachel? Obviously, I agree 100 percent.

    Has no one anything to say about how deeply misogyny runs through this whole ugly mess, and how quickly sexism rears its ugly head — often in remarks made by women?!?

    You’ve come a long way, baby, but boy do you have a long way yet to go.

    • Candice permalink
      February 22, 2010 4:08 pm

      As Pogo said, “we have met the enemy and he is us.”

      • Tommy permalink
        February 22, 2010 6:00 pm

        Earlier I commented that you would be more considerate of your family and I still hold with that. So did Tiger consider the storm his family would have to weather due to his behavior? If he did and decided to act any way does that make it more egregious than if he hadn’t? This Tiger story has given me much food for thought. How do I believe I would react in such a situation? Why is so much misogyny, misandry and sexism brought to the surface when discussing this case? What would be the fallout if Tiger was a woman? Is cynicism the best attitude to foster? Is addiction used just as an excuse by some to absolve themselves of guilt? And if disruptive, illegal and destructive behavior and the hurt caused to others and the addicted is a result of an addiction, does that really allow someone to be blameless?

  6. Tommy permalink
    February 22, 2010 4:00 pm

    Tiger Woods does not need my forgiveness. He needs to apologize to his family and seek forgiveness from them only. His public treatment of this situation shows me he is much more concerned with how we and don’t forget Nike feels about his indiscretions. I do not see much evidence of sexual addiction just an average horn-dog ignored by women until fame and fortune called and unable to resist temptation. He should be held accountable for his deeds, not by us but by himself, his wife and the saddest part of this deal his kids. Thankfully they are still very young.

    • Chauncey Mabe permalink*
      February 22, 2010 4:11 pm

      There are many varieties of addiction. I’m skeptical, like you and Rachel, of the “sexual addiction” excuse for Tiger’s behavior, though I will not rule it out altogether. But I imagine he’s probably also severely addicted to public adulation and worship. I mean, no sports figure since Michael Jordan has been as warmly and widely received as Tiger Woods. I can only imagine the worm of public embarrassment and humiliation that turns in his heart now. In fact, his remark about wanting to regain our faith is one thing about the press conference I find entirely sincere.

      And don’t you think that the sick nature of our contemporary celebrity culture, along with the inevitably warping effect of riches beyond measure, will make it almost impossible for Tigers kids t grow up to be anything close to normal?

      Oh, and don’t think I’m setting myself in judgment of Tiger. I am 100 percent certain that if I had enjoyed his talent, fame and wealth, I would not have had the character to behave better than he did. So for once, I’m grateful to be impecunious, obscure and without notable talent. Having to work for a modest living is the only reason I have any character at all.

      I think this would be true of 99.99 percent of all male human beings on the planet (and about 98.98 percent of the females, too, by the way)

  7. Tommy permalink
    February 22, 2010 4:40 pm

    There was a story recently in the news about a over-the-road trucker who because he was watching pornographic films while driving his semi collided with a car killing an entire family. That is a case of sexual addiction. If Tiger had been caught humping his caddy while on the 9th hole I might lean towards accepting addiction as reasoning for his behavior.

    I am sure he is addicted to the lime-light.

    His kids have very little hope of being normal, but what is normal?

    Knowing what I know of you Chauncey, I think you would have been more considerate of your family.

    Impecunious? Perhaps.
    Obscure? Maybe.
    Without notable talent? Just absurd.

    • Chauncey Mabe permalink*
      February 22, 2010 5:14 pm

      You’re too kind, Tommy. But please, please allow me my modesty, however false.

      • Tommy permalink
        February 22, 2010 5:29 pm

        Fine, if that’s what you really want. Just remember; modesty, like golf, is highly over-rated.

  8. Candice permalink
    February 22, 2010 4:46 pm

    Our society loves celebrity scandal. But our attention spans are short. It will all blow over when something else lewd and sexual and exciting happens and we will all forget about Tiger. And his kids.

    • Chauncey Mabe permalink*
      February 22, 2010 5:20 pm

      Normally I’d agree with you on this point, Candice, but Tiger is the single biggest star in the sports firmament, and has been for some time. His ubiquitous presence as a pitchman for any number of products, and his reputation as an upstanding, role model-worthy citizen — all these factors make it unlikely this scandal will run its normal course. Plus, aside from Barack Obama, no black man is – or was — more widely accepted by white American than Tiger Woods. Besides, the 24-hour cable news cycle and the robust tabloid press keep these things going, too. I still see, in the grocery line, headlines screaming Brad! Jen! –and haven’t they been split up for five or six years now?

      Despite the irony and sarcasm of my blog post, I expect Tiger will weather all this controversy, and get back most if not all that he’s lost. As long as he keeps his pants zipped and keeps saying the right things.

  9. February 22, 2010 10:01 pm

    Two major wars, unemployment sucking the life out of our citizens, GW Bush strolling away from a nearly totally wrecked country that is a product of his policies – and he and his VP get away with destroying lives – literally. How many dead now? Over 5,000. And the media want to talk about that spoiled brat Tiger who can’t keep his pecker in his pants? What is wrong with this picture? Good grief, the powers that be are destroying this country as fast as they can and nothing can stop them – I’m talking about bankers, politicians and corporations. The major media continue to spew pabulum. Do they ever really investigate anything in depth other than celebrities? Yeah, bitter is the word. Discouraged.

    • Chauncey Mabe permalink*
      February 22, 2010 11:16 pm

      Welllll….Now that Duff’s brought it up, I am completely puzzled why the populace has not marched on Wall Street with pitchforks and torches to hang bankers from the lamp posts. But of course, as Duff implies, the answer is that the powers that be have figured out they can distract us by shiny new toys, diverting and silly stories about celebrities, real and manufactured.

  10. John Karwacki permalink
    February 22, 2010 11:22 pm

    “On what wings dare he aspire?
    what the hand dare sieze the fire?”

    Tygre Tygre

    not his brightest moment… I, like some here have mentioned, am way over this.

    • Chauncey Mabe permalink*
      February 23, 2010 1:39 am

      If you’re like me, and I think you are, you were over it before it started. I admire your grasp of Blake, however. I tried to think of ways to pun the poem, but I could not, even with the application of liberal amounts of liquid caffeine, sufficiently dispel the cobwebs from my mind this morning, and so had to express myself in blunter terms….

  11. Candice permalink
    February 23, 2010 12:34 pm

    But, Chauncey Mabe, you perpetuate talk of this rubish right here in your blog. Now that I find ironic.

    • Chauncey Mabe permalink*
      March 6, 2010 1:22 pm

      No, no, no. This blog is all about me. I’m writing about my distaste for the whole Tiger fiasco. Tiger’s just an excuse for me to express my opinion. Come on, you know me.

  12. February 23, 2010 12:57 pm

    Maybe not perpetuate so much as offering a forum for catharsis.

    • Chauncey Mabe permalink*
      March 6, 2010 1:22 pm

      Thanks, Duff, but no, again, just a forum for my opinion-mongering.

  13. Tommy permalink
    February 23, 2010 1:14 pm

    This story is like an STD, you cannot just ignore it and hope it goes away. Certainly there are more important topics, especially involving domestic issues that we need to discuss. This story however gives (when scrutinized closely enough) a rough sketch of just what is wrong with American society.

    • Chauncey Mabe permalink*
      March 6, 2010 1:30 pm

      Sure you can. I’ve found you can ignore anything, if you’re ruthless enough. I’ve ignored the Olympics in their entirety. I’ve ignored most of the health care debate (while I have personal interest at stake, I have no confidence the Democrats will grow enough spine, the Republicans enough conscience, to produce worthwhile legislation). I’ve ignored the Chile earthquake (My earthquake compassion for the year was all used up in Haiti). I’ve ignored — let’s see, wasn’t there some Congressman caught with his pants down? I’ve ignored 80 percent of the news about the surge in Afghanistan, although I do understand it’s going well. Hurray for our side.

      Many years ago at the Miami Book Fair I saw Anne Rice, then at the height of her Vampire fame and long before she became a born-again Catholic, and she said something that’s stayed with me all these years. We are all ruthless, she said. You may not feel ruthless, but just by sitting here in this audience, listening to me, you demonstrate your selfishness. So do I. If we cared for human suffering, if we cared about starving babies or war-damaged children, we’d be somewhere else, doing everything we could to ease their suffering.

      Of course, Jesus said, The poor you have with you always.

  14. Somebody Else permalink
    March 2, 2010 9:03 pm

    How can you not feel sorry for him?

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