We've learned an awful lot about Tiger Woods in the past six days, perhaps much more than we ever really wanted to know.
We've learned, for instance, that the image Tiger has so carefully presented to us on his website, that of the ultimate family man with those beautiful photos of his wife and two children, is a charade. We know this because he has now admitted that he has cheated on his wife and those young children.
We also know that Tiger is furious that the world now knows what he had hoped to keep secret. We can tell that from the carefully crafted statement he put on his website Wednesday morning.
No. We don't fucking know that. Not from his "carefully crafted statement" we don't. We know from that statement that Tiger's upset that his privacy has been violated w/r/t to he and his wife's domestic disturbance--one that at the end of the day really isn't any of our business. He has said nothing about that he is upset that his infidelity has been leaked to the public.
You can infer that if you want, but we certainly don't "know" it. Jesus fuck.
In it, Woods starts off with a paragraph talking about his "personal failings," saying he let his family down and that he regrets "those transgressions with all of my heart."
Coming from one of the world's most intensely private public men, a guy who almost never lets anyone know what he's truly feeling, those words are quite remarkable — and totally necessary, of course, considering he's trapped in the midst of a scandal of his own making.
Then, however, Tiger spends the next two paragraphs basically attacking everyone and anyone who he somehow thinks is responsible for his do-it-yourself fall from grace — everyone except the one truly guilty party, which would be Tiger himself. He lambastes the tabloids and news media for having the audacity to invade his privacy, as if to say, How dare you do this to me?
No. That is not what happened in Woods's statement. This article is accusing him of attacking "everyone and anyone who he somehow thinks is responsible for his fall from grace" and "blaming them for his misfortune." Here is who Tiger Woods attacks: The paparazzi and celebrity journalism circles. Here is what he attacks them for: Invading his home life with relentless "scoop please!" conjecture involving a private incident between him and his wife.
Christine Brennan wants to take Tiger to task for refusing to accept responsibility for his actions. Read his "apology". That's not what he's doing at all. You can take issue for him using the platform of his apology to shift focus away from his indiscretion. You can take issue with his refusal to pay the price of the vast wealth and prestige his fame allows by complaining about the celebrity scrutiny that accompanies it. But if you read that apology you will see the one thing he does not do is blame anyone but himself for his indiscretions.
He doesn't "attack everyone and anyone he thinks is to blame for his problems." He attacks a very specific aspect of celebrity culture. One most anyone with any sense of reason would recognize as at least partially problematic. Even if you are unable to resist trying to pry into the details of celebrities' personal life by reading things like TMZ and Perez Hilton or whatever the fuck, if you're a halfway worthwhile human being you recognize that there is something partially flawed about being obsessed with the private details of the life of the famous.
The question of whether Tiger is within his rights to complain about this set-in-its-way aspect of our culture is a worthwhile one. There are strong arguments to be made on either side. But that's not a question Christine Brennan wants to make. She's more interested in this sort of wastewater:
When you've been exhibited on national TV at the age of 2 and told by your beloved father that you're going to be the next Gandhi or Mandela, as the late Earl Woods said of his son, this is the way you think. If you're on top of your game, that can work wonders, creating an air of invincibility that can lead to 14 major golf titles before you turn 34.
What is the way you think? That just because you're famous, an early morning accident shouldn't explode in a frenzy of conjecture, rumors, hearsay, and scandal? And this is somehow because of how his father raised him?
What an odd axe this writer has to grind.
But today, with Tiger at the nadir of his life, it makes him sound like a man who is more sorry about being caught than he is about cheating on his wife.
Gee, you think? This is different from every celebrity scandal how?
Let's hope that isn't true, but make no mistake, the word choices that were made in that statement provide a revealing window into the way this man thinks.
Sure they will, so long as you distort their meaning and invest your own significance into a mildly innocuous invective against a parasitic tabloid industry. But go ahead, Brennan. Show us what words exactly are so revealing. I'm excited to see how you show us the actual words in his statement in order to show us what's so disturbing about the way Tiger thinks*
*spoiler alert: She's not going to do this
My, what we've come to find out about Tiger Woods since we sat down to Thanksgiving dinner just a week ago.
We've learned that his brilliance on the golf course is exceeded only by his recklessness off it. Reasonable people might have wanted to avoid the tabloid and Internet speculation about Woods the past few days, but there was no ignoring the tape of his damning voice-mail message when it played on the news Wednesday morning. That was Tiger's voice, all right, and he was busted.
"Tiger's brilliance on the golf course is exceeded only by his recklessness off it."
Are you fucking motherfucking kidding me? I'm not going to even dignify this with a response. A guy has one infidelity scandal and all of a sudden he's playing bongos in strangers' houses with Matthew MacConaughey
I'm sorry, I can't do this anymore. This article disgusts me. I'm tired and I'm fucking fed up with this situation and the fucking people soapboxing as if infidelity--a terrible thing to be sure--is the most horrible thing in the world.
This Tiger Woods incident is a great episode because it shows us many important things about ourselves, our culture, and our heroes. It is an opportunity for great debate and discourse over the fallibility of those who seem most infallible. About what we as a public can, should, and will expect for our celebrities. About the potential perils, tenuous ethics, and value of celebrity journalism, tabloids and paparazzi.
I am no Tiger Woods apologist and I don't think he's necessarily entitled to any semblance of privacy. Really I don't. And I think his statement shows a certain measure of misdirected frustration since a man in his position should damn well know better than to expect any semblance of privacy or freedom from an intrusive press.
I think there's a plethora of things of value to say about this situation. That it's a complex, layered issue that resists easy classification and seems to demand intelligent discourse and thought.
Instead we get this:
We've learned that Tiger and his management team, the sports world's ultimate control freaks the past dozen years, have turned into stumbling, bumbling amateurs when trying to stare down the scary tabloids. That said, Tiger's endorsements are not believed to be in any jeopardy at the moment; he is likely to keep most if not all of his sponsors, Madison Avenue never having been known for having much of a moral compass.
What's more, everyone loves a tale of redemption, which is exactly how 2010 will be branded by Team Tiger. His return to the golf course, whenever that will be, will create huge TV ratings. If some are turned off by Tiger's philandering, others will be drawn to him because of it.
We might never look at Tiger in the same way again, but we'll certainly still look at him.
We've also learned that for all of the hype about Tiger's love of the personally demanding game of golf, a sport in which the athletes call penalties on themselves, and for all of his praise of those in positions of authority — his Washington, D.C., tournament honors the military — he certainly didn't have much use for the Florida Highway Patrol, did he? Three times he snubbed them when they just wanted to do their job and talk to him about his bizarre car accident. As a role model, Tiger completely failed the kids who look up to him on this one.
We've learned much about Tiger in the past week, little of it good. We've learned he wants all of your attention when he's playing golf, or trying to sell you something, but then gets angry when you want to know any more about him. We've learned that in many ways, he's just another outrageously rich, self-centered jock.
The past six days definitely have been illuminating for millions of Tiger's fans.
Let's hope they've been eye-opening for him, too.