Monday, December 14, 2009

Tiger-love: Or How America Learned to Stop Thinking and Love Celebrity Gossip

Visit nearly any current event webpage today, and you will hear the same message. That Tiger Woods is an adulterer. That Tiger Woods is a very bad man. Recently, as the women step up to be counted among his mistresses, we are even hearing stories about him having crazy weekends blowing $40K in Vegas on huge drinking binges, and having his way with 10-15 woman at any one time. (1)

Now let’s take a step back and breathe, America, because it’s gone well past the point of ridiculous. What began as a simple celebrity affair has become more like a series of opulent orgy scenes from Caligula.

So I would just like to explain a few things. Call it a last-ditch effort before he’s implicated of some completely untrue bondage fetish and people really lose their minds about Tiger.

Yes, Tiger obviously cheated on his wife, and that’s bad. If he’s divorced, maybe he should give her the millions she’s entitled to according to their pre-nuptial agreement. And maybe his impeccable character was manufactured. But let’s be honest. To most golf fans, it might have well been an arranged marriage. To us, she wanted money and to be with the best golfer in the world. He wanted a smoking hot blonde wife. I didn’t think the relationship went too far past that, and if it did, we didn’t need to know.

But in the wake of the recent news, American women are claiming some kind of curious affinity to Elin Nordegren, the victim housewife who was wronged, although they know nothing about her and her lifestyle is anything but something the common woman can relate to.

Even more curious, the public is all too eager to start casting stones at Tiger. The dreadful hypocrisy here is that the same people that crucify Tiger as a whore are viciously defending the whores he allegedly had sex with, even to the point of vocally supporting them in litigation against Tiger. Why? Do the American people really think Tiger took some kind of precious innocence from the loose women that are coming forward, who “maybe” had sex with him and are now chomping at the bit to publicize that fact and take his money?

Maybe. Or maybe these Americans want to see Tiger punished so badly that they'll claim a moral alignment with the likes of these cocktail waitresses, escorts, porn stars, or worst of all, would-be reality television divas.

And as ridiculous as that is, many Americans will never get past it. That is because most Americans have attention spans that can be measured in microseconds, and celebrity gossip-hounds are the worst. Therefore, most people won’t take the time to think anything other than the message they hear on the news: that Tiger is a real bad guy, a sex-fiend and adulterer. And I fear he will never win a spot in their good graces again.

But to the sports fans that are not yet a lost cause buried in a sea of TMZ, and whose evening schedules are not contingent on the progress of American Idol: let’s compare him to other athletes for a moment.

If he were single, would this even be an issue? No, probably not. So his marriage is the spark inciting most of the public rage. However, we know of numerous baseball and football players that are well-known for this kind of activity, and yet they are not nearly as vilified by the media. Furthermore, baseball players who allegedly took steroids have more peace of mind than Tiger, and Tiger’s crimes have nothing to do with his sport; it’s entirely personal.

So let him work out his personal life, either by repairing the marriage and moving on, or by a divorce and a fiscal pounding. And let him play some golf for God’s sake, without condemnation campaigns from the soulless media trying to get rich from his tragic fall. He is not a celebrity because he is a beacon of moderation or morality, though some people chose to paint him that way and even Tiger himself embraced that image. He is a celebrity because he is quite possibly the best golfer to ever live, and these are the years where he can take the "quite possibly" out of this sentence forever.

Golf needs Tiger Woods on the PGA Tour. And don’t worry, he’ll still have legions of fans. They’ll just be less fickle and judgmental, and will simply appreciate his contribution to the sport rather than gawk at the fact that he is super-rich and in the sacred media limelight. And that’s going to have to be enough for him.

William Sullivan
Houston, TX


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