Commentary Magazine


Topic: Tiger Woods

Hold That Tiger!

News flash: A married athlete has girlfriends on the side.

News flash: A celebrity married athlete has girlfriends on the side.

News flash: An enormously wealthy married athlete renowned for cherishing his “privacy” has girlfriends on the side.

News flash: None of this is news.

The United States is an inscrutable place in many ways. We live in a country in which it is likely a sixth state out of the 50 is going to legalize gay marriage in the next few weeks. On television, practically every night, one show or other features a scene of two women kissing. We do not judge illegitimacy any longer. And so on. We lived through a scandal a decade ago in which we learned the president of the United States had basically seduced a 21 year-old employee in his service—and tens of millions of people hotly defended his and her right to privacy and condemned the notion that there was any public interest served in the exploration of the subject of his misconduct.

Yet now, as 2009 draws to a close, someone who is famous and rich because he is a brilliant player of a game—someone, moreover, who is unique among American celebrities in his manifest refusal to do anything to court or interest or woo the audience that is so fascinated by him—drives his car into a tree, and for nearly two weeks, we are overrun with the details of his personal indiscretions. It is fascinating. If ever there were a subject that is truly and completely and without question nobody’s business, it is this one. He did not violate a public trust, he broke no law, evidently, in his traffic accident, and no legal action has been taken in the case. These would all ordinarily be the triggers for a news story and its continuation. But it is open season on Tiger Woods. Let anyone say there might be a legitimate debate to be conducted on the redefinition of marriage, which is a public-policy issue involving pretty much everybody, and that is considered beyond the bounds of reasonable discourse by a great many people slobbering over the discovery of the latest IHOP waitress to have caught Woods’s fancy.

I hold no brief for Tiger Woods’s behavior, but it strikes me as among the least surprising revelations in the course of human history. It is America’s prurience on this matter in the midst of its own cultural confusion on matters sexual and marital that surprises and confounds.

News flash: A married athlete has girlfriends on the side.

News flash: A celebrity married athlete has girlfriends on the side.

News flash: An enormously wealthy married athlete renowned for cherishing his “privacy” has girlfriends on the side.

News flash: None of this is news.

The United States is an inscrutable place in many ways. We live in a country in which it is likely a sixth state out of the 50 is going to legalize gay marriage in the next few weeks. On television, practically every night, one show or other features a scene of two women kissing. We do not judge illegitimacy any longer. And so on. We lived through a scandal a decade ago in which we learned the president of the United States had basically seduced a 21 year-old employee in his service—and tens of millions of people hotly defended his and her right to privacy and condemned the notion that there was any public interest served in the exploration of the subject of his misconduct.

Yet now, as 2009 draws to a close, someone who is famous and rich because he is a brilliant player of a game—someone, moreover, who is unique among American celebrities in his manifest refusal to do anything to court or interest or woo the audience that is so fascinated by him—drives his car into a tree, and for nearly two weeks, we are overrun with the details of his personal indiscretions. It is fascinating. If ever there were a subject that is truly and completely and without question nobody’s business, it is this one. He did not violate a public trust, he broke no law, evidently, in his traffic accident, and no legal action has been taken in the case. These would all ordinarily be the triggers for a news story and its continuation. But it is open season on Tiger Woods. Let anyone say there might be a legitimate debate to be conducted on the redefinition of marriage, which is a public-policy issue involving pretty much everybody, and that is considered beyond the bounds of reasonable discourse by a great many people slobbering over the discovery of the latest IHOP waitress to have caught Woods’s fancy.

I hold no brief for Tiger Woods’s behavior, but it strikes me as among the least surprising revelations in the course of human history. It is America’s prurience on this matter in the midst of its own cultural confusion on matters sexual and marital that surprises and confounds.

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Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods

Some of you will be devastated to know that the First Church of Tiger Woods is closing its doors due to scandal. While a church being been thrown into chaos due to the misdeeds of clergy is old news, not since Zeus has a deity’s infidelities proved so disheartening to so many.

After several days of evaluation, I have decided to disband the First Church of Tiger Woods (as indicated by the graphics at the top of this web site) and I will not renew the TigerWoodsIsGod domain name when it expires in a couple of months. Any future commentary on this site (which may not happen at all) will be regarding Tiger’s failings in relation to his affair/accident debacle which continues to unfold almost by the hour.

Because the First Church of Tiger Woods has been in existence since late 1996 and this web site has been around since early 2000, you might think that such a decision might be difficult. In this case, it was not. Unfortunately, Tiger Woods has made it all to easy to realize that he is no longer worthy of any special admiration.

O tempora! O mores! O brother!

John Calvin said it best: The mind is a forge of idols. And bad sitcom ideas. And lest we forget the cult in celebrity culture, the First Church of Tiger Woods reminds us, once again, of how easily beguiled middle-aged white men in khakis are, especially when the wife is out somewhere, no doubt buying hats.

But will we learn? Never. Soon Tiger Woods will be replaced by yet another demigod who will steal our hearts and minds and loose change. All I can say is, thank goodness Doodles Weaver is dead.

Or is he?

Some of you will be devastated to know that the First Church of Tiger Woods is closing its doors due to scandal. While a church being been thrown into chaos due to the misdeeds of clergy is old news, not since Zeus has a deity’s infidelities proved so disheartening to so many.

After several days of evaluation, I have decided to disband the First Church of Tiger Woods (as indicated by the graphics at the top of this web site) and I will not renew the TigerWoodsIsGod domain name when it expires in a couple of months. Any future commentary on this site (which may not happen at all) will be regarding Tiger’s failings in relation to his affair/accident debacle which continues to unfold almost by the hour.

Because the First Church of Tiger Woods has been in existence since late 1996 and this web site has been around since early 2000, you might think that such a decision might be difficult. In this case, it was not. Unfortunately, Tiger Woods has made it all to easy to realize that he is no longer worthy of any special admiration.

O tempora! O mores! O brother!

John Calvin said it best: The mind is a forge of idols. And bad sitcom ideas. And lest we forget the cult in celebrity culture, the First Church of Tiger Woods reminds us, once again, of how easily beguiled middle-aged white men in khakis are, especially when the wife is out somewhere, no doubt buying hats.

But will we learn? Never. Soon Tiger Woods will be replaced by yet another demigod who will steal our hearts and minds and loose change. All I can say is, thank goodness Doodles Weaver is dead.

Or is he?

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Not the Social Diva, But the Presidential Diva

Maureen Dowd — I know you’re shocked I’d think this — doesn’t get it remotely right in her column on the fall from grace of Tiger Woods and Desiree Rogers. (I leave the Woods episode to others, who have greater interest in golf and sports-celebrity infidelity.) As for Rogers, Dowd observes:

Even if Desiree thought Congress was grandstanding, it was goofy of her to use the Constitution to get out of a Congressional summons. The Obama White House is morphing into the Bush White House with frightening speed. Its transparency is already fogged up.

The smart thing would have been for Desiree to sail up to Congress, wearing designer sackcloth and pearls of remorse, apologize for the oversight at her first state dinner and promise it wouldn’t happen again.

It just made her look weaker that she couldn’t simply accept some blame publicly for what happened at a dinner she was in charge of, and draw the heat away from the First Family she serves. She’s no G. Gordon Liddy.

But, of course, it is the president who holds the executive privilege and who asserts it. It is the president and his enablers, not Rogers, who is treating the Constitution as though it were silly putty, stretching and bending it however it suits their fancy. When Dowd writes, “Both the golf diva and the social diva mistakenly think the rules need not apply to them, ” she’s missing — or disguising — the point. It is the president who thinks the rules don’t apply to him. And even Dowd can’t really conceal what is going on as she declares, “Never mind the White House’s absurdly asserting executive privilege to dismiss a faux pas.” Well, we should mind.

Dowd may be obsessed with the golf and social divas, but there is a real and recurring theme here that should trouble those who used to inveigh against George W. Bush for “shredding the Constitution” or restoring the “imperial presidency.” The normal rules of restraint against political opponents and critical media outlets (e.g., the Chamber of Commerce, Fox News) don’t apply to Obama and his enablers. The normal rules of Constitutional interpretation don’t apply to them, whether it concerns czar mania or executive privilege. That’s a recipe for abuse, overreach, and the political landmines, which befall a White House indifferent to advice and hostile to criticism.

The troubling trends — from czars to the war on Fox to the stunt of elastic executive privilege — flow from the mindset and prickly personality of the president, not from his social secretary. Perhaps that’s why when you Google “Obama” and “Nixon” and “arrogance,” you get 4.29 million entries. Try it.

Maureen Dowd — I know you’re shocked I’d think this — doesn’t get it remotely right in her column on the fall from grace of Tiger Woods and Desiree Rogers. (I leave the Woods episode to others, who have greater interest in golf and sports-celebrity infidelity.) As for Rogers, Dowd observes:

Even if Desiree thought Congress was grandstanding, it was goofy of her to use the Constitution to get out of a Congressional summons. The Obama White House is morphing into the Bush White House with frightening speed. Its transparency is already fogged up.

The smart thing would have been for Desiree to sail up to Congress, wearing designer sackcloth and pearls of remorse, apologize for the oversight at her first state dinner and promise it wouldn’t happen again.

It just made her look weaker that she couldn’t simply accept some blame publicly for what happened at a dinner she was in charge of, and draw the heat away from the First Family she serves. She’s no G. Gordon Liddy.

But, of course, it is the president who holds the executive privilege and who asserts it. It is the president and his enablers, not Rogers, who is treating the Constitution as though it were silly putty, stretching and bending it however it suits their fancy. When Dowd writes, “Both the golf diva and the social diva mistakenly think the rules need not apply to them, ” she’s missing — or disguising — the point. It is the president who thinks the rules don’t apply to him. And even Dowd can’t really conceal what is going on as she declares, “Never mind the White House’s absurdly asserting executive privilege to dismiss a faux pas.” Well, we should mind.

Dowd may be obsessed with the golf and social divas, but there is a real and recurring theme here that should trouble those who used to inveigh against George W. Bush for “shredding the Constitution” or restoring the “imperial presidency.” The normal rules of restraint against political opponents and critical media outlets (e.g., the Chamber of Commerce, Fox News) don’t apply to Obama and his enablers. The normal rules of Constitutional interpretation don’t apply to them, whether it concerns czar mania or executive privilege. That’s a recipe for abuse, overreach, and the political landmines, which befall a White House indifferent to advice and hostile to criticism.

The troubling trends — from czars to the war on Fox to the stunt of elastic executive privilege — flow from the mindset and prickly personality of the president, not from his social secretary. Perhaps that’s why when you Google “Obama” and “Nixon” and “arrogance,” you get 4.29 million entries. Try it.

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