Tiger Woods Can’t Win

I mostly try to avoid stupid celebrity gossip stories, but the last two weeks, it’s been impossible to escape the sordid Tiger Woods thing. I still don’t care about his personal life, but there’s one thing that keeps coming up in the media coverage that’s annoying me even beyond the stupidity of the whole business.

Tony Kornheiser is probably the clearest proponent of it, at least in the stories I’ve seen. He keeps saying that Tiger needs to “show himself,” that he needs to make a public appearance and at least read a statement, if not take questions. He claims that Woods’s public silence has only fanned the flames.

Here’s the thing, though: If Woods held a press conference and tearfully read a statement expressing regret, the exact same people who are now chiding him for not speaking out would be parsing his words to the microsyllable, and suggesting that he should really go away for a while, and get his life in order. He can’t win.

Tiger has opted to go with the media blackout strategy, and appears to be sticking to it. And good for him. It’s not like the media coverage can get any worse– what are they going to do, launch new tabloid papers just so they can splash his picture on more front pages?

He’s already got more money than God– he can afford to wait them out. In another week, maybe two, the media will get bored, and something else will come up. A small child will fall down a well, or a D-list celebrity will get caught having sex with a sheep, or– *gasp*– the Senate might stop dinking around, and pass something, and then there will be actual News of consequence.

Yeah, that last one is pure crazy talk, I know…

Comments

  1. #1 T. Hunt
    December 13, 2009

    Hoo boy! You nailed it on the ‘crazy talk’, that’s for sure.

    Tom

  2. #2 kevin R
    December 13, 2009

    Even if the senate did pas something, celebrity gossip would still get top billing on the news. Tiger Woods is this weeks Micheal Jackson

  3. #3 Art
    December 13, 2009

    You’re right.

    The media circus gets off on the whole ‘great man laid low by inappropriate use of penis’ shtick. A crowd favorite. It isn’t exactly news, the whole story could be covered exhaustively on a 3 by 5 card using a very dull pencil, but it sells and that is the primary purpose of the media, selling.

    Seems that after a time in the gushing-uncritical-heroic icon phase they like to ride the wave cause by any slip by playing up the conflict and roll around in the humiliation. And for a time after, until the story no longer has legs, every move and utterance will be teased apart down to the molecular level.

    The shortest way out is to accept the wisdom of opossums and to play dead. After a time sniffing around the body the media, having the attention span of a gnat, will find something more interesting to play with.

  4. #4 Paul Murray
    December 13, 2009

    I dunno. “Black man has sex with white woman” has a *lot* of staying power. That’s what happens, dontcha know, when you let N*s into the country club. They get uppitty.

    Yes, it’s racial. Of course it is. Nothing in US popular culture makes any sense until you find the racial angle. Ever wondered why the movie “The Bodyguard” didn’t have a sex scene?

  5. #5 kathy
    December 13, 2009

    You are so right. They (MSM) are chomping at the bit waiting for endorsements to fall. The Gatorade drop happened before the car crash (contract expired because of low sales), and yet they continue to repeat this bit, sometimes with a small mention after the fact – usual MO – the genie is already out of the bottle so it doesn’t make any difference. He is playing it smart, and frankly, I don’t want to see him hold a press conference discussing his personal life. He doesn’t owe me an explanation.

  6. #6 Robert S.
    December 13, 2009

    Paul Murray: Ok, try this one. What is the racial angle of pizza in popular culture?

  7. #7 Levom Jevub
    December 13, 2009

    Robert S.: Ever see “Do the Right Thing?”

  8. #8 Oran Kelley
    December 13, 2009

    Well if this is a “black man has sex with white woman” story, the MSM is rather behindhand because MRS. WOODS IS WHITE AND SHE’S BEEN ON TV and I think everyone assumes they’ve had sex and have been having sex for quite some time.

    So, I submit respectfully that there really must be something more to this story to get it to rise to this level.

    So, what does someone mean when they say “we’ll never look at Tiger Woods the same way again?” Do they mean “I can’t deny to myself that he’s had sex with a white woman anymore, in spite of the fact that we all fairly certain he’s fathered children with his white wife?”

    Or do they mean something else. Do they mean, perhaps, that he was a hugely paid athlete and endorser who was nonetheless deeply respected by the white middle class constituency that made him such a valuable endorsement commodity.

    Does race play into this? Sure, but it’s not Jack Johnson redux and while you may think saying so assuages your white guilt, it’s actually hugely condescending. Tiger Woods has built himself into a pretty complex cultural phenomenon. Your “it’s all just . . .” is a denial of what he was able to accomplish, as tied up in popular neuroses as it is.

  9. #9 Julie Stahlhut
    December 13, 2009

    What I’d really like to see is Tiger doing a public service spot for fellow celebrities: Remember, if you do anything potentially embarrassing that involves another person, expect that person to make lots of money — in the most public way possible — on the ensuing book deals.

  10. #10 Tim
    December 15, 2009

    Reading about his sexual escapades is certainly more interesting then reading about his golf.

  11. #11 ed
    December 15, 2009

    I think the worst part is actually the hypocrisy of those critics who wank over sports illustrated, and not just the swimsuit edition.

  12. #12 eddie
    December 15, 2009

    ed above was me. I even typo my own name. I agree with Kathy and Paul Murray. On the miscegenation, the fear is not so much of the marred or domesticted. It’s full-on lock-up-yer-daughters fear.

  13. #13 John Emerson
    December 20, 2009

    Someone with seven supermodel girlfriends and a fifty-million dollar net worth (or whatever) doesn’t have any “problems” in the strict sense of the word. Even after alimony.

    I’d probably unload 2 to 4 of the girlfriends if it was me, but that’s probably showing my age.

  14. #14 Gene Callahan
    December 21, 2009

    Wow, was Paul Murray’s comment idiotic. Tiger was MARRIED TO A WHITE WOMAN, you nitwit, and nothing much was made of that. And when SC Gov. Sanford was caught in infidelity, it was a bid deal, even though it was all white people involved. Yes, there is still some tension in the US about interracial affairs, but to say that “black man sleeps with white woman” is the core of this story is moronic.

  15. #15 Barry
    December 21, 2009

    “… or– *gasp*– the Senate might stop dinking around, and pass something, and then there will be actual News of consequence.”

    No, that wouldn’t. Now, a child down a well, or a – tada!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Pretty Young White Girl in Peril [cue special theme music; have artists slap together a logo for the special series, rehearse anchors in Serious Person Look]

  16. #16 Acai Optimum
    December 21, 2009

    This is wood’s personal life… we all need to let Elin think for her self and not us putting words into her mouth… Am sure when a more important story comes up… the press should be able to let go tigers nighmare

  17. #17 Duncan
    December 22, 2009

    You’re right, that is crazy talk. One function, and sometimes the purpose, of focusing on celebrity sex scandals (including political sex scandals) is to distract attention from matters of more substance. Michael Jackson’s death was similar, and Princess Diana’s, and so many others.

    Don’t imagine that the corporate media would actually cover news in a serious manner if not for the Tiger Wood scandal. They won’t do that in any case. But scandals do give them something juicy to fill up column inches and broadcast minutes with, which is always a plus as far as they’re concerned. A few months ago Glenn Greenwald pointed out “one of the more irritating media syndromes: their tendency to talk about media coverage as though they have nothing to do with it and can’t exert any influence over it; media coverage is just something that happens to them. … It’s very common for media stars to lament how the media covers petty stories or otherwise distorts them — as though someone is forcing them to do it and they have no agency.”

    There are alternatives, of course: you can just stop (or drastically curtail) watching the corporate media, and attend to media with more substance. Readers/viewers also like to lament how the media covers petty stories or otherwise distorts them, as though someone is forcing them to watch and they have no agency. They can avail themselves of alternatives, turn off the TV. But I know, that’s crazy talk. They’d miss the Superbowl, or video clips of Tiger’s hot wife.