Published by Parcbench on December 15, 2009:
When the news of Tiger Woods’ indiscretions (to put it nicely) initially broke, I made a conscious decision to refrain from writing and posting commentary about it. From my vantage point, it was yet another repugnant, predictable story of an icon with remarkable talent, worldwide adoration, limitless financial resources and a beautiful family shamelessly indulging in excess simply because he could. Tiger was sadly following in the footsteps of countless politicians, celebrities and celebrity athletes before him who’d abused their power to satisfy their own self-serving ends, regardless of the consequences.
In Woods’ case, his carefully crafted and (up until recently at least) astonishingly lucrative image of a wholesome, bi-racial embodiment of the American Dream is a case-study in the art of deception, as Lisa Schiffren notes in an American Thinker piece:
Nor was Woods’ behavior unknown — except to the public. In one instance reporters had photos of a “transgression”…committed in a church parking lot, no less. These journalists agreed to keep it secret — if Tiger posed for a cover story at Men’s Fitness Magazine — a cover that would sell huge numbers. Normally Woods wouldn’t have been available, since he had an exclusive contract with Conde Nast’s Golf Digest. With full understanding of the situation, Conde Nast allowed the rival cover because he too profited from having Tiger remain an icon.
In a fascinating compare and contrast analysis, Schiffren offers a parallel between the world-famous golfer and the current White House occupant, in terms of the lengths to which powerful entities like the media were willing to go in order to preserve their own fabrication of a “transcendent” do-gooder with spotless credentials.
As if the thought of reporters deliberately withholding information on cash-cow Woods’ affairs isn’t outrageous enough, along comes Washington Post reporter Eugene Robinson, whose problem with Tiger isn’t so much his indulgence in tawdry, adulterous affairs with a seemingly endless list of women — it’s the fact that none of the women involved were minorities:
No offense to anyone who actually looks like Barbie, but it really is striking how much the women who’ve been linked to Woods resemble one another. I’m talking about the long hair, the specific body type, even the facial features. Mattel could sue for trademark infringement.
This may be the most interesting aspect of the whole Tiger Woods story — and one of the most disappointing. He seems to have been bent on proving to himself that he could have any woman he wanted. But from the evidence, his aim wasn’t variety but some kind of validation.
I’m making a big assumption here that the attraction for Woods was mostly physical, but there’s no evidence thus far that he had a lot of time for deep conversation. If adultery is really about the power and satisfaction of conquest, Woods’s self-esteem was apparently only boosted by bedding the kind of woman he thought other men lusted after — the “Playmate of the Month” type that Hugh Hefner turned into the American gold standard.
But the world is full of beautiful women of all colors, shapes and sizes — some with short hair or almond eyes, some with broad noses, some with yellow or brown skin. Woods appears to have bought into an “official” standard of beauty that is so conventional as to be almost oppressive.
So let me get this straight: the most “disappointing” aspect of the Tiger Woods scandal isn’t the fact that he repeatedly violated his marriage vows in the basest of ways, or willfully demonstrated complete disregard for the wellbeing of his two innocent young children — it’s the fact that he chose to denigrate the sanctity of his family with women who resemble Barbie instead of Oprah?
There’s so much absurdity in Robinson’s take, it’s hard to believe he’s considered a mainstream journalist writing for a respectable paper. I suppose in his mind, Tiger should have — in the words of another mixed race public figure — “spread the wealth around” by expanding his cabal of willing women to include at least a few Blacks, Hispanics and Asians. In Tiger’s defense, the EEOC hasn’t yet proclaimed the act of adultery with multiple partners, an “Equal Opportunity” proposition, mandating “diversity”. Perhaps in light of Eugene Robinson’s article, they’ll reconsider.
From Robinson’s perspective however, there is a positive angle to account for the lack of color among the Woods’ line-up of paramours: instead of being “disappointed” by Tiger’s obvious attraction to the Hugh Hefner standard of beauty, maybe the journalist could view Tiger as having too much respect for non-white women to think they’d put out for a married man just because he happens to be rich, famous and powerful.
Sound crazy? For those of us for whom adultery is adultery regardless of the color of the people involved, it makes about as much sense as Robinson using a tragic and harrowing tale of public infidelity as yet another excuse to cry racism.