(WARNING: Some content below may be offensive to the Self-Righteous!!!)
Interesting Fact: Before Thanksgiving 2009, if I had been at a party in search of a booty call and Tiger Woods had walked up to me and suggested we mess around, I would have accepted.
Like most folks, I think it is trashy, counter productive and despicable to get involved with a married person unless I am getting paid to do so. But prior to Thanksgiving of 2009, I didn’t even KNOW Tiger Woods was married with children. I obviously don’t give a shit about sports, but getting hit on by a multi-million dollar Golfer is pretty flattering. How many girls can say they hooked up with Tiger Woods? (A lot.)
Of course, bragging about a star studded sexcapade to your friends is a lot different than talking about it on Oprah. But in hindsight, I can see how some of Tiger’s mistresses were so willing to tell their stories after having CNN dangle big fat checks in front of their faces.
Tiger Woods is an athlete. He is famous for being able to hit a little white ball into a hole with a stick. Like most athletes and movie stars, he contributes absolutely nothing useful to society, save for a tiny, obligatory portion of his millions to some causes and charities.
But unlike movie and porn stars, athletes do not have the luxury of being able to date other athletes, assuming the majority of them are heterosexuals, because there are no famous female athletes that aren’t tennis players. In fact, athletes, besides being mostly male, sell their bodies to large multimillion dollar Corporations. We tut and cluck our tongues at porn stars, hookers, strippers, and models for doing exactly the same thing, and yet athletes are like modern day Gladiators. They are paid obscene amounts of money to play games that are sometimes violent, and we tell our children to look up at them as heroes so that they too can one day be rewarded the equivalent of the budgets of some small countries to jump on each other and chase around pig skins. (And really, if your child is looking up to athletes instead of you, than you’re doing something wrong. Yeah, I said it.)
So why the Hell does anyone CARE that Tiger Woods got caught cheating with practically every woman in the country (I mean, really, how do you know I HAVEN’T slept with Tiger Woods? You don’t know me like that!)?
Joseph Cannon said something about this earlier that I think bears repeating:
“But he represents…” Bullshit. Don’t bother trying to finish that sentence.
Nobody “represents” anything. Not even royalty and presidents. We’re all just people. As Robert De Niro said in The Deer Hunter: “This is this. This ain’t somethin’ else: This is this.”
Much of our low media infrastructure — Jerry Springer, the tabloids — has existed to humiliate people for unapproved sexual activity. But why do we care about the private kinks, errors, oddities, unconventionalities, betrayals and ecstasies of others? Are our lives really so small?
Its John Edwards, Mark Sanfords, Ted Haggards, Larry Craigs and George W Bushes of the world–those who bathe themselves in hypocrisy while fancying themselves more than just human beings, those men who believe themselves to be Gods and use their positions to claim moral superiority, justifying their own errors by condemning the mistakes of others and passing sexist and homophobic laws that keep those of us who are self aware on our knees– those are the men that deserve our attention and our scorn.
But lets look on the bright side: Tiger Woods’ sex scandal has been thoroughly entertaining. (Thanks to him, I now know that there’s someone out there with just as many sexual fetishes as me.) Most athletes behave the same way he does, they just don’t get caught. I live in Cleveland and LeBron James is like the second coming of Christ around here. But I know of a lot of women who have had less than fortunate encounters with him and other Cavs players, and I hope he crashes and burns. Yeah, I said it. And really, why would anyone even WANT to marry an athlete? You’d have to sit there and listen to them go on and on and on about twenty yard lines and bogeys and three pointers and other endlessly boring crap, and as a trade off they probably wouldn’t even be faithful. Lets hope Elin’s learned her lesson.
This can also teach us a lesson about the undeserved importance our society gives sports. We can not only talk to our children and remind them that pitchers and quarterbacks and point guards are just as lame and ignorant as the rest of us, we can also take the time to break it to them that the likelihood of them become professional athletes are slim to none: Daddy got that football scholarship a long time ago, and he’s not going to get it back by trying to live vicariously through them.
PS: And you know what? Tiger’s squeeze was right. Those golf balls were offensive.
UPDATE: Pandagon also has a wonderful, highly recommended post about this:
But my frustration with this is about more than just that. And it’s about more than the fact that there’s a double standard being employed in this—be it because Woods is an icon, or because of his race, or because of whatever—where he was singled out for a “scandal” for behavior that is more typical than not of golfers and athletes in general. It’s that holding Woods out to be a freak show implies that his behavior is unusual, and that his attitudes are freakish works to conceal the larger cultural support for his behavior and attitudes, especially in sports. But I would argue he’s typical, with the attitudes he almost surely has about women to inspire such epic cheating on his wife and apparent disregard for the well-being of his other partners. I’m not saying most or all men have his attitudes, of course. But a big enough chunk of them that it’s a joke to pretend that Woods’ behavior was anything to write home about.