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cbasu





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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:50 pm    Post subject: Tiger Woods. Reply with quote

Perhaps the most sobre and non-salacious look at the Tiger Woods tragedy-comedy that is unfolding on the tabloids every day.

In a Dec 21/2009 New York Times column entitled 'Tiger Woods, Person of the Year' Frank Rich wrote:
(emphasis added) AS we say farewell to a dreadful year and decade, this much we can agree upon: The person of the year is not Ben Bernanke, no matter how insistently Time magazine tries to hype him into its pantheon. The Fed chairman was just as big a schnook as every other magical thinker in Washington and on Wall Street who believed that housing prices would go up in perpetuity to support an economy leveraged past the hilt. Unlike most of the others, it was Bernanke’s job to be ahead of the curve. Yet as recently as June of last year he could be found minimizing the possibility of a substantial economic downturn. And now we’re supposed to applaud him for putting his finger in the dike after disaster struck? This is defining American leadership down.

If there’s been a consistent narrative to this year and every other in this decade, it’s that most of us, Bernanke included, have been so easily bamboozled. The men who played us for suckers, whether at Citigroup or Fannie Mae, at the White House or Ted Haggard’s megachurch, are the real movers and shakers of this century’s history so far. That’s why the obvious person of the year is Tiger Woods. His sham beatific image, questioned by almost no one until it collapsed, is nothing if not the farcical reductio ad absurdum of the decade’s flimflams, from the cancerous (the subprime mortgage) to the inane (balloon boy).

As of Friday, the Tiger saga had appeared on 20 consecutive New York Post covers. For The Post, his calamity has become as big a story as 9/11. And the paper may well have it right. We’ve rarely questioned our assumption that 9/11, “the day that changed everything,” was the decade’s defining event. But in retrospect it may not have been. A con like Tiger’s may be more typical of our time than a one-off domestic terrorist attack, however devastating.

Indeed, if we go back to late 2001, the most revealing news story may have been unfolding not in New York but Houston — the site of the Enron scandal. That energy company convinced financial titans, the press and countless investors that it was a business deity. It did so even though very few of its worshipers knew what its business was. Enron is the template for the decade of successful ruses that followed, Tiger’s included.

What makes the golfing superstar’s tale compelling, after all, is not that he’s another celebrity in trouble or another fallen athletic “role model” in a decade lousy with them. His scandal has nothing to tell us about race, and nothing new to say about hypocrisy. The conflict between Tiger’s picture-perfect family life and his marathon womanizing is the oldest of morality tales.

What’s striking instead is the exceptional, Enron-sized gap between this golfer’s public image as a paragon of businesslike discipline and focus and the maniacally reckless life we now know he led. What’s equally striking, if not shocking, is that the American establishment and news media — all of it, not just golf writers or celebrity tabloids — fell for the Woods myth as hard as any fan and actively helped sustain and enhance it.

People wanted to believe what they wanted to believe. Tiger’s off-the-links elusiveness was no more questioned than Enron’s impenetrable balance sheets, with their “special-purpose entities” named after “Star Wars” characters. Fortune magazine named Enron as America’s “most innovative company” six years in a row. In the January issue of Golf Digest, still on the stands, some of the best and most hardheaded writers in America offer “tips Obama can take from Tiger,” who is typically characterized as so without human frailties that he “never does anything that would make him look ridiculous.”

Perhaps the most conspicuous player in the Tiger hagiography business has been a company called Accenture, one of his lustrous stable of corporate sponsors. In a hilarious Times article, Brian Stelter described the extreme efforts this outfit is now making to erase its six-year association with its prized spokesman. Alas, the many billboards with slogans like “Go On. Be a Tiger” are not so easily dismantled, and collectors’ items like “Accenture Match Play Tiger Woods Caddy Bib” are a growth commodity on eBay.

From what I can tell, Accenture is a solid company. But the Daily News columnist Mike Lupica raised a good point when I spoke with him last week: “If Tiger Woods was so important to Accenture, how come I didn’t know what Accenture did when they fired him?” According to its Web site, Accenture is “a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company,” but who cared about any fine print? It was Tiger, and Tiger was it, and no one was to worry about the details behind the mutually advantageous image-mongering. One would like to assume that Accenture’s failure to see or heed any warning signs about a man appearing in 83 percent of its advertising is an anomalous lapse. One would like to believe that business and government clients didn’t hire Accenture just because it had Tiger’s imprimatur. But in a culture where so many smart people have been taken so often, we can’t assume anything.

As cons go, Woods’s fraudulent image as an immaculate exemplar of superhuman steeliness is benign. His fall will damage his family, closest friends, Accenture and the golf industry much more than the rest of us. But the syndrome it epitomizes is not harmless. We keep being fooled by leaders in all sectors of American life, over and over. A decade that began with the “reality” television craze exemplified by “American Idol” and “Survivor” — both blissfully devoid of any reality whatsoever — spiraled into a wholesale flight from truth.

The most lethal example, of course, were the two illusions marketed to us on the way to Iraq — that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and some link to Al Qaeda. That history has since been rewritten by Bush alumni, Democratic politicians who supported the Iraq invasion and some of the news media that purveyed the White House fictions (especially the television press, which rarely owned up to its failure as print journalists have). It was exclusively “bad intelligence,” we’re now told, that pushed us into the fiasco. But contradictions to that “bad intelligence” were in plain sight during the run-up to the war — even sometimes in the press. Yet we wanted to suspend disbelief. Much of the country, regardless of party, didn’t want to question its leaders, no matter how obviously they were hyping any misleading shred of intelligence that could fit their predetermined march to war. It’s the same impulse that kept many from questioning how Mark McGwire’s and Barry Bonds’s outlandishly cartoonish physiques could possibly be steroid-free.

In the political realm, our bipartisan credulousness has also been on steroids in this decade, even by our national standards. Many Democrats didn’t want to see the snake-oil salesman in John Edwards, blatant as his “Two America” self-contradictions were if you cared merely to look at him on YouTube. Republicans incessantly fell for family values preacher politicians like David Vitter, John Ensign and Larry Craig. Fred Thompson was seen by many, in the press as well as his party, as the second coming of Ronald Reagan. Karl Rove was widely hailed as a mastermind who would assemble a permanent Republican majority. Bernie Kerik was considered a plausible secretary of homeland security. Eliot Spitzer was viewed as a crusader of uncompromising principle.

But these scam artists are pikers next to the financial hucksters. I’m not just talking about Bernie Madoff and Enron’s Ken Lay, but about those titans who legally created and sold the securities that gamed and then wrecked the system. You’d think after Enron’s collapse that financial leaders and government overseers would question the contents of “exotic” investments that could not be explained in plain English. But only a few years after Enron’s very public and extensively dissected crimes, the same bankers, federal regulatory agencies and securities-rating companies were giving toxic “assets” a pass. We were only too eager to go along for the lucrative ride until it crashed like Tiger’s Escalade.

After his “indefinite break” from golf, Woods will surely be back on the links once the next celebrity scandal drowns his out.

But after a decade in which two true national catastrophes, a wasteful war and a near-ruinous financial collapse, were both in part byproducts of the ease with which our leaders bamboozled us, we can’t so easily move on.

This can be seen in the increasingly urgent political plight of Barack Obama. Though the American left and right don’t agree on much, they are both now coalescing around the suspicion that Obama’s brilliant presidential campaign was as hollow as Tiger’s public image
— a marketing scam designed to camouflage either his covert anti-American radicalism (as the right sees it) or spineless timidity (as the left sees it). The truth may well be neither, but after a decade of being spun silly, Americans can’t be blamed for being cynical about any leader trying to sell anything.

As we say goodbye to the year of Tiger Woods, it is the country, sad to say, that is left mired in a sand trap with no obvious way out.
SFrank85





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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is true. We leave in a post Christian culture, where sex sells everything. We have consumer products that market little girls to dress up as prostitutes, and we have media with racy and sexual perverse messages everyday on TV. Tiger Woods is a product of our decadent mainstream Western society.
Habsrwfan





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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SFrank85 wrote:
It is true. We leave in a post Christian culture, where sex sells everything. We have consumer products that market little girls to dress up as prostitutes, and we have media with racy and sexual perverse messages everyday on TV. Tiger Woods is a product of our decadent mainstream Western society.


I somewhat agree. Religion (or the lack thereof) is part of the issue, but it's not the only factor.

The big factor or problem is that our culture has come to value instant gratification over lifetime achievements.


At one time, your typical male wanted to grow up, be successful, make a solid circle of friends that he could count on and enjoy hanging out with, find a nice girl or woman that he could love and form a strong stable family with, and then go on to live a life enriched with various lifetime accomplishments and achievements. Sex was desired, and was nice, but it was just seen as one of the more pleasurable aspects of going through this journey called life. It wasn't hyped out of proportion like it has been in recent decades.


Now, I think that your typical male wants to grow up so that he can party and play as much as possible, with out being held back by parents or guardians. It's all about making the quick buck, getting that instant gratification, and just being indulgent 24/7. This is a very shallow and short-sighted existence, imo.


I truly think that most people don't get the bigger picture anymore. They don't get the deep and profound sense of accomplishment and success that can come from, say, raising a good kid to becoming a productive member of society. They don't get the huge emotional and psychological benefits that come from the incredible sense of mutual love and trust that can come from several decades of happy committed marriage.


Sex is an intense, but fleeting, pleasure when not couched within a long-term, heartfelt, serious relationship.


Simply put, not enough people think big picture or long term enough.


That's another reason why so many people get conned so easily. Promises of quick and easy success are often too alluring; the desire to quickly and easily jump on hyped bandwagons (like Tiger Woods' early in his career) is also very alluring.


People used to be wiser, and have a more discerning eye.


Last edited by Habsrwfan on Sun Dec 20, 2009 11:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
Craig
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This has nothing to do with our culture (though I do agree with the sentiments in general). Powerful people act like this all of the time regardless of time or place. Saddam Hussein had one hundred times the women Tiger had.
Holenchuk





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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is she really suing for 100 million?
Habsrwfan





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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 5:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is apparently getting to Tiger more than many of the sports/golf experts thought it would.

Now, I haven't followed all of Tiger's activity since he returned to pro golfing, but I don't think that he's won a signal PGA tour since returning. He's struggling by his standards. It's hardly been the sort of triumphant return that many people thought he'd enjoy.
fiscalconservative





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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think we need better privacy laws. Tiger Woods sex life is none of our business. I can see a certain logic to high level politicians (sorry John and Bill), but everyone else should be left alone.
Habsrwfan





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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fiscalconservative wrote:
I think we need better privacy laws. Tiger Woods sex life is none of our business. I can see a certain logic to high level politicians (sorry John and Bill), but everyone else should be left alone.


I somewhat disagree.

I don't personally care about the sex life of people that I've never even met (which includes the vast majority of all celebrities) and have no association with, but some people apparently do. And if those people want to read lurid tabloid stories, then that is their free choice, and if enough people want that, then the free market will naturally move to fill that consumer demand.


I think that a certain reduction in privacy is the cost of being a celebrity in the modern world. Especially if you're going to take highly lucrative ad deals, which Tiger did.

Too many celebrities think that they can have their cake and eat it too: That they can market a certain image of themselves for personal gain, but maintain privacy when reporters start to look into whether or not that public image is actually accurate or not.

If Tiger had not tried to pass himself off as this great family man, I'd have much more sympathy for him. But if you're going to market yourself a certain way, you really can't fault people for wanting to know if the man behind the image is actually reflected well by that public image.
fiscalconservative





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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Habsrwfan wrote:

I somewhat disagree.

I don't personally care about the sex life of people that I've never even met (which includes the vast majority of all celebrities) and have no association with, but some people apparently do. And if those people want to read lurid tabloid stories, then that is their free choice, and if enough people want that, then the free market will naturally move to fill that consumer demand.
.


It may be the persons choice to read them, but I don't think it should be the persons choice to write them. How would you like it if someone wrote about your sex life and distributed it to your neighbours and co-workers ? Kinky text messages, pictures, and maybe even a video tape ?
I don't think a person should give up this sort of right to privacy by becoming a celebrity.
Habsrwfan





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PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fiscalconservative wrote:
Habsrwfan wrote:

I somewhat disagree.

I don't personally care about the sex life of people that I've never even met (which includes the vast majority of all celebrities) and have no association with, but some people apparently do. And if those people want to read lurid tabloid stories, then that is their free choice, and if enough people want that, then the free market will naturally move to fill that consumer demand.
.


It may be the persons choice to read them, but I don't think it should be the persons choice to write them.


Why not?

If Tiger Woods presents an image of himself as a great family man (as he did), and if he profits from that image (as he no doubt did), then a good investigative writer shouldn't turn a blind eye away from evidence of hypocrisy.

I honestly think that people have a right to know when celebrities are selling them a phony bill of goods about themselves.

Now, in the case of somebody like Charles Barkley, who has always made it a point to not embrace a clean-cut public image for public consumption, and who has openly said that parents and kids should search elsewhere for good role models, then so be it. If a celebrity takes a stand like that, then leave his or her private life alone.

But once a celebrity gives a definite impression (and a false one) about his private life, and profits from that impression, I think he invites himself to be evaluated on that.

In other words, if a celebrity wants to keep his private life private, then take the stand that Charles Barkley did. Don't try to pretend to be something that you're not, like Tiger Woods did.

People have a right to know if what something a celebrity is saying is true or not. That's what it boils down to for me. So if Tiger Woods goes and says he's a great family man when he's out sleeping with multiple women other than his wife, then yeah, people have a right to know that the guy is not who he would like you to think that he is.

The whole point of any news is to inform, and for that information to be accurate. I think that celebrities have a right to declare certain boundaries, but only if they themselves don't comment on areas beyond those boundaries (i.e. if a celebrity starts talking about his family life, of course the media is going to ask questions about it, as the celebrity is basically inviting them to).
crusoe





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PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SFrank85 wrote:
It is true. We leave in a post Christian culture, where sex sells everything. We have consumer products that market little girls to dress up as prostitutes, and we have media with racy and sexual perverse messages everyday on TV. Tiger Woods is a product of our decadent mainstream Western society.


Well that is arguable, but to a certain extend true i guess. But that I don't think it has a lot to do with christianity or Western society. But more with the media. Which has taken issues like this to the light of day. Things like that may happen all the time, but we don't get to know them. Since the yellow press and any other mainstream media is absolutely lustrous for sensation this was the perfect fit for them. Also I guess it's an evolutionary drive for every man to have more than one woman. But moral and society have put a stop to this.
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