The recent revelation that Tiger Woods is as depraved as all the rest of us and the media’s obsession over it raises the question of why. Not why did Tiger Woods, who is a famous, rich, talented, attractive man with a sin nature, fall into adultery (when every other celebrity, sports figure and politician, it seems, has fallen into the same sin), but why is the media so fixated on it? Was it not so long ago that this same media was saying about another famous person, who lived in that white house in Washington, DC, and who was also caught in adulterous behavior… that everyone does such things and why were we making such a big deal about it?
There was an article Tuesday in The American Thinker by Lisa Schiffren entitled ‘Tiger, Barack, and the Law of Transitivity’ that sheds some light on the latest hysteria:
“We are interested because Tiger Woods, who may legitimately be the best golfer ever, had been turned into an all-purpose icon: a man of personal rectitude, a lovely smile, apparent openness; a family man, with a lovely wife and two adorable babies. And of course, he was our first living embodiment of the collective hope for racial reconciliation. Who knew that the early reports of his betrayed wife Elin swinging at him with a golf club constituted literal icon-smashing?
“We are staring because we’ve been had. Betrayed. We see now that the image was all a fraud. The talent was real. But the things that made the public like Tiger personally — the low-key demeanor, manners, and sweet smile of countless sports-page photos, magazine covers, political analogies, and most important, product endorsements, was an act.”
An act for ten years, according to Rush Limbaugh, who said on his show Tuesday that anyone high up in the golfing world knew these things about Tiger. Also that his personality is less than genteel and that some would even view him as arrogant.
Turns out Tiger is not so different from most people of prominence who have money, talent, attractiveness and the power — and temptations — that go with all that.
“But it wasn’t just Woods’ act. The larger lesson here is about how much artifice — sustained, deliberate deception — goes into the construction of a public persona when there is profit to be made or power to be had.
“Jack Shafer, the Slate media columnist, spells out how this transpired. In the beginning, Shafer notes, Woods was your normal young, single, randy, skirt-chasing, heterosexual athlete. “Then, almost overnight, he became a golf phenom, and … for business reasons — Buick, Nike, Gatorade, Gillette, EA Sports, and Accenture being among them — Woods decided to exfoliate from his public image all things base, carnal, and even personal. The Tiger Woods that was constructed for corporate consumption was spotless and smooth, an edgeless brand easily peddled to sheikhs and shakers.”
And all this accomplished with the collusion of our media which is supposed to be reporting the truth and apparently isn’t much at all. The reporters who wanted access had to promise not to reveal the things they actually uncovered, but to go along with this elaborate and false construction.
When I read Hollywood Interrupted awhile back, the same thing was pointed out with regard to the various stars. Most of the stories you read about the stars, particularly in the more “respectable” publications, are going to be lies. It’s the same thing… if you want access you can only say what the star wants you to say (Rather like Anna’s first interview with that reporter who looks like a cross between Michael J. Fox and Tom Cruise on “V”). That accounts for why the interviewees are always saying that now that they’ve become parents (or gotten married or turned 40) it’s changed their lives. They love being a parent (or married or 40). It is the most fulfilling role they have every played, yada, yada, yada. The first few interviews I believed but when I kept reading the same stuff in all the interviews I began to wonder. And now, having read Hollywood Interrupted I don’t even read the interviews.
But I digress, because to me the other very interesting thing about Schiffren’s column was that she compared Tiger to President Obama. Who was a cipher before running for office, and pretty much still is.
I’ll let Schiffren say it:
“If I were watching the public’s disgust with the newly revealed Tiger Woods from an office in the West Wing, I’d be concerned. Because Barack Obama is about as completely manufactured a political character as this nation has seen. His meteoric rise, without the inconvenience of a public record or accomplishments, and the public’s willing suspension of critical evaluation of his resume allowed his handlers and the media to project whatever they wanted to on his unfurrowed brow.
Ironically, the parallels have nothing to do with race. The Obama campaign did explicitly attempt to borrow from the then-universal Tiger Woods appeal to allay any discomfort voters might have had with a mixed-race politician. They constructed a persona that would make the American electorate comfortable with a barely-known, first-term senator with a left wing voting record, a deliberately obscured personal and professional past, and no traditional qualifications for high office.”
She commented that while it doesn’t matter much if a great golfer turns out to be not as nice nor as moral as everyone made him out to be,
“it matters a lot if the president is revealed to be an inexperienced, excessively ideological, and weak man who is naive about the world and uncomfortable exercising American power during a time of war. It matters if nothing in his training would have equipped the president to understand what it takes to stimulate job growth. It matters that he is uninterested in the science behind global warming — and wishes to use the issue to amass power and reorder society. It matters that he has no interest in the construction of policy…”
And all this, I think, is merely a fractal of a much greater deception going on in the world. For Satan has deceived the whole world — and that includes Christians. Our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the atmosphere.” The cosmic (world) system is portrayed as offering all we could ever want or need to make us happy and fulfilled. We’re constantly being shown the good life, told how to think, what to want, what to do, the message confirmed with pictures of people like Tiger Woods, who seem to have it made.
Has it always been like this, or is it a product of our times? The result of unending news, advertisements and entertainment that all show us a world that doesn’t exist. Why do we keep searching for idols and icons and role models? Is it because we have all at some level rejected the only man who is qualified to be our idol and our role model? I speak of our Lord Jesus Christ, the only true celebrity. All the rest are depraved, with sick heads, deceitful hearts and not one bit of soundness in their flesh, from the top of their heads to the soles of their feet. Even Christians still wrestle with that wretched old nature. Our Lord is the only perfect man, the one who though He was rich for our sakes became poor. For our sakes set aside the exercise of his deity and took upon Himself the form of a man, submitting Himself to the obedience of a death on the cross. What other celebrity has ever done that for anyone?
You can read the American Thinker article here.
Excellent as always! Thanks for the inspiring contemplations and “hmmmmm” factors.
Glad you’re enjoying them, Shelly!
Thanks for your posts, Karen!
The deeper I dig into history (especially primary sources), the more convinced I am that none of this is new. Even many of our “Founding Fathers”–who I was taught in school to venerate (up through my conservative Christian college years and into early homeschooling my own children)–led fairly lurid personal lives.
No surprise there, I suppose. Ecclesiastes has it right … there is nothing new under the sun. 🙂
The one thing that is new is the way that everyone in the country can know about stuff like this at the same time. And also jump on the bandwagon of celebrating someone all together the way we can now with our vast networks of nearly instant communication. But you’re right about the sordid personal lives (King David comes to mind, Abraham, Jacob… Solomon… and those guys were the heroes!). People just didn’t get to see the video or still photos of their indiscretions, or listen to the audio!
Hi Karen – I’m glad Hollywood,Interrupted still resonates in your world.
Yes it still does, Mark. Thanks for stopping by!
Just one short comment. Last night I watched Fox News and Britt Hume, Director of the Washington Bureau for Fox, had a simple comment for Tiger Woods. He advised Tiger to accept the Redemption and Forgiveness of Jesus Christ and to follow Him. My jaw dropped and tears sprang to my eyes as I cheered, for he had just expressed my prayer for this young man as well. That was one most unusual moment in time.
Wow, that is very cool, Sandy!