Pound of flesh, whipping boy, whatever. Enough already.

April 9, 2010

As a people, seems to me we’re a little confused.

Our political leadership’s tastes run toward kinky sex clubs and prostitutes. Sexual themes pervade all aspects of our pop culture, from music to film and more. Internet porn sites are the most viewed on the Web.

Our society’s sexual tastes are racing so far to the edge that if the world were flat, I’d expect them to fall right off into the abyss.

And yet, we can’t beat up Tiger Woods enough for his sexual and moral transgressions. Tiger can’t do enough penance to satiate us. We Americans like our pound of flesh and in this case, it’s not just a pound, it’s a ton.

So let’s break it down. What exactly happened?

He cheated on his wife.
Well, not to minimize it, but lots of people cheat. People are imperfect. Cheating happens. He’s no different than millions of people all over the world. It’s not to be admired, but seems to me that the cheating issue is between him and his wife. The guy’s a golfer, not a paragon of virtue. Why do we need endless news conferences and public apologies? The two of them need to figure out where THEY go from here. Privately.

He was disrespectful to the women he cheated with.
So look. These were adult women. They knew who he was. They knew he was married. They chose to get involved, be treated like crap and then many of them chose their payoff and their 15 minutes of infamy. Women are only treated as badly as they let themselves be treated. And in this case, many of them were compensated. Well. Yes, he was a jerk. But if we all had to repent incessantly for being jerks we’d be on our knees a very long time. And not in a good way. I say that if you’re an adult woman, you’re responsible for your own choices.

He had an obligation to the sport.
Tiger had an obligation to play the sport, not to represent the golf industry’s morality or even to support the golf industry. Which, by the way, as a huge draw, he single-handedly supported in recent years. But the fact that audiences were drawn to his talent doesn’t imbue him with any obligation to the sport. He’s an individual athlete. Not a member of a team. The sport benefited from his talent for a very long time. That’s the good. But the pendulum swings both ways. He’s human. So I’d like to tell golf to suck it up.

He was a role model to young people.
There are no role models today. People are only human and today’s media machine makes their frailties known instantly and widely. Was Babe Ruth a paragon of virtue? No, but kids didn’t know it. Same with JFK. Any parent today who encourages idolization of any figure: sports, musical, political is just plain misguiding their kids.

And now, Nike’s latest Tiger ad. To me, just another flogging. This time, it’s meant to help Nike resurrect his spokesman credibility.

The ad is just plain inappropriate, but is another example of how warped we’ve become. Using his late father’s voice is bad enough, but the irony is that Tiger’s Dad was a big fukc-around, himself. So how credible is that?

I had no sympathy for Tiger at the beginning. He definitely needed a dose of humility.

But now I think we’ve all had as many pounds of flesh as we need to have. He’s been whipped enough.

And frankly, from here on out, regardless of the number of new women who crop up, he ought to tell everyone he’ll no longer address the issue.

He should say that he’s going to play his sport, handle his personal life privately, and if they want anything else they can all just go to hell.

And I hope he does.

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