Thursday, April 8, 2010

Washington Post Sports Writer Likens Tiger Woods' Infidelity to Bank Robbery

Thomas Boswell, a sports writer for the Washington Post, is agonizing over the possibility that Tiger Woods will win the Masters. Boswell says that a Woods victory would come too quickly after his recent sex scandal:
If Tiger Woods wins the Masters on Sunday after all the damage he's done to golf, I plan to rob a bank on Monday; maybe then I'll win a Pulitzer Prize.
Will the madness ever end? Robbing a bank is a crime; there are always victims; it inherently involves force and coercion. Having consensual sex is not a crime; neither is it coercive or violent.

Bowell's article is riddled with platitudes and moralizing.  Boswell also lets the reader know that he feels that Woods disappointed him.  Well, I feel let down by people in the media (like Boswell) who should know that "heroes" are products of social construction and that no one is infallible under any complex set of social norms. Boswell was a fool to allow the squeaky clean narrative around Woods to convince him that Tiger only had sex with his wife. Boswell (and many others) was woefully naive.

Also, Boswell's article, like the Woods scandal itself, reveals America's silly and contradictory uneasiness with sexuality.  There are so many other things besides having consensual sex that Woods could have done to anger me. The sex thing really does not impact me at all. It strikes me as an issue for him and his family to address and analyze.

But in the United States, people like to pretend that most sex is dirty. To Boswell, having sex outside of the traditional heterosexual marital setting makes Woods flawed and unworthy of future accomplishments and praise. Dirty sex is like committing a violent crime.  At the same time, however, Americans are avid consumers of sex and sexual imagery. This country's bipolar cultural treatment of sexuality is dizzying -- and riddled with hypocrisy.

See also: Oh the Hypocrisy: Augusta Chair Rebukes Tiger Woods.


Alessandro Machi said...

I would say Tiger Woods is more like Robin Hood. Tiger Woods, by AVOIDING the media for so many year by being married, did us all a HUGE FAVOR because we never read about his romantic exploits.

If Tiger had remained single, every social move he made would have been the topic of media discussion and infiltration. I know it sounds strange, but when someone goes undercover and saves us from having to read about their sexual exploits every week, they are actually doing us a HUGE FAVOR.

Tiger Woods is an accidental hero for being great on the golf course and behind the scenes for soooo many years regarding his love life.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Hey, Alessandro: thanks for the commentary. Check out my post on the Augusta club saying Tiger Woods let them down as a role model, when they refuse to allow women to play.....

liberal dissent said...

Actually just like adultery and the Masters, bank robbery and the Pulitzer aren't necessarily mutually exclusive. They're not morality prizes.

liberal dissent said...

And may I point out Norman Mailer stabbed his wife (worse than adultery and arguably worse than bank robbery) and subsequently won the Pulitzer.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

LD: Thanks! That was another burning issue for me -- Boswell seems to imply that the Masters is decided by a committee vote - rather than skill of the competitors.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Tiger was single for a good long time, and we did not hear about his exploits.

That said, I really can't believe the argument you are using, Darren. You are not drawing any distinction at all between casual sex between single people and infidelity. That's what makes the Tiger Woods story a big deal. If he weren't married, the media wouldn't blink an eye.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Peacocksandlillies: I am not drawing a distinction because for purposes of admiring Tiger as an athlete or the generic term "role model," I don't think the distinctions matter. The fact that he had sex with women other than his wife is not material to me.

As for the media, I suspect that if a bunch of women said that they had slept with Tiger, they still would have made a big deal about it -- particularly, given the salacious details that some of the women have offered. I would never under-appreciate the ability of the media to turn nothing into something.

FLRN said...

Darren - I have to think on this a bit, because quite simply Tiger Woods has had little impact on me - I cannot safely say the same about my children who for whatever reason seem to know details about his life that leave me beyond surprised as our family does not follow golf at all.
Endorsements and athletic skill aside, what we really have is a young man with a fantastic gift who made bad choices ultimately played out the in public forum. I did not sleep with him so he has nothing to apologize for to me. If others chose to deify him because of his gift, and now find a macabre fascination linking his sex performance with his extraordinary golf athletic ability then there is something missing in the media today - substance and news.
On the flip side...By most reports Mr. Woods is a fool, foolish and misguided and has a future perhaps as a poster child for "bad decisions" however you have the right of it his disappointments and actions are family issues. Infidelity does bother me I do not support it in role models, friends, or colleagues - thankfully Mr. Woods is none of these to me and truthfully most Americans. The sexual conduct as described by Tiger Woods himself in his singular media appearance does seem a pathological course of self-destruction and I for one wish the media would turn of the flow of reporting surrounding his life as it has no useful bearing on ours.

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Group equal to represent that most sex is bespattered. To Protagonist, having sex part of the tralatitious someone matrimonial scene makes Woods flawed and meritoriousness of later accomplishments and praise. Soil sex is same committing a rampages crime. At the duplicate moment, nevertheless, Americans are enthusiastic consumers of sex and sexy imagery. This region's bipolar cultural communicating of sexuality is dizzying -- and riddled with pretense.

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