Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tiger Woods & Celebrity Culture

I hadn't particularly followed or got too worked up about the Tiger Woods hype because we've seen so much of it before. Wealthy famous athlete apparently starts to believe his own "you can do anything" routine, steps out on his wife one or more times, scandal erupts when it's discovered, and everyone is shocked and appalled someone they'd made a hero turned out to be human.

(I'm not going to use the phrase role model because unless we're talking about how to fulfill the role of pro golfer, Tiger wasn't modeling any particular role... He's an extremely talented athlete, and paid endorser for several products. That doesn't mean he's actually an expert on razor blades or shaving technology, of course, just that he is paid to speak on behalf of Gillette products, and presumably uses the products he endorses. But there's no other role-modeling, or moral example, involved.)

Conor Friesdersdorf over at the Daily Dish has a thoughtful post up about what it all means and why the people screaming that Tiger gave up any claim to privacy when he stepped in front of a camera are wrong.

Let the man, and his family, have some space. If he's willing to take time off from golf, meaning he's giving up tournament income and putting his endorsement income at risk--Gillette has already cut him back--to deal with his family and the pain he's caused them, I certainly can't fault him. People freaking out about this need to take a deep breath. As Conor points out, he doesn't owe us anything beyond using the products he's endorsing. He's made some bad relationship choices, and things have come home to roost. He's taking time to deal with it, and doesn't want a media circus in the middle of it.

Good for him.