Tiger Woods Loses ‘Superman’ Status as United States Becomes a Nation Scorned
The recent car accident involving Tiger Woods and the ensuing scandal that has befallen him has brought extraordinary attention to one of the most talented athletes of all time. No other golfer in the history of the sport has captured the imaginations of such a wide audience on the planet. Tiger Woods is a brand name.
What started off as a single car crash in Tiger’s own neighbourhood in the early morning hours has erupted into a media feeding frenzy, based upon at first one, then numerous other alleged affairs from Tiger’s girlfriends around the globe.
Tiger has avoided the media as expected, but the weight of the evidence of these affairs is overwhelming, and has been followed by quick retaliations from his sponsors. Nike, Gatorade and Gillette, to name a few, have predictably terminated their promotional contracts with Tiger. His career is in a downward spiral.
The response in America is banal. The country worships its heroes and loves to put them on a pedestal. They become American idols, Gods, and their celebrity status creates the attention that drives consumption. The media grinds out the stories and pictures constantly; the advertisers have paid Tiger as much as $90 million per year in endorsements. The fans admire his accomplishments, and the excellence he represents.
Therefore, when something bad happens and the hero makes a mistake, it’s like the defeat of Superman in a comic book. The whole country takes it personally. They let themselves become victimized, and their adulation turns to hate.
But even this turn of events creates more media options. The comedy shows ridicule him and his wife, the newspapers and tabloids have a field day with the juicy gossip and innuendo, and the traffic on Facebook and Twitter is off the charts.
So, what’s really at the heart of this issue?
First of all, the Tiger Woods scandal is America’s worst nightmare.
Tiger’s affairs have become the butt of jokes around the world, and those who have idolized him will suffer the most. The sufferers blame Tiger for his indiscretions, his betrayal to his family and particularly his wife. Mostly everyone agrees that Tiger has blackened his own reputation, and that he is guilty of being unfaithful. Agreed.
But it’s the reaction of America that is worth mentioning. Remember the Janet Jackson incident on television when one of her breasts popped out during her live performance. There was a terrible outrage when this happened. The Senate convened hearings into this matter immediately, and politicians of all stripes were spouting off about ‘improprieties’ and ‘indignities.’
You have to wonder from where this righteous indignation comes, and why the U.S. would go to such lengths to punish a network for something relatively benign. The Europeans didn’t get too worked up about the incident, and many found it amusing.
But such incidents go to the heart of the American psyche that still lives the big illusion. They want everyone in the world to think they are squeaky clean, and that their heroes and idols are not capable of having affairs and betraying their families. When something exposes the fragility of that belief, the American public goes berserk. It can’t handle the truth.
Tiger has created a huge financial empire for himself at a young age and he represents the consummate American Dream. But in a way the Dream is an illusion as well, because Tiger Woods is a human being made of flesh and blood just like the rest of us.
His career has created enormous wealth and power for himself, which at a certain level breeds corruption and selfishness, and a sense of entitlement that the wealthy take for granted. Relationships can be engineered in the blink of an eye when someone has this amount of power.
Despite what he has done, Tiger Woods is still the greatest golfer in the world. We can’t take that away from him.
Letters to the Editor are the opinion of the writer and do not reflect the views or opinions of The Cornwall Free News, its staff, or sponsors.
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