Saturday, December 19, 2009

Tiger, Tiger

I’ve never gotten the whole deification of sporting types. Isn’t the worshipping of physical prowess a fairly primitive state of human development? Maybe this is why it’s such a guy thing, the baseball-worshipping boy who never, ever grows up. And Tiger Woods? What’s up with that? So he plays a great game of golf. Who cares?

Actually, I’m glad he’s in retreat. I hope he doesn’t come back, or at least not as the same immoral monster he has been. No, I’m not referring to his womanizing here, that’s just entertainment for the celebrity industry, the new opium. I’m referring to his cold silence, the silence over his partnership with Nike, an empire built on debased and brutalized labor; his partnership with Chevron, a company smeared with the blood of the Burmese; his partnership with the autocrats in Dubai; his sickening acquiescence to segregated golf courses. It was interesting to note that of all his sponsors, most of whom dropped him like a hot potato, it was the sweatshop-masters and the Gulf bandits who stood by their man. With friends like these, who needs the devil on speed dial? Did you know that in the Philippines, Woods was bought in, for an undisclosed fee, to publicize a golf course whose developers, in forcibly removing thousands of people who lived on the site, ended up murdering three of them? No, you probably didn’t: Tiger has been god-like, unapproachable, un-reportable, at least until recently, when the bimbos started to break like a clutch of baby rabbits under a red-tail. His defenders say he’s not political. Bullshit. His life, like all of ours (what we do and don’t do does count), is political, only in his case it's the politics of enormous wealth (those are the politics that count). Until his wife’s lawyers get at him, Woods is a billionaire. And as Henry James said during our last Gilded Age, such fortunes are built on terrible things. Is it any wonder the hubristic golfer thought little of the consequences of boinking the groupies?

Golf courses, by the way, are environmental disasters, obscene wastes of water that are sprayed with massive amounts of herbicides, with the toxic runoff leached out, as usual, to the peasantry.

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