Tiger Woods and Disposable Gods
Robert C. Koehler
(c) M. Ryder
Read the tabs -- watch the tube -- if you want to know how a society that has lost its religiosity can still engage with the deities. The eerily appropriate term "celebrity worship" is evidence of the extent to which we've improved on Greek culture: We've invented disposable gods.
Tiger, Tiger . . .
I take our media obsession with
"Tiger lifted up his shirt . . . so that the troopers could discern if he had any additional injuries after his SUV crash." Ah, our national right to know, as purveyed by hollywoodgossip.com. "The meeting took place four days after the post-
"The Greek gods may seem all-too human to us." This is how the phenomenon is described in a classical lit syllabus from
I'm starting to fear that Western civilization, of which
Even as we push forward technologically, we're thrashing about ever more desperately in spiritual stagnation.
Start with ignorance and hubris, stir in a huge dollop of irony, and you, too, can make a fool of yourself just like
I also begin to discern a larger agenda at work here. Our Tabloid Olympus does indeed serve a higher purpose, or perhaps a variety of higher purposes. Remember when the Bush administration gave us a celebrity enemy named Saddam, whom we were encouraged to hate on a first-name basis? This was, of course, in lieu of actual (rational) foreign policy.
And consider: Just as many if not most of our celebrity heroes turn out, like Tiger, to have flies that buzz secretly around their pristine personas, Saddam -- the "Saddam brand," you might say -- had an opposite sort of flaw: no WMD, no link to Osama. But he served his purpose anyway, just as Tiger continues to do.
Whereas the creation of the Greek gods was a collective cultural enterprise, slowly evolving over the millennia in the embellishments of poets and storytellers, the creation of disposable gods is a sophisticated, cynicism-steeped business operation. The turnaround is quick and merciless.
How nice, but perhaps something deeper is driving their loyalty. The Sentinel quotes a professor in the
And at last we get closer to our
Tiger's Woeful Tales: Tiger Woods Scandal
The accident occurred as the tabloid and celebrity media were reporting the first of what has become more than a dozen reported mistresses with whom Woods has allegedly had relations during his marriage. Comedians are having a field day. On a Top Ten list of ways Woods could improve his image, David Letterman suggested, 'Release list of women he did not have sex with.'
What Was Tiger Thinking?: Tiger Woods Scandal
Rejected first draft of a statement by Tiger Woods prepared for his Web site.
Be Grateful for Tiger Woods Affair -- It Reminds Us He's Human
John A. Farrell
Is Tiger conceited? Yup. But no more so than any other preternatural talent I have met in a career of chronicling athletes, actors, politicians, and other public figures. Fame has a terrifyingly corrosive effect on the soul.
Expensive Lesson: Gun is Not a Joke - Gilbert Arenas
Leonard Pitts Jr.
A gun is not a joke. Maybe Gilbert Arenas gets that now. But look at what it cost him to learn: his NBA livelihood, his reputation, maybe his freedom. But even at that, you could argue that Gilbert Arenas is a lucky man.
When Good Athletes Behave Badly - Gilbert Arenas
Over the years I have often had the pleasure of introducing my son to significant people as politically diverse as Barack Obama and Pat Buchanan. (Welcome to my world, kid.) He turned the tables on me one day in his early teens when he rushed across Washington's Reagan National Airport to introduce himself to basketball star Gilbert Arenas.
The principal goal of the BCS is not and never was to fairly determine a national champion. It was designed to maximize revenue for its members while limiting true competition. That makes it a cartel. If you ask me, they can still call it the BCS -- just change the words to Bowl Cartel Series.
College Football Playoff Would Increase Problems
Should there be four teams? Eight? Sixteen? Wherever a line is drawn, excluded teams will inevitably start clamoring to enlarge the playoffs. That's exactly what has happened with the NCAA basketball, March Madness has grown from eight teams to 65 teams and now is under pressure to expand to 96. Joe Barton's playoff idea turns out to be more of a problem than a solution.
(c) 2010 Robert C. Koehler