Tiger, Tiger....one of the most curious things about your apology to the known cosmos came at its conclusion, when you said you hoped that one day we could believe in you again.
No thinking person has ever lost a skerrick of “belief” in you. You are a golf player. Repeat - golf, player. You play a game which is for some reason of global appeal, with its preppie outfits and campy golf carts, a pastime favoured by presidents and CEOs, and men who like wearing cuff-links and sea captain caps, and women in slacks, and in the pursuit of which tracts of forest are razed for acres of heavily watered ever-clipped lawn, flapping with little flags. Funny old game really, but it’s human - like sex for instance.
As golf players go you are one of the best, if not the best. Any loss of belief should be more the ongoing one in the society around you, the one that has medicalised your desire for sex addition into “sex addiction”, dubbed you a narcissist and all the rest of it. After all, who but a mirror-staring monster would ever want a bit more sex in their lives?
Not long ago you were striding the course, a young man in the pink on the green. Now as you give your televised apology, you look like you’ve been clubbed with a sand wedge. You appear brainwashed, drugged and wounded, which you no doubt are after weeks of “treatment” at the hands of the Senior Anti Sex League, which has made you endure tortures as terrible as being forced to listen to whole State of the Union speeches by George W. Bush, while a stripper pole dances in front of you, all in the purpose of shrivelling your desire to the McNugget that is church and sponsor approved.
You have been put on trial by that vapid, venal and ever hypocritical beast, the media, its “values” ever more closely dicktated by US Christian Fundamentalist Right. But for what have you been tried? What is your crime? Did you rob a shop, diddle your taxes, attack your spouse with a golf club? No. Your offence was to betray the trust of your wife by having sex with other women without her knowledge. It is, in other words, a matter entirely and exclusively between the two of you, and of no legitimate concern to others except as gossip and juicy trivia - and for the media, sensational profit.
The words “role model for the young” are inevitably recited, usually by advertising types who have drafted your various product endorsements, but was it your goal in life to be a public saint - or to be good at golf? And who better to preach about moral values and the dangers of booze and womanising than the original Mad Men? As for politicians preaching, nuff said.
Who then is there to cast the first stone? A multitude, the media would have us believe, from the snug, smug safety of their living room armchair, deep in the maw of their quiet sexless desperation, in the thrall of what Wilhelm Reich called “the mass psychology of fascism”.
When anything really bad happens to us short of death - divorce, disease, financial wipeout - well-meaning friends line up with homilies to help us through, viz “One door closes, another opens”, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, “you will grow though this”. But the two which have become most common in more recent times are “everything happens for a reason”, and “shit happens”.
“Everything happens for a reason” appeals to hippies, New Age types and the religious, as it implies a higher purpose behind everything - that our lives, as difficult as they might seem at the time, are being controlled from just off camera by a divine being in a director’s chair. “Yes Tiger, I had you agonisingly stub your toe, but so that you could grow a new, stronger nail. It’s all written down here in my script for you. Which I will never show you. Next scene!”
“Shit happens” appeals to real estate agents and used car salesmen as it means they don’t have to take responsibility for their actions. Our woe and angst can instead be put down to the meaninglessness we all face on the moral stage, that universe of dark and terrifying freedom mapped by Nietzsche, Sartre, Camus and Beckett.
You are now being told by a legion of psychiatrists, psychotherapists, drug-peddling doctors, church leaders, politicians, news editors and, yes, journalists, that there is something terribly wrong with your desire for sex - your, yes, sex drive. They will also be telling you that the good news is that everything happens for a reason, and that when one door closes another opens, and that you will grow through this humiliation and public shaming, all this mindfucking “therapy”. The sad truth is that shit happens when sex, media and money come together in an unholy orgasm, an orgy of self-serving, self-righteous cant and bile, with the horrid undertones, subtle but there, and doubtless deeply satisfying to the white Christian Right, of the black man who "cannot control himself".
Can a black man be greatest golfer there ever was? Can a black man be president? Sadly there are so many who would wish it not so.
Tiger, Tiger, burn bright.