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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Was it having to look so good that made Tiger go so bad?

A couple of weeks ago Tiger Woods was the ultimate straight arrow in the eyes of the world . He didn't often go looking for personal publicity but when he did it was to project an image of a devoted family man that would have brought a blush to the cheek of Ned Flanders. How that's all changed. In just two weeks we've travelled from brief fling through string of cocktail waitresses to group sex with prostitutes at breathtaking velocity. In the infidelity stakes this equates to 0-60 in about three seconds. However he emerges from this - and the signs are that he'll soon go "on the sofa" to throw himself on the sponsor's mercy - it won't be as a straight arrow. The public doesn't like being trifled with in this manner much more than his wife does.

I'm reminded of River Phoenix, who projected an image of a clean-living, saint-like figure who probably thought vegetables were screaming when they were pulled out of the ground and then died on the pavement of Hollywood Babylon's main drag after taking a lethal cocktail of drugs at a seedy rock club. Obviously only small children think public personalities are the same as private ones but they're usually *based* on the private one. They're not a complete contradiction of everything the image supposedly stand for. Maybe they were both trying to respond to the market's need for perfect role models, which is something that men in particular have trouble with. They are expected to evince attitudes that weren't expected of earlier generations of men. Men of my father's generation simply had to appear strong and silent. Sporting heroes of the past weren't called upon to cry in public and to dedicate goals to newly-born babies. I think a lot of this is a hollow pantomime. Maybe it's the pressure of trying to appear so very, very good that makes them go so spectacularly bad.