... It's about us. I've steered clear of commenting on this, because I really have better things to think about than an unfaithful golfer (not a real sport, by the way), staggering though his unfaithfulness might have been. But now I find myself interested - not in Tiger, he still bores me - but in everyone who is interested in Tiger. In The Philosopher and the Wolf, I talked about how vicious we apes are, and I got a lot of flak for it. But there is no better illustration of what I was talking about than the Tiger Woods affair.
Why does anyone care? Why does anyone think it is any of their business? Hanging on every word of his show trial confession: was his contrition sincere, or wasn't it. How many of Joe and Jane Q Public had a camera stuck in their face and asked precisely this. And they all had any opinion. They all cared. Was his confession 'staged"? Well, of course it bloody was: there were cameras for God's sake. Contrary to what he said, Woods let no one down except his wife. She's the only one to whom he promised, presumably, to forsake all others. Consequently, it's the business of nobody except Woods and his wife. This fascination, this faux moral outrage, is really all about power. For a little while at least, we can look down on, and feel superior to, someone who is, so I'm told, a rather good golfer, and consequently, in this world gone mad, extraordinarily rich. The ape in us likes seeing the powerful suffer since it makes us feel better about our own little lives. Is he sincere? Let's decide he's not and make him suffer some more.
This brings me to what really puzzles me. Why does Woods cooperate? Why not simply tell everyone to f**k off and mind their own business? I can understand when some sleazy politician feels the need to confess his numerous extra-marital sins and beg for forgiveness. His livelihood rests on getting people to like him. Or at least vote for him. That's why the wronged better half usually plays ball too. But Tiger doesn't need anyone to like him - he just needs to be better at golf than they are. The sponsors won't touch Tiger now, I hear. And Elin will take vast swathes of his fortune in the divorce settlement, I'm told. But even after all of this, he'll still be rich beyond the wildest dreams of most of us (and I can have some pretty wild dreams). How much money do you actually need in a single lifetime? And, if short of a little pocket money, he can always go back to beating everyone on the golf circuit and pocketing the prize money (or at least a portion thereof established in the divorce courts). I always thought the best thing about having money - once you get above a certain threshold practically the only good reason really - is so that you don't have to give a crap what people think about you; and don't have to indulge their petty jealousies and desire to seek revenge on you for whatever is wrong in their lives. Tiger has lost the plot in more ways than one.
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