Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tiger redux: Hypocrisy in the desert

From the time the Tiger Woods tsunami first hit, this much was clear:

It wasn’t the sex, it was the hypocrisy.

It still is. If you really want to buy that apology, I've got a used Ford Pinto that might interest you.

In the first place, is there really such a thing as “sex addiction?” If there is, then 82.9 per cent of all males between 15 and 65 are in need of a 12-step facility. The only difference between us and Tiger is opportunity.

Speaking strictly for myself here, I don't devote a major portion of my day to fighting off super models.

I can’t speak for the other gender but given the number of women linked to Woods, I’d say that roughly 78.5 per cent of adult females are also sex addicts. I can understand why they would throw themselves at Tiger Woods: Good looks, money, fame, adulation and a reputation as a real Tiger in the sack.

What about the hundreds (thousands?) of women who throw themselves at the likes of the vandalized Dennis Rodman? Have you seen the video of Rodman walking through an airport with women rushing up to whisper in his ear and tuck phone numbers in his pocket? What are they thinking?

OK, OK. We know what they're thinking. Off to the 12-step with every last one.

But the hypocrisy is astounding. Tiger Woods. Us. The whole culture.

It’s bizarre, really. We are a society saturated in sex. You can’t step out the door without running smack into a billboard featuring creamy thighs and lace, or a 12-year-old girl on her way to school dressed the way hookers on the Lower Main and every tweenie publication is drenched in the subject that has obsessed Cosmopolitan for 30 years: S-E-X!!! S-E-X!!! AND MORE S-E-X!!

Even The relentlessly self-promoting Beyonce knows where "it" is at. Beyonce actually won a Grammy Award for a song so dumb, you must have a full frontal lobotomy for anyone wishing to endure it from beginning to end. The refrain, repeated ad nauseam? “If you like it, you should a put a ring on it, if you like it, you should a put a ring on it, if you like it, you should a put a ring on it …”

Yup. “It.” And the “it” to which Beyonce unmistakably refers is not her finger but a bodacious booty which would require a ring the size of a hula hoop. Encrusted with diamonds, natch. I agree, that is one fine fanny: but if she really must sing about “it,” could she not favour us with a tune which does not pre-suppose functional idiocy?

Of course, it's all one with the culture. Marching in lock-step. Commercialized sex and slick hypocrisy. And yet, running parallel to this sexual madness is a streak of rigid, stiff-necked, puritanical stuffiness. Don’t teach sex education in the schools. Don’t allow contraception. And heavens to Betsy, don't show us Janet Jackson's nipple (eek! A nipple!) on national television during a Super Bowl halftime.

And above all, the hypocrite's favorite commandment: Thou Shalt Not Stray. Never mind that nine-tenths of every television drama is built around exactly that, from the insipid (Desperate Housewives) to the magnificent (Mad Men.)

Just as I don’t believe there is really such a thing as sex addiction, I also don’t believe there is really a cure. The first time a Tiger Woods in a hotel on the road after a long day on the links is confronted with a knock on the door and a pantherish young lady with an appetite, he does what nature dictates. He always has, he always will, no matter what phony apology he has to cobble together for public consumption.

If Woods really feels he must apologize (and I don’t believe he owes an apology for his sexual behavior to anyone but his wife) can he not find a way to apologize for the hypocrisy? For the real well-spring behind his behaviour, which is not an addiction to sex but an addiction to money? For trotting forth a public persona which bears no resemblance whatsoever to the shady Tiger Woods?

Seriously? Why does anyone have to apologize for sex, especially in a society which is obsessed with the subject from cradle to grave? If not for sex, after all, we wouldn’t be here. Granted, that might be a boon to our planet, but it wouldn’t help the ratings for Charlie Sheen’s insipid non-comedy Two And A Half Men, based on the sort of snickering, eight-grade male obsession with sex that is a staple of prime-time American television.

(Speaking of sex addicts, why don’t we get a major public apology from Sheen, who in addition to his frequent extracurricular excursions is also guilty of smacking females around from time to time? So far as we know, Woods didn’t hit anyone, which in my eyes makes him a virtual saint next to the likes of Charlie Sheen.)

I do believe Tiger Woods owes the world an apology. He should apologize for Nike. Apologize for Buick. Apologize for deliberately attempting to take the attention away from a golf tournament sponsored by Accenture. Apologize for his obsession with money and money and more money, on a planet where tens of millions of people are starving, habitat is shrinking, oceans are rising and daily life for more than half the individuals on this earth is an unending round of misery.

But apologize for sex? Not necessary. Unless the only thing you are really thinking about is how to climb back on the money carousel as soon as possible.


  1. This is so good, that I decided to quote it in my scholarly work. Thank you for looking at things with honesty, an endangered faculty.