Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Only Interesting Thing About Tiger Woods's Private Life

As always, the only interesting thing about Tiger Woods's private life is the reaction to it of the media and the public. It appears that Tiger did not meet the current standard for public apology, which requires crying as a mark of sincerity. Thus the criticism of him for being "affectless" and "robotic." He was also criticized because his speech was "scripted," which apparently means he didn't have it memorized and kept looking at the paper. (He's a golfer, for crying out loud.)

Maybe I'm biased in Tiger's favor because he said "between Elin and me" and not "between Elin and I." (Hooray for scripting.) But all this clucking about whether he was really sincere or not is just dumb. If someone gets in front of TV cameras and says, "I am a loathsome worm" (I'm paraphrasing), it seems beside the point to argue about whether he really, really means it or not.

The larger issue here is people's unshakable belief that they can judge other people's character by watching them on TV. I recall someone saying to me quite seriously that Gary Hart was not honest because he didn't look you in the eye, and people had trouble doing that when they were lying. It didn't occur to her that (a) what this really meant was that he didn't look directly at the TV camera, and it's hard to say what that signifies, (b) the better liars have no trouble at all looking you in the eye. (This is a somewhat touchy issue for me, because I have always had trouble looking people in the eye-- it feels aggressive to me-- and I consider myself more honest than average.) Conversely, someone I know watched the candidates debate and came away convinced of John Edwards's integrity and honesty, which turned out to be a less than accurate judgment.

Get over it, people. Actions speak louder, or at least truer, than a good drama coach. In fact, words speak louder than a good drama coach. If you're not careful, you'll end up with an actor as President.

(Oh, and two btws: Why did the Fox News clip on the Internet cut out Tiger's reference to Buddhism, after Fox broadcast Brit Hume's slighting reference? And what's with pronouncing "Elin" with a long E? That's so unScandinavian.)

No comments:

Post a Comment