From Tiger Accident to Incident, shame on us

Screen shot 2009-11-29 at 9.07.54 AMThree years ago I wrote this post including the same graphic. The graphic is as meaningful to me today, if not more so, as it was then.

This post is not a speculative commentary about the recent news swirling around Tiger Woods. Instead, it’s a commentary – and a sad one at that – about the seemingly insatiable appetite people have for not just wanting to observe, but for psychologically wanting to “get-off” gawking at the plight of others.

Current events imploding upon Tiger Woods could happen to Joe Blow and nobody would know, notice, or care.

Fine, I get it that Tiger is, well Tiger. I am not suggesting the issue could or should go unreported. But it’s a little more than idle curiosity when half, if not more than half of those following the Tiger story are secretly hoping, if not outrightly cheering along at the prospect of the more salacious outcome. Would we wish the same for Joe Blow?

On Friday afternoon I was driving back from a business meeting in Toronto when shortly after 2pm 680 News was reporting that “Tiger Woods had been in a car accident and was seriously injured.” I admit that within seconds I was on the phone to my good golfing buddy, Ross, to inform him of the news. Difference is, not for a millisecond was I thinking, let alone hoping, this was, or would turn into, a so-called sex-scandal.

Not dissimilar to when I heard the first bits of emerging news about Michael Jackson, when I heard Tiger had been in a car accident I was immediately and immensely concerned for the wellbeing of the person who represents everything he does to a game so near and dear to my heart. It was both a selfish concern I may never see Tiger play again, and a more genuine concern that harms way might have come to a person for whom – while I have never met – I feel a certain sense of friendship and familiarity.

In that instant while on the phone with Ross, I was informing and sharing with a close friend who I know feels the same about golf and Tiger, that something tragic could be in the making.

Tragic indeed.

However the tragedy is no longer about Tiger sustaining physical injuries from a car accident, but rather the ever-growing and incalculable damage that is being [deliberately] inflicted as we breathe, speak, and type.

To the business of Media, and everything good and bad that would flow from it, the salacious versus the innocent outcome is worth hundreds if not thousands of times more than say Anna-Nicole, MJ, OJ, or Monica. Nearly every outlet from the relatively little-known 680 News, to TMZ, to Larry King’s CNN can’t wait to take their best shot at destroying Tiger, but above all, the image of Tiger.

Like everyone else, will I watch and observe this story, a story that has all the makings of “the story of the year?” Of course I will.

But where possible I will also pass along the best piece of advice given by Liam Neeson’s character in the 1995 movie Rob Roy; “…brother, bad enough that it might be so without you wishing it.”

This entry was posted in Golf, Rant and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to From Tiger Accident to Incident, shame on us

  1. The Romans had their Circus, we have celebrity baiting. And why these celebrities enjoy such a hold over the broadcast media, and our ‘affections’ is beyond me. It is truly a world ‘through the looking glass’. I cannot think of a more boring pasttime than watching the painful details of ‘celebrity’ foibles unfolding on the screen. I think I will turn off the broadcast news again, while the PR industry consumes and trashes it’s own product for awhile.

    • danbaril says:

      Bluegreen, I don’t disagree with you. But the blame in part has to rest with those who are only to happy to consume (read as demand) the smut in the first place as a form of entertainment. What may be a “boring pastime” for you is what, for a majority of others, is their only pastime. To those who produce the stuff, they live by the adage “the audience is never wrong.” That it passes for journalism is what’s scary.

  2. I don’t doubt anymore that the concentration of ownership of mass media has had a big impact on the commoditisation of public image. Those who package produce, and sell image are no less involved in packaging the news, and culture, and basically the mass media ‘space’ that as you pointed out is the only pasttime for large swathes of the population. There is little to choose between news and noise. It is an industry waiting for the cue to pile onto any sort of noise, whip up the ‘story’ and sell lots of advertising. It sucks! The response is, of course, the devaluation and erosion of mass media outlets. Blogs like yours’ mine, and ten million others are eating market share with actual, not pre-fabbed content. I guess, and hope that this is the way forward, to re-capture the minds eye of the populace, and revert to a more ‘real’ interactive, and splintered public space.

Comments are closed.