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December 4, 2009

Who Tiger Let Down More Than Anyone

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(photos: Getty Images, AP)

  • http://keepittrill.blogspot.com/ Kit (Keep It Trill)

    Nice point.

  • bystander

    What happens when you commodify a human being? The skills that attract the public and the sponsors don’t exist without the human being who posses them. And, when the human is altogether predictably human, what happens to the commodity? And, the commodities that have hitched themselves to the human commodity? Is there a warranty that the public and Tiger’s sponsors now get to make a claim against? Or, is it that the public makes the claim on the sponsor’s warranty and the sponsor is required to shift into damage control on a product recall?
    There are only two stories I’ve found worth reading on the Tiger’s fall from grace because they say more about the media, and human commodification via sponsorship than Tiger, and in that way, tell us something about ourselves, and the way we allow ourselves to be manipulated.

  • tekel

    oh, I must have missed the part where Chevron and Nike and Gatorade and Coke and Buick and every other brand dropped their Tiger endorsements. Because that’s what happens when a guy fucks around on his wife, right? He loses his product endorsement deals?
    Oh wait, you mean they DIDN’T drop their endorsements?
    Of course they didn’t. Have you ever BEEN to the Nike campus in Beaverton? They have an entire g0ddamn building named after Tiger. They have a tee box and a putting green built into the landscaping, to commemorate a drive that Tiger made when they opened the conference center.
    The putting green is right next to the Lance [never used steroids] Armstrong employee gym.
    If anyone thinks Nike is going to drop Tiger over a little cheat & beat incident, they’ve got another think coming.

  • mon_oeil

    I agree with the comment by “bystander”. Unlike other famous personalities such as Picasso, Sartre, Foucault to name only three of a multitude of others, (we could also include Polanski, which should be viewed in an entirely different category because we are talking about a crime), those whose bodies are the instrument of their art, craft–such as sports figures and entertainers, are under tremendous visual scrutiny as their instrument of success, their body, is the commodity. Polanski may continue to make films and rarely be seen. Picasso continues to paint, while Foucault’s transgressions may even be the basis of his philosophical writings. But Tiger Woods’ body is his instrument and how he uses it determines the extent of his success. The same may be said for Michael Jackson, perhaps even more so because he became his own construct and the visual aesthetic of his body, its form and movement, became increasing important to him, for his own personal success. I am following the unfolding of this drama with much interest. We have in the year 2009 three “black” male bodies–all crossover figures–under the global eye: Obama, Jackson, Woods.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/flyingshark1 Flyingshark

    Understanding the motivations of both parties is beyond us to comprehend, but if the reports in the media are to be believed, Tiger is also “procuring” the services of a wife for the next two to ten years, with incentive clauses for his wife staying with him.
    What really is Tiger then, if not a completely manufactured commodity housed in an incredibly talented human frame, if he also has to buy the “love” of his wife? Doesn’t all this make watching Tiger’s accomplishments that much less interesting, if watching his family’s support is also bought?

  • clf

    Picasso continues to paint? That’s news to me!

  • thomas

    Tiger surely has family, friends and supporters who, rightly or wrongly, may feel betrayed. But his corporate partners are looking at strategies for successfully managing their interests in a way that accounts for the reality of what may be happening to Tiger’s brand. It could involve cooling the relationship or tightening it up, but they’re going to be willing to consider any means by which they can best take advantage of the situation.
    But it’s hard to think of these corporations anthropomorphically “feeling” let down or disappointed in Tiger. He was such a good fit for them because he seemed to care nothing for right or wrong, only winning. And maybe that truly is the nature of his character and truly why he achieved corporate sainthood. Personally, I think being busted for ethical transgressions can be a real opportunity for human development, and this may actually force him to grow into becoming a better person in ways unrelated to winning. Who knows. But as far as the behavior of his corporate partners goes, they care about Tiger as much as they care about anybody else. Which is not at all.

  • jtfromBC

    Tigers transgressions are chump change in comparison to his sponsors, a brief glance at Chevron;
    “It is bigger than all but three (only ExxonMobil, BP and Shell are larger). It is facing the largest potential corporate liability in history ($27 billion) for causing the world’s largest oil spill in the Ecuadorian rainforest. It is the only major U.S. Corporation still operating in Burma and, with its partner Total Oil Corp., is the single largest financial contributor to the Burmese government. It is the dominant private oil producer in both Angola and Kazakhstan, with operations in both countries mired in human rights and environmental abuses. It is the only major oil company to be tried in a U.S. court on charges of mass human rights abuse, including summary execution and torture (for its operations in Nigeria).
    It is the only oil company to hire one of the Bush Administration’s “torture memo” lawyers (William J. Haynes). It is the largest and most powerful corporation in California, where it is currently being sued for conspiring to fix gasoline prices. It has led the fight to keep California as the only major oil producing state that does not tax oil when it is pumped from the ground, thereby denying the state an extra $1.5 billion annually. It is the largest industrial polluter in the Bay Area and is among the largest single corporate contributors to climate change on the planet.
    http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=15465

  • Jack

    Right on, Thomas. I hope Tiger can learn his lessons, but doubt whether his corporate partners will make any changes in their behavior.

  • mon_oeil

    Charles Blow’s “Black in the Age of Obama” reflects my sentiments very well:
    this hasn’t exactly been a good year for black men in the news. Plaxico Burress was locked up for accidentally shooting off a gun in a club. Henry Louis Gates Jr. was locked up for intentionally shooting off his mouth at his own home. And Michael Jackson died after being shot full of propofol. Chris Brown brutally beat Rihanna. Former Representative William Jefferson was convicted. And most recently, the “personal failings” of Tiger Woods portray him as an alley cat. Meanwhile, the most critically acclaimed black movie of the year, “Precious,” features a black man who rapes and twice impregnates his own daughter.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/05/opinion/05blow.html?_r=1&hp

  • mon_oeil

    If you want to get technical. But my point was to show that he continued to work as an artist during his time as his transgressions continued…

  • mon_oeil

    See my response to clf below. To clarify my statement “Picasso continues to paint”, I am discussing him as an artist during his time. I know he does not continue to paint.

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