What was Tiger Woods doing at 2:30 AM? And what was his wife Elin Nordegren Woods doing with that golf club? Was this a case of a couple going to play midnight-miniature golf gone terribly awry? Had it slipped Tiger's mind that Elin wanted to join him? These are the burning issues facing America—and the world—on day 213 of the Tiger Woods crisis.
If, by chance, you are one of the eleven Americans who hasn’t heard about Tiger driving over a fire hydrant at the end of his driveway in the wee hours of the night and his wife smashing a car window with a golf club in an apparent effort to “help him out,” then you likely aren’t reading this blog, since you live someplace without electricity and running water.
There’s nothing new about the general public (us) being fascinated with wealthy, famous people’s misfortune and personal problems, but this case seems particularly ridiculous—and when I use that word I am talking about our overreaction, not the Woods family. As my friend and harmonica student Bob Mayer put it, “This happens to thousands of families every weekend.” This, I suppose, is exactly why it is so nice to have one of the Gods having a tough time—it distracts us from our own woes.
Of course you may belong to a family where no one ever fights or does anything self-destructive or stupid. But television’s Anderson and Huxtable families aside, the rest of us live in a more compromised setting.
Maybe this 24/7-obsessive-confessional-exposure-gotcha culture is a good thing. Maybe we’ll reach a saturation point where every single person in the country (except those eleven who live alone in the woods) will have been exposed as being just another clay-footed, flawed human being. Then, perhaps, we can stop gossiping about other people’s shortcomings and misfortunes while we neurotically conceal our own, and we can instead focus on solving real problems: fixing our education and health care systems, addressing injustice and hunger, moving this country to a new energy policy that doesn’t contribute to the real crisis of global warming.
I'm not holding my breath.