I guess the question is . . . why? If the answer is Tiger Woods is a role model, than I ask, to whom? Ah, yes, the pious hand-wringing and bleating about the children, which I guess points to the basic maturity level of the average CEO. Those are Tiger’s kids.
He makes a lot of money playing golf, and because he plays golf well he makes a lot of money endorsing products. Golf is a fun game to play, but who other than a CEO could watch it on TV or at a tournament? Golf as a professional sport is professional only in that the players are paid by the advertising sponsors. In other words, golf as a media event exists as a vehicle for advertising.
If I’m trying to write music on paper and wish I had a better pencil, one that held a point longer and still easily gave me a full, dark line, and Eliot Carter had an add saying: “This is what I use,” I’d give it a try, because it’s an actual tool and I would at least be curious about what he uses. But if Tiger endorses Gillette razor blades, how would the possibility that he would influence someone else to buy them, especially a group of CEOs, to be anything other than magical thinking?
In that case, considering the dollar is both the primary value and object of worship in America, what’s going on makes sense. Tiger is a holy man representing the production of dollars, the nexus being golf, a game CEOs play in order to grease the skids of continued dollar production. Tiger plays golf a hell of a lot better than they do, and by making so much money doing so is an icon, a demigod, and figure to be venerated by CEOs. Considering the bullshit self-help books they consume, the unthinking, unimaginative herd mentality to which they subscribe and the parodic self-importance they ascribe to themselves, they are clearly a group that is deeply attached to magical thinking. The very idea that the country might suffer some lack of productivity and innovation because a bunch of them might leave their Wall Street firms shows just what fantasy lives they lead, and they idea that they are uniquely talented is just as arbitrary and baseless an assertion as the rule that women can’t be ordained as priests in the Catholic Church. Tiger is their godhead, so he must perform a ritual public apology and absolution in order to restore the magic to the rituals. By doing so, he will also absolve the CEOs of their sins, which certainly aren’t confined to philandering. Tiger’s damage is unfortunate and personal, but confined, the damage the CEOs do is impersonal, wide-spread and thus more damaging. He hurt people, they hurt the country. But . . . bygones!
The final thought is that of course this has to be done in a Nike ad, they had the wisdom, starting with Jordan, to find the proper objects of magical thinking and producing the magic talismans, shoes, hats, etc., they we would buy and wear. Wearing Nikes is like sporting rosary beads, except more common and more magical, because anyone can pray, but not anyone can become a pro athlete. Ratzinger should keep an eye on this campaign; he’s so bound in his own dogma that he can’t actually do anything about the causes of monstrous rot in his own institution, but maybe if he started sporting the swoosh . . .