Why the fall of Woods matters

(Note: this entry begins with Lisa Schiffren’s point that Woods’s fans are upset to find out that the man they liked and whose endorsed products they purchased was a false front covering something unpleasant. It then moves into the racial aspect of the false front and of what Woods was gaining through that false front.)

Lisa Schiffren writing at American Thinker (it’s rare to see an established conservative writer appearing over there—did K-Lo turn down the piece?), sees a significance in the Tiger Woods affair I had missed. She thinks it really does matter. Because Wood deliberately presented himself as something he was not:

… we’ve been had. Betrayed. We see now that the image was all a fraud. The talent was real. But the things that made the public like Tiger personally—the low-key demeanor, manners, and sweet smile … was an act.

She quotes Jack Shafer at Slate:

Given how desperately we want to believe in a human god, it didn’t take much peddling from Team Tiger for us to accept Woods as a modern deity. With every new tournament victory, every new product endorsement, his divinity grew. His marketers made him a symbol of tolerance and brotherhood, and his father, Earl Woods, spoke gibberish about his son being a creature of destiny. Getting married and having children only added to Woods’ marketability. I’m divine and monogamous and the center of a happy nuclear family. And we ate it up. So now that the “real” Woods has been revealed … we’re embarrassed by the gap between who we believed Woods to be and who he really is.

Shiffren then expands on the parallels between the manufacture and collapse of Woods and the manufacture and collapse of the other mixed race demi-god of our culture, the one in the White House.

However, as I said about the sense of loss and betrayal that many conservatives expressed about Charles Johnson, I personally cannot share in Shiffren’s feeling of being betrayed by Tiger Woods, because I never like Woods. I admired his talent, but to me he was a walking product endorsement, not a human being or athlete I could relate to. I also never forgave him for his publicity campaign racializing the game of golf when he went pro.

People who keep getting fooled by people they shouldn’t have been fooled by will keep feeling betrayed. Johnson was never a conservative, he was a liberal who didn’t like radical extreme terrorism. Woods was never an embodiment of goodness and virtue, he was a machine. And now we understand why he was a machine. It wasn’t just to manufacture an image and to sell products; it was to conceal his unpleasant private self.

* * *

While Schiffren shows some parallels between Woods and Obama, such as the fact that many people have an interest in covering up the truth about both, she does not succeed in persuading the reader that Obama is doing that badly. Her litany of his failings is rote.

On another point, why are the establi-cons such as Rush Limbaugh (who, as I’ve just heard, pushed Schiffren’s piece on his show) and Schiffren being triumphalist about the exposure of Obama’s true self—which, Schiffren suggests, is as damaging as Woods’s? America’s first truly leftist president seems to be moving, “with Tarquin’s ravishing strides,” toward the passage of nationalized health insurance that spells the end of America as a free country. Maybe when the bill passes and Obama signs it,, the establi-cons, still in their triumphalist mode, will say that Obama is finished and that his signing the bill shows how “desperate” he is.

- end of initial entry -

John M. writes:

That’s the problem with any trend, movement, or pop culture fad; when it’s led by a charismatic figure who is worshiped by his supporters, it ends up becoming a cult of personality. We’ve seen this time and time again whenever any sort of False Messiah arises. Whether it was George W. Bush’s nonconservative presidency, the Religious Right, the “Counter-jihad” movement led by the covert liberal Charles Johnson, or Ron Paul’s “freedom” movement. All of these movements base their existence on the virtues of its leaders, and tend to ignore any shortcomings rather than hold the leader accountable. I’ve experienced this myself; when I was involved in the Ron Paul world, I ignored his libertarian rationalization of immigration, and his cowardly rejection of the newsletters that weren’t that racist in the first place. Not even the pro-immigration rants by Ryan McMaken, Anthony Gregory, or Will Grigg that were posted on lewrockwell.com dissuaded me, and I failed to wake up and see through the facade that was Ron Paul’s supposed American nationalism.

And of course, the greater danger in a movement that devolves into a cult of personality is that as soon as the leader dies or is disgraced, the entire movement falls apart. I remember RP supporters concerned about Ron’s age, and who would his successor be. That’s why an American white nationalist movement would need to avoid a cult of personality if possible. Although it would be hard since an authentic American white nationalist leader would come across as a breath of fresh air to many white Americans.

LA replies:

Since I’ve been preening for not falling for false gods, I might as well add Ron Paul to the list. I wasn’t tempted by him for a single second.

Ben W. writes:

America has tended to treat successful, non-threatening blacks as a part of us. Certain blacks have somehow “evolved” into apple-pie American. Obama and Tiger Woods fall into this category. Apart from the color of their skin, they’re just like us—and we will vote for them and admire their “successes.”

The fall of Tiger Woods shows that he has been using us all along. Play our game, take our money, simulate our family life. He has adopted a middle-class persona in order to use this mask as one “living among us” and successfully employing our resources. Ditto for Obama. Tiger’s fall will affect Obama’s standing with the rest of America.

I predict that the revealing of Tiger’s real face will also hurt Obama. People will come to the realization that “they are not a part of us.”

By the way, I came to detest Tiger Woods when he was being interviewed by CBS at his last Masters appearance. He was asked whether he was a better golfer than Jack Nicklaus. Without showing any humility, he said, “Yes, I’m a better golfer than Jack Nicklaus.” This in spite of the fact that he has not surpassed ANY of Nicklaus’ lifetime achievements. he may one day but at that moment he hadn’t. Courtesy and discretion would have made him say, “I’ll be the greatest when my record shows that I’ve surpassed Jack but in the meantime I have not yet done so.”

LA replies:

While this is well said, I can’t agree with it entirely. Woods came up in a stable, middle class home and in particular his black father devoted himself to raising his son, training him as a golfer from an early age. So it’s not as though Woods had come from some low-class or alien environment and had to put on a mask in order to fit into white America.

At the same time, one cannot deny the element of truth in what you’re saying. Regardless of his middle class upbringing, the reality of Woods is that he was behaving like a black tom cat banging every white girl he could find while putting on a mask of niceness and respectability to secure the adoring support of white America.

It is notable that among his still expanding harem, up to ten the last I heard, there is not a single black or even nonwhite.

Tom H. writes:

In the discussion “Why the fall of Woods matters,” Ben W. wrote,

He has adopted a middle-class persona in order to use this mask as one “living among us” and successfully employing our resources.

I felt this same “alienness” with the election of Obama. It somehow did not seem “natural” in the flow of American history to have a black president. It was as if America was “force fitting” (shoe horning) into our psyche an alien entity. I felt the same way when NBC had Bryant Gumbel opening our mornings on the “Today” program. As if this man were to be a part of our family to have breakfast with us.

One of the reasons Sarah Palin is gathering momentum is that many people have come to feel that Obama indeed is an alien mindset in the White House. He is a stranger we thought could “fit in” naturally, only to find out that he appoints a lot of wierdos to government precisely because he doesn’t understand the “normal” American mind.

Similarly the media has attempted to make the Michael Jackson family into an American institution—an “American family” to be celebrated through success and tragedy. And yet most of my friends just think them strange and weird. A lot of television advertisements now feature the “cute” black family with the wise black father. And yet we all see the falseness of this campaign to turn the alien into the familiar.

The more I read VFR, the more I think that one cannot take our race and our culture, and perform some sort of grafting onto it.

Gintas writes:

The NY Daily News has this headline:

Tiger Woods alienates black community with white lovers

Amid all the headlines generated by Tiger Woods’ troubles—the puzzling car accident, the suggestions of marital turmoil and multiple mistresses—little attention has been given to the race of the women linked with the world’s greatest golfer.

Except in the black community.

When three white women were said to be romantically involved with Woods in addition to his blonde, Swedish wife, blogs, airwaves and barbershops started humming, and Woods’ already tenuous standing among many blacks took a beating.

Here’s the winner:

“But at the same time we still see him as a black man with a white woman, and it makes a difference,” said Johnson Cooper, a 26-year-old African-American from New York City. “There’s just this preservation thing we have among one another. We like to see each other with each other.”

LA replies:

Blacks are quoted without condemnation saying things like this all the time, but if whites say the same thing, they are disgusting maggots from which decent people shrink away in horror. That is not acceptable. We should never accept it.

In reality, it’s perfectly reasonable for a black person to say, “We like to see each other with each other.”

And in reality, it’s also perfectly reasonable for a white person to say, “We like to see each other with each other.”

I recommend that racially conscious white people say such things to other whites, and when the shocked, disgusted, and horrified reaction inevitably comes, do not shrink away, but make the simple point that blacks say the same thing all the time and no one criticizes them for it. So how can it be morally ok for blacks to say something, and morally wicked for whites to say the exact same thing? Keep pressing that point and don’t give an inch.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 08, 2009 01:22 PM | Send

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