>Tiger Woods and the parable of selling your soul

>Sean wrote quite a bit so most is on comments but here’s the start:

Recently it has come to light that Tiger had an affair and his Swedish wife went viking on him and attacked his car with a golf club, causing him to crash. The media has run with this as its top story in most instances.


  • >Continued from Sean's introduction: Usually I would say this is purile reporting by the media. But in this case i think the vilification is justified and that Tiger Woods has brought it on himself. The first point is that extra marital affairs happen and that these should be left to the husband and wife to sort out. The media has no place in people's private lives. The second point is that in Tiger Woods' case, there is an exception to this rule. The reason is that Tiger Woods is not human. Tiger Woods is instead a 'brand'. He is a brand because Accenture, AT &T, EA Sports, Gatorade, Gillette, Tag Heuer, and a number of other companies have paid in total $100m per year for ashare in the Tiger Woods name. Therefore Tiger Woods does not belong to Tiger Woods. He belongs to Accenture, Tag Heuer, Tiger Woods, etc, etc,etc. All these entities own a right to the Tiger Woods persona and have a say in how that persona conducts itself. Despite the legends of Goethe's Faust, and Robert Johnson's delta blues, i think there is no more clear cut incident of someone selling their soul than Tiger Woods. For $100m per year he has sold his god-given birth right to be an individual as he sees fit. Instead he now is dutybound to present himself as his corporate sponsers / masters decide is best for their financial means. Now this wouldn't be so bad if Tiger Woods was a strong character who stated at the outset of negotiations with the above companies that he was only selling Tiger Woods the golfer and not Tiger Woods the person. But this is not the case. For 10 years Tiger has affected a holier than thou persona whose shit doesn't stink. When one of the PGA veterans made a joke about 'fried chicken for dinner' after a Tiger win early on in his career, Tiger left the guy (buddy zeller I think) to hang out and dry, losing his walmart sponsorship. When one of the PGA commentators commented that to beat Tiger, competitors should 'lynch him in a back alley' she was suspended (although Tigers' spokesman did say he thought there was no ill intent). Therefore, because Tiger has not come out with solid personal statements showing his humanity, and has silently let his corporates do the talking, he has in effect lost whatever 'soul' there was to begin with, in the Tiger name. At birth it was his. Now it's a partnership with a number of multinationals. So right now i think that Tiger is probably feeling that the media attention is unfair, and he has called for respect of his privacy. Sorry Tiger, but when you sell your soul/name/persona to the media for $100m, you no longer have any rights to be treated as a person. You are a revenue generating product, and being human apparantly doesn't fit into your target market.

  • >Hmm, tricky. I guess the answer all depends on the exact wording of his written agreements. If as you say he really agreed to it all then there is little that can be done. After all, particularly in this situation it is his fault, and it is often true that the greater the highs the greater the falls. This is true in economic cycles, political votes, emotions and many other fields. So perhaps he's paying for all his success as per his agreements/contracts.On the other hand we're all entitled to basic human rights, and cases like these (whether or not the recipient deserves all he/she gets) prove how far the media is really prepared and able to go.During the American elections when Obama was running for Senator he was followed by a reporter everywhere he went. He was followed to his house, to toilets, literally everywhere. Now legally it seems that the jouirnalist was able to do this. Obama simply walked into an opposing media company's building and started talking to some journalists. He told them about how this guy was paid to follow him everywhere (while the guy was still there with his camera in their faces) and of course the situation turned. But not everyone has the wit and ability to pull that sort of thing off. Legally, we all need some kind of social life that is separate from our work. Perhaps that is not a human right at present and hence why Tiger was able to put himself in such a predicament. But perhaps in the future it should be?

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