It should come as no surprise then, that golf's greatest player, Tiger Woods, whose name itself has sexual connotations, (he is a tiger in bed and will take you into the woods), exudes erotic energy. His sinewy body, bulging biceps and good looks, make him alluring to females who are determined to make it with him. Because he is also of all races, he represents the totality of mankind, a living god of irresistible male pulchritude of mythic proportions. When one combines this with his monumental wealth and his celebrity, he becomes a Nietzchean ubermench, a multiracial, global phenomenon unequaled in his appeal. Women can't leave him alone and he can't leave them alone.
What is, nevertheless, incongruous about Woods is that his art form is golf, a rather ridiculous game that involves a lot of walking and standing around. Why this ludicrous activity is the basis for Woods billions is unfathomable in a complex world of myriad problems desperate for solutions. But like Bobby Jones before him, he eschews any involvement with the great issues of his time. Jones, who was from Georgia, never said a word about the South's segregation and racism. But maybe that's because both of them, at heart, knew that golf hardly made them statesmen and that any attempt on their part to affect change would be laughable. Deep down, Woods knows that what he does is superfluous, a pastime that has no value even as a form of exercise because it does nothing to elevate one's heart rate or engender a sweat.
It is puzzling then why anyone, apart from his wife, should be concerned at all about his private activities, particularly at a time when America is involved in two perilous wars and is in the greatest economic crisis since the great depression, with rampant unemployment shattering the lives of countless Americans. But, then again, this is precisely the point. The powers that be in America know that it is imperative to keep the people from thinking about how they are being ripped off. This is the entire purpose of celebrity. Tiger Woods is a creation of this system, so his image is a matter of great importance to those who rule. Now, that image is shattered, replaced by a snoring man lying on the pavement after he smashed up his SUV at two in the morning on Thanksgiving, his wife using a golf club to smash the vehicle's window so she could extricate him from further danger. Her use of one of his golf clubs makes the scene only that much more ludicrous, since it has been, up to this point, the vehicle for his fame and fortune, a symbol of his erotic power and glamour.
Richard Cummings is a writer who has taught in Ethiopia and Barbados and who has worked at a merchant seaman. His play, "Soccer Moms From Hell" recently completed a successful run by the New Haven Theater Company.
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