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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Tiger Woods and our obsession with celebrities

I'm sure you've all heard about the latest tabloid scandal, involving Tiger Woods. Oh, you haven't? Well, come out from under that rock that you apparently live under, and listen up.

Back in November Mr. Woods had an unfortunate car accident, with some strange circumstances surrounding the accident. Shortly after news of the accident, rumors began to swirl that he had allegedly been having an affair with another woman, and then, immediately after that, all hell broke loose. Women started coming out of the woodwork to confess having hooked up with the Tiger. Then Tiger released a statement saying, basically, that he wasn't going to say anything. A man has the right to some privacy. This only created more questions for the fans, while ignoring the message of his statement, which was, essentially, "please give us some privacy."

As more and more of this story came out in the open, if you can even say that, with all of the "alleged", and "rumored" and a lack of corroboration by Mr. Woods himself, I heard over and over again, "I thought he was such a nice guy" and "Wow, I never would have expected this from him." I wondered to myself "why?" "why wouldn't you expect it?" Did you ever meet him? Have drinks with him? Spend hours at his home getting to know him in a personal and more intimate setting? Surely you must have some basis for this statement, other than the fact that he wears nice polos and khakis, and up til now has never been accused of even a speeding ticket.

My point is this. We are obsessed with an entire group of people that we know nothing about. There are still people that are haters of Angelina Jolie because she "stole" Brad Pitt from Jennifer Anniston. All of these people that have never met a one of them, and have no bearing on their lives. For all we know, Jennifer was a total shrew, and Brad hated it. Maybe Jennifer was so fed up with Brad leaving his dirty underwear on the floor that she was the one to break it off, and then he met Angelina. Maybe the entire relationship was a cleverly thought up scheme to boost their popularity. We can't possibly make character judgments based on what we "know" about these people, which is, in fact, nothing. The five minutes we spend reading a tabloid in the checkout lane does not give us insider knowledge on the intimate lives of the rich and famous.

While I'm not condoning what Tiger may have done, let's stop and think for a moment. Imagine, for a moment, that you have something embarrassing happen to you. Imagine that you have a little too much to drink and get pulled over and get a DUI. Embarrassing and bad. But now, imagine that someone posts about you on Facebook, and they make a note about you in the church bulletin. Imagine that they put up a sign at your grocery store announcing what you've done, and also at your children's school. Imagine walking down the street and every single person recognizes you and reacts negatively to you. Sounds awful, right? Something you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy? Sadly, this is what happens to celebrities on a daily basis.

In medieval times, the crown prince had a whipping boy. This boy took the public and physical pain and humiliation for the sins of the prince, since it would have been unthinkable to inflict any kind of punishment on the prince himself. Leaving the morality of this practice aside, it is interesting to see how in today's culture we have merged these two positions. Our royalty, the rich, the famous, the celebrities, are adored and revered and worshipped, sometimes to the point of hysteria. But when they show any sign of being human, be it gaining weight, having cellulite, cheating on their wives or committing a crime, we turn them into our whipping boys and humiliate them to the point that they must literally hide from the world itself.

Why the double standard? Why do we love them and then hate them? For that matter, why do we even care? Newsflash, my friends, Tiger Woods doesn't care about you, and you'd be better off not caring about him.

Focus on the people (the real ones!) that are a part of your life. Invest in your family's lives, in your friends' lives. If you don't have friends, or don't like the ones you have, go make new ones! Leave the rich and famous to themselves, and to their inevitable demise.

-Rant over-


Emily January 7, 2010 at 10:27 AM  

***Warning, apparently I got a little heated writing this comment.***

No, I wouldn't want my mistakes publicized to the world, which is why I think carefully about everything I do and why I've chosen a private lifestyle - I'm not a pro-athlete, famous actress, reality tv hopeful, or attention seeking socialite.

Tiger woods is a pro-athlete - and he chose that life. So when he sleeps with 15+ women outside of his marriage (he did cop to "indiscretions" and "infidelity"), it's newsworthy. On top of that, Tiger chose to shut the media out of his famous life. He was standoffish with the media his entire career and portrayed himself as a family man, so when it becomes obvious that he's been leading a double life, the media's going to jump all over it. It's what he CHOSE.

No one was as shocked by Brad Pitt, because, well, he never promoted himself as a nice, faithful, marriage is forever guy. But yeah, I still refuse to pay to see a Pitt or Jolie movie. We can make choices to support or not support people based on their choices. And if I hear one more celebrity/pseudo-celebrity ask for privacy, I'm going to scream. You are reaping the benefits of living a celebrity life, privacy is not a part of that and there's not a celebrity who would tell you otherwise.

Jenny @ Words on Wendhurst January 7, 2010 at 10:40 AM  

Emily, I do see your point, and I agree to a certain extent. To be a celebrity you must be famous, and with that you renounce your right to privacy in certain areas of your life.

I do, however, think there is a difference when it comes to athletes. They aren't Hollywood celebrities, they are just the best of the best in the athletic world.

I realize that I linked them in my post (celebrities and athletes) but what I was trying to express is that we are overly obsessed with anyone who we deem famous, and we feel we have a right to know every.single.detail about their lives.

Anonymous January 7, 2010 at 3:23 PM  

I agree that as a culture we are becoming more and more celebrity obsessed. I do think that they ask for it by choosing these "celebrity" careers, though. The paparazzi is just part of that package these days, as is being a role model for kids (especially if you're in sports).

But I personally don't really care about all this gossip and I hate to think that it's going to continue and get even worse. The age of the Internet and instant information isn't going to help this get better, either.

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